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Progressive Myopia in Children and Adolescents

What is Myopia?

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a prevalent eye condition that affects many people worldwide (expected to increase to 50% of the world’s population by 2050). It is characterised by a clear vision for nearby objects while distant objects appear blurry. Individuals with myopia can typically read books or view objects up close without difficulty, but they face challenges when it comes to seeing objects that are farther away.

In some cases, individuals with undiagnosed myopia may experience headaches and eyestrain as a result of the constant effort required to focus on distant objects. It is important for individuals experiencing these symptoms to seek an eye examination to determine if myopia is the underlying cause.

What is Progressive Childhood Myopia?

Progressive Childhood Myopia refers to the continuous worsening of nearsightedness that begins in early childhood and continues to steadily increase as the child grows. This can result in:

High myopia: Nearsightedness where the eye requires a correction of -6.0 dioptres or more. It increases the risk of retinal tears, retinal detachment, cataracts, and glaucoma, each of which can lead to vision loss.

Pathological myopia: Nearsightedness where the eye requires a correction of – 8.00 dioptres or more. This can cause degenerative changes in the retina, choroid, vitreous, sclera, and optic nerve, with the most serious being myopic maculopathy that may result in legal blindness (< 6/60 or unable to see the top letter of a vision chart).

Progressive Myopia is caused by the eye growing too quickly compared to the normal rate of eye growth. The exact cause of this rapid growth is unknown, but studies suggest increased near-work activities (such as reading and use of electronic devices) and decreased outdoor sunlight exposure have impacted the prevalence of Progressive Myopia.