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More Children Are Becoming Nearsighted

Are your child's eyes getting worse year after year?

Some children who develop myopia (nearsightedness) have a continual progression of their myopia throughout the school years, including high school. And while the cost of annual eye exams and new glasses every year can be a financial strain for some families, the long-term risks associated with myopia progression can be even greater.

Myopia is one of the most common eye disorders in the world. The prevalence of myopia is about 30 to 40 percent among adults in Europe and the United States, and up to 80 percent or higher in the Asian population, especially in China.

And the incidence and prevalence of myopia are increasing. For example, in the early 1970s, only about 25 percent of Americans were nearsighted. But by 2004, myopia prevalence in the United States had grown to nearly 42 percent of the population.

Classification Of Myopia Severity

Myopia, like all refractive errors, is measured in diopters (D), which are the same units used to measure the optical power of eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Lens powers that correct myopia are preceded by a minus sign (–), and are usually measured in 0.25 D increments.

The severity of nearsightedness is often categorized like this:

  • Mild myopia: -0.25 to -3.00 D
  • Moderate myopia: -3.25 to -6.00 D
  • High myopia: greater than -6.00 D

Mild myopia typically does not increase a person's risk for eye health problems. But moderate and high myopia sometimes are associated with serious, vision-threatening side effects. When this occurs in cases of high or very high myopia, the term degenerative myopia or pathological myopia sometimes is used.

Adults with high myopia usually started getting nearsighted when they were young children, and their myopia progressed year after year.

Source: allaboutvision

Pedro Gomez OD.

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