Myopia generally occurs when the eyeball in a person is longer than its normal range or when the cornea is curved steeper than usual. Hyperopia, which is the condition wherein a person can see far away objects clearly but the near ones appear blurry to him/her, happens when the eyeball in the person is shorter than its normal range or when the cornea is curved to a very little degree. In worst cases, both these conditions can happen simultaneously, meaning that both near as well as distant objects would appear blurred to the person and can be identified by a pediatric doctor or optometrist.

Risk Factors and Complications of Myopia

There are a few risk factors, which may increase the chances of developing myopia. Although experts say that the disorder is most likely to happen in kids when either of their parents is nearsighted, it can also happen when children strain their eyes too much for reading, especially under inadequate lighting. Too much screen time, such as watching TV or playing video games, can also increase the risk of myopia in children. Sometimes, even holding the book or too close to the eyes or looking at the smartphone for long can lead to strain in vision, which if happens repeatedly, can lead to myopia.

Myopia is linked with a lot of complications, which can be mild to severe, depending upon how you perceive it. For instance, improper vision or uncorrected nearsightedness can have a great impact on how the person performs his/her day-to-day tasks. At times, limited vision capabilities might diminish the enjoyment of doing certain activities as well, which can negatively affect the quality of life in children.

There is always a safety concern with improper vision as well. Driving a car with uncorrected vision problem can put you as well as your loved ones at high risk. Although this is not a concern in children, not treating the condition in time would eventually lead to this situation someday. Besides, nearsightedness would usually require the person to squint his/her eyes to maintain focus and see distant objects clearly. This would then lead to eyestrain, resulting in recurrent headaches.

Note that untreated myopia can also increase the risks of developing other eye problems such as glaucoma, cataract, and retinal detachment. In some cases, it can also lead to myopic maculopathy, a condition where the central retinal area in the person is severely damaged. In worse cases, nearsightedness can also gradually lead to stretching, scarring, thinning, and swelling of the tissues in the eyeballs.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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