The impact of high myopia can be devastating for children. It is important to identify high myopia’s associated risk factors and learn how to prevent it.
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High myopia is typically defined as having short-sightedness of -6.00 diopters or worse. In addition to causing significant vision loss, high myopia is also associated with other serious eye conditions including glaucoma and retinal detachment, both of which may lead to blindness.
It is therefore vital to take measures in preventing myopia from progressing to high myopia. This is especially during childhood when myopia progresses rapidly. A recently published study conducted in Guangzhou, China, followed up on a group of children who did an initial baseline test in 2006. 12 years later in 2018, data from 443 students showed associations between the age of myopia onset and the risk of developing high myopia.
The risk of developing high myopia was greater than half (53.9%). This is for children with myopia onset at 7 or 8 years of age. For those who developed myopia at 9 years, the risk dropped to around 30%. This is a further dip of 20% if their onset was one year later. Finally, those whose myopia developed at 12 years or older saw a less than 5% risk of developing high myopia. The results of the study don’t mean that getting myopia early causes high myopia. But it does mean that there is a high association between high myopia and an earlier onset of myopia.
Preventing high myopia
Therefore, it is paramount to start educating and implementing good eye health behaviours in children from a young age. This is to reduce their risks of developing myopia. Even if children have already developed myopia, managing key myopia risk factors can only reap benefits for children’s eye health in the long run. Encourage more outdoor time and control the amount of near work activities, such as time spent reading books and engaging in digital screens.
For parents looking to find a digital solution to mitigate the risk factors for myopia in children, look to the planoApp. The app enables parents to monitor their child’s screen time. It also teaches children about good eye health and device use behaviours.