Another risk factor for developing nearsightedness is a young child’s refractive status. If a child’s visual status is less than age normal, then he/she is at medium risk for developing myopia in the future. If a child is already myopic at a young age, then he/she is at high risk for increasing nearsightedness. Prescriptions can continue to change until the age of 22 years old for most people.
Research shows that there are many factors that contribute to the development of nearsightedness. There is not just one element that causes myopia. Consequently, we should not view any one factor as the singular cause of nearsightedness, but rather we should understand that it’s one piece of the puzzle. One of the known risk factors is family history. If you have one parent who is myopic, then the children are 3X’s more likely to develop nearsightedness. If both parents are nearsighted, then the children are 6X’s more likely to develop myopia.
Yet another reason to try to slow down how quickly nearsightedness increases is the risk of retinal detachments. Myopia, or nearsightedness, increases the risk of a retinal detachment by 4X-16X’s; the higher the prescription, the higher the risk. The retina is the tissue in the back of the eye that contains all of the nerves, cells and blood vessels that help you see. Surgery can be performed for retinal detachments. However, clinical studies show that patients who have had retinal detachment surgery complain about lower quality of life afterwards. In other words, the surgery was physically successful. However, the patients still suffered decreased quality of life due to visual difficulties afterwards.
Another reason to slow down the progression of nearsightedness is the increased risk of glaucoma. Nearsightedness, or myopia, increases the risk of glaucoma by 4x’s. Glaucoma slowly kills the nerves in the eyes, and is a leading cause of blindness. If someone develops glaucoma, he won’t even notice any changes in how he sees until 30%-50% of the nerves have already died.
Controlling myopia, or nearsightedness, is important because of the associated risks of being nearsighted. For example, a person who is nearsighted is at a 2-5X’s greater risk for developing cataracts. Cataracts are a leading cause of visual impairment in the world. Even though cataract surgery is a fairly common procedure, your own crystalline lenses still work better than the artificial ones.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of childhood vision loss. Proper diagnosis of the type of amblyopia is crucial for prognosis and treatment. Oftentimes, the first step in treating amblyopia is glasses. However, some children will not accept the prescription initially because of how their visual system is locked into working. Appropriate identification and medicinal management of these children to improve their acceptance of the treatment is vital in overcoming amblyopia.
If a child passes vision screenings with only the bare minimum requirement of 20/30 eyesight, then there will be long-range consequences. For example, the child’s reaction speed on the road once they start driving would be 16x’s slower than what it would have been had they developed 20/20 eyesight. Vision screenings are important, and seeing 20/30 is pretty good. However, seeing 20/20 is even better, and an actual eye exam can help your child develop the optimal eyesight that they need in life.
Passing a vision screening at school or the pediatrician’s office only requires 20/30 eyesight at distance. If a child never develops better than 20/30 eyesight, then the student will have a difficult time comfortably seeing 8th grade level text later. Vision screenings are important, but actual eye exams are more thorough and even more important. More on this later.
1 in 10 children suffer from a vision problem that affects academics. School and pediatrician screenings only check for the ability to see the board clearly. However, 80% of learning occurs through the eyes, and screenings only check one small part of vision. For example, undetected farsightedness, undetected astigmatism, poor eye-focusing skills, inaccurate eye coordination skills and imprecise fine eye movements can all contribute to reading difficulties. If your child is struggling with school, take time out to check her vision. Start first with a yearly eye exam, and then if necessary, schedule a full-fledged visual skills exam that will evaluate the entire visual system and how it may be affecting your child.
Vision training improves concussion symptoms in up to 90% of cases according to research. Headaches, blurred vision, double vision, dizziness, balance problems, light and noise sensitivity, eye fatigue, and loss of place with reading and close work are common visual symptoms after a concussion. We have helped a number of people with these symptoms. If you know of someone who is suffering from the effects of a concussion, please let them know that we can help.