Myopia is the medical term for ‘short-sightedness’, which means that you can see things up close clearly, but things further away may look blurry or out of focus.
It is a very common condition and is thought to affect 1 in 3 people in the UK. Symptoms can range from very mild to severe.
Myopia can begin in adulthood but is quite often first noticed in childhood, where symptoms can become apparent from the age of 6.
Common signs of Myopia:
It is often hereditary, so if parents wear glasses, the chances are their children will need to also.
It has also been suggested that a lack of time spent outdoors in the sunlight is related to the development of myopia. So when it comes to children, encouraging them to spend more time outdoors could contribute to delaying or reducing the chances of myopia.
Myopia worsens especially during growth spurts of the pre-teen and teen years. Usually, at the age of 20, myopia levels off. It can also get worse when you engage in various activities that strain the eyes, such as reading for long periods or working in front of a computer.
We advise you to rest your eyes, limit time on digital devices, take screen breaks, wear sunglasses and make sure to schedule regular eye exams.
If you think you or your child may have myopia you should book an appointment for an eye test. An Optometrist will run through various tests to understand whether a prescription is needed to correct any short-signedness. If required, glasses or contact lenses will be prescribed.
Eyecare for all under 16s (or under 19 in full time education) is fully funded by the NHS so you won’t have to pay for your child’s eye test. Plus, they are entitled to an NHS eyecare voucher to help towards the cost of glasses and contact lenses.
Read more about NHS Eye Care here.