M is for Myopia.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, occurs when the eyeball is too long, which typically causes blurry vision or difficulty focusing on distant objects.


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is myopia?

Myopia, also known as near-sightedness or nearsightedness, is an eye condition in which somebody is unable to bring distant objects into proper focus. Somebody with myopia can normally see close-up objects clearly or perform close-up activities, such as reading, without difficulty, but distant objects appear blurry.

When do children normally develop myopia?

When hyperopia is severe, however, the child’s focusing muscles may not be able to properly focus and he or she could be at risk for amblyopia, one of the most common causes of vision loss among children and young adults.

What are some of the signs that a child may have myopia?

Children with myopia sometimes might squint their eyes while looking at distant objects. Parents may observe that their child has trouble reading road signs on a car ride or notice that their child sits closer to the television in order to see better. Sometimes a teacher may notice that a child in the back of the room has trouble seeing what is written on the blackboard or whiteboard at the front of the room.

How common is myopia?

Very common. According to the American Optometric Association, nearly 30 percent of the US population have the visual condition known as myopia, or nearsightedness. There are over 80 million children worldwide with myopia, or nearsightedness, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Studies have shown that myopia rates can vary significantly among different ethnic groups in the US. A 2003 study of more than 2,000 children between the ages of 5 and 17 found an overall prevalence of myopia of 9.2% but, but Asian children had a prevalence of 18.5%, Hispanic children had a prevalence of 13.2%, African American children had a prevalence of 6.6%, and Caucasian children had only a 4.4% prevalence.

Does myopia worsen with age?

It depends. The condition usually starts in childhood and oftentimes becomes worse as children, and their eyes, grow rapidly – especially during the teenage years. It often stabilizes by the time a child is in their twenties, but it is also possible for adults to develop myopia.

What is the cause of myopia?

Nearsightedness occurs when the eye is too long or the cornea, the eye’s clear front lens covering, has too severe a curvature to properly focus the light that enters the eye. If the eye is too long due to myopia, or nearsightedness, then the light rays entering the eye focus in front of the retina, which causes distant objects to be blurry.

Can you detect myopia with pediatric vision screening or vision tests?

Yes. Pediatricians who perform pediatric vision screening, using technology such as an autorefractor or a photoscreener like the iScreen Vision Screener 3000 photoscreener, can screen for myopia or nearsightedness and determine if a referral to an eye care professional is necessary.This type of vision screening may be called Myopia Vision Screening, Myopia Vision Testing, Pediatric Myopia Vision Screening, Pediatric Myopia Vision Testing, Nearsightedness Vision Screening, or Nearsightedness Vision Testing.Although vision screening or vision tests such as photo-screening and auto-refraction can screen for myopia, the only accurate way to diagnose nearsightedness and get an appropriate prescription for glasses is with an exam by an eye care professional.

How severe does myopia, or nearsightedness, need to be for a child to be at risk for amblyopia?

The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) published revised guidelines about amblyopia risk factors in 2012. AAPOS determined that the amount of myopia that puts a child at risk for amblyopia varies according to age, since the amount of myopia normally naturally lessens as a child ages and his eyes grow. For children aged 12-30 months, AAPOS guidelines consider the child at risk for myopia greater than -3.5 diopters; for children aged 31-48 months, myopia greater than -3.0 diopters is considered a risk factor for amblyopia, and for children 49 months and older, nearsightedness of more than -1.5 diopters is considered an amblyopia risk factor. iScreen Vision uses AAPOS guidelines in analyzing images and determining whether or not a child who is screened or tested for amblyopia should be referred for myopia.

Can glasses prevent myopia from causing amblyopia?

Possibly, depending on the age at which the myopia is detected by pediatric vision screening or an eye care professional and the severity of the myopia. Many times doctors will prescribe glasses to help strengthen the vision of child who has a weak eye and is at risk for, or has already developed, amblyopia also commonly called “lazy eye”. One risk factor for amblyopia is anisometropia, which occurs when there is a significant difference in refraction between the two eyes (anisometropia).

How can I tell from an eye doctor’s prescription if my child has myopia?

A prescription for myopia will be preceded by a minus (-) sign (for example, -3.00).

Can you treat myopia?

Yes. Children who have myopia can frequently have their vision corrected with glasses or contact lenses, or later in life, possibly with refractive surgery.

Are people with myopia at risk for other eye diseases?

If you have a high degree of myopia, you may also have a higher than average risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.

What does having 20/20 vision mean?

20/20 vision, which is considered “normal” vision, means that somebody can read the same line of letters while standing 20 feet away from an eye chart that a normal person is able to see at 20 feet. If you have 20/40 vision, it means that a person sees at 20 feet what a normal person would see at 40 feet. In other words, for a person with 20/40 vision, objects need to be at half the “normal” distance for him or her to see them clearly. A person with 20/40 vision would be considered nearsighted, or myopic, because they are unable to focus on distant objects as easily as somebody with normal vision and thus need to stand closer to the object for it to be in focus.

Pediatric Myopia Vision Screening & Detection
These FAQs discuss topics including: Myopia, Nearsightedness, Myopia Vision Screening, Myopia Vision Testing, Pediatric Myopia Vision Screening, Pediatric Myopia Vision Testing, Nearsightedness Vision Screening, and Nearsightedness Vision Testing.