The Cleveland Clinic

Myopia or Nearsightedness in Children

Children often have a progressive form of myopia (nearsightedness) that worsens throughout childhood, but their vision is easily corrected with eyeglasses, and it usually stabilizes when they reach their 20s.

What Causes Myopia (Nearsightedness)?

Nearsightedness, medically called myopia, is the inability to see objects at a distance clearly. In people with myopia, the eyeball is slightly longer than usual from front to back. Light rays which make up the images you see, focus in front of, rather than directly on the retina, the light-sensitive part of the eye. When this happens, objects at a distance seem blurry and unclear.

Progressive myopia or nearsightedness is predominantly caused by genetics. Children inherit a tendency to develop myopia from their parents. The manner in which a person uses their eyes may also have an influence on the progression of myopia. Recent studies link myopia with performing detailed or up-close work, such as reading a book too closely.

How Do I Know If My Child Has Myopia?

A child with myopia may complain of headaches, eyestrain, and fatigue when having to focus on something more than a few feet away. Most often, young children with myopia only complain of difficulties seeing things far away. A child with myopia may move closer to objects to see clearly. If your child complains of any of these symptoms, make an appointment with an eye doctor. [link to Eye_Doctors.doc]