Near-sightedness tends to run in families. Hence, Parents who are nearsighted and wore glasses throughout childhood are often concerned whether their children are doomed to being nearsighted too.
If you too are thinking the same, try not to worry too much.
Myopia is a common refractive error. It's easily treatable with eyeglasses or contact lenses (and LASIK
or other vision surgery, once your child becomes a young adult), and it's not strictly hereditary.
Also, nearsightedness typically does not affect a child's academic performance or hold them back in any way. In fact, there's evidence that nearsighted children tend to perform better in school than their counterparts with normal eyesight, farsightedness or astigmatism.
Causes of myopia in children
Heredity is one of the factors, but it is not the only one. The exact reason why some children become nearsighted and others do not is not fully understood.
In other words, if both parents are nearsighted, there is a greater risk their children will be nearsighted, too. But you can't predict who will become nearsighted by simply looking at their family tree.
Focusing fatigue from excessive reading or holding a book or digital screen too close to the eyes for extended periods can increase the risk for myopia in children.
How to reduce the risk of myopia in children
One of the best things to tell your child to reduce his or her risk of myopia is, to avoid or minimize the screen time and go outside and play!
A number of recent studies have found that spending more time outdoors may help prevent or reduce the progression of nearsightedness in children.
It's a great idea to encourage your children to spend more time outdoors (and leave the cell phone and other electronic devices at home. Doing so just might decrease their risk of becoming nearsighted — or slow the progression of their current level of myopia.
Also, schedule annual eye exams with an eye doctor near you to monitor your child's vision throughout the school years.