Myopia vs Progressive Myopia: What’s the Difference?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is one of the most common refractive errors that affect vision. Nearsighted children see near objects very clearly, but they have trouble seeing objects in the distance. For some nearsighted children they appear blurry, while others can’t see them at all. Adding one more thing into the mix is whether it is myopia or progressive myopia. Let’s find out the difference between the two and if parents should be concerned.

Symptoms of Myopia

Child looking closely at a screen from myopia.

If you notice your child squinting or they complain of frequent headaches, they may have myopia. If they hold books close to their face or position themselves close to the television, they may have myopia. Once myopia is diagnosed by your child’s ophthalmologist, it is easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses (if they are old enough). 

Children aren’t aware that their vision is not normal unless they see Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus Associates. Parents should be observant if they frequently rub their eyes or appear tired from straining their eyes.

Causes of Myopia or Nearsightedness

In order to see clearly, light must move through our eyes and focus directly on the retina. With myopia, the front of the eye, known as the cornea, is too steep or another way to think of it is the eye is too long from front to back. When that is the case, light focuses in front of the retina instead of right on it for clear vision. 

Myopia runs in families, so if other members of the family wear glasses for nearsightedness, then your child should be tested early. Three quarters of children with myopia are diagnosed between age 3 and 12. 

What Is Progressive Myopia

This condition is also exactly what it says. It is when myopia doesn’t remain constant and continues to get worse as the child grows. This is another reason why it’s important to have your child’s eyes examined by Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus Associates on a regular basis.

Your eye specialist will be able to tell you if your child’s nearsightedness is getting worse. If the condition is left untreated, it can turn into high myopia or severe nearsightedness. This may lead to other eye conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachment or macular degeneration. 

What Parents Can Do About Progressive Myopia

  • Be sure your child reads or does close work with good lighting.
  • Avoid allowing your child to be on their smartphone or use screens for hours. Make them take frequent breaks.
  • Move them further away from the TV, and don’t let them watch closer than 10 feet away.
  • Arrange for outside play 60 – 90 minutes everyday. Being outside in the sun can help.

Ask your pediatric ophthalmologist for other tips if your child has progressive myopia.

Contact Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus Associates at (610) 347-7672 for an appointment in Newtown Square if you suspect your child is nearsighted.