Featured Editorial

The Truth About Pediatric Myopia Parents Never See Happening

For most of my life, I never admitted to anyone how I came to realize that I needed to wear eye glasses to improve my vision. My story doesn't begin in an elementary school classroom, where either a teacher or school nurse might observe potential warning signs. There may or may not have been the telltale squinting at times, my actions may have compensated for my lack of ability to see in the distance, however as one of the smallest students in height, I was usually seated in the front of the classroom. I was an avid reader, my grades were consistently above average and I never said a word to anyone about difficulty being able to see. I never mentioned this as an issue because, I simply had no idea how much of the world I was unable to see clearly. For many kids like myself at the time, I simply was able to see the way that I was able to see. Many families often take action following routine vision screenings, observation of warning signs, or complaints of vision difficulties. During my freshman year of college, during my first solo doctor's appointment for my annual physical, I was diagnosed with myopia. I was stunned. As a parent, I was even more stunned to learn that my situation is not an isolated occurrence. Reaching out to inform families of the importance of taking action to protect kids' vision, I've partnered with CooperVision to share vital statistics. Here's the truth about pediatric myopia that many parents never see happening.

Thank you to CooperVision for a media invitation to attend an field expert discussion panel on pediatric myopia for editorial content purposes.  | #protectkidsvision |

The Truth About Pediatric Myopia Parents Never See Happening

Consider this concerning fact, "Two-thirds of parents do not know what myopia is, but the majority of eye care professionals have seen an increase in the prevalence of childhood myopia." That means that an estimated one in four children in the United States is diagnosed as being myopic1, however, according to The Harris Poll 2019 survey results released by CooperVision, only 33% of parents know what that term myopic means2, or how pediatric myopia can affect their children’s future eyesight. Details from this informative survey, conducted among eye care professionals, including 155 optometrists and 158 ophthalmologists, and 1,005 parents with children between 8-15 years old accessed their knowledge of myopia.

Myopia, is also commonly known as nearsightedness, which occurs when the shape of the eyeball is too long, in relationship to the focusing ability of the cornea and lens of the eye. This disparity causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina of the eye, rather than directly on its surface. Early detection and timely eye screenings reveal myopia initially presents itself in school-age children and progresses until about age 20. That's right at the far end of detection where my doctor made a referral to an eye care professional for further screening.

“We know there is a lot of confusion about the significance of myopia, how it progresses and how to treat it,” says Dr. Michele Andrews, Senior Director, North America Professional and Academic Affairs at CooperVision. “So it comes as no surprise that while 65% of parents claimed they were somewhat or very knowledgeable of myopia2, only one in three were able to identify myopia as nearsightedness2. There clearly needs to be more education about what childhood myopia is and why it is important to diagnose it early.”

While myopia is a progressive, yet correctable condition, Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN, CAE, Executive Director, National Association of School Nurses, expresses the importance of parents and educational professionals working together to identify potential "student barriers to learning." Encouraging families to scale back on digital media screen time as a possible contributing factor in future vision concerns, kids benefit from outdoor and indoor play to "scale up on physical activity to facilitate learning."

Primary Care Physicians, School Professionals, and families working together in a team approach can help to protect kids' vision. Potential warning signs that a child may potentially be experiencing vision problems include-

Eye Rubbing
Light Sensitivity
Difficulty Focusing
Visual Tracking (following) Difficulty
Abnormal Eye Alignment or Movement of (ages 6 months+) 
Redness of Eyes
Tearing of Eyes

Families with school aged children should also observe-

Inability to see Distant Objects
Difficulty Reading the White/Smart Board
Frequent Squinting
Difficulty Reading
Moving Closer to Objects

It's important to know, childhood myopia is a correctable condition, once potential risk factors are evaluated and addressed to help protect kids' vision.

CooperVision has a strong heritage of solving the toughest vision challenges such as astigmatism and presbyopia; and offers the most complete collection of spherical, toric and multifocal products available. Through a combination of innovative products and focused practitioner support, the company brings a refreshing perspective to the marketplace, creating real advantages for customers and wearers. For more information, visit CooperVision.com.

As the owner of the digital content published by Creative Learning Center Studios, I am compensated to provide my opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. This content may contain affiliate links. Even though, as the writer/owner of this blog receiving compensation for posts or advertisements, I will always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. This content abides by word of mouth marketing standards. I believe in the honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party in question.

1. Cooper, Y. (2019, May 1). With Childhood Myopia Rates on the Rise, the American Optometric Association Highlights the Importance of Early Intervention through Annual Eye Exams. Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org/newsroom/myopia-rates-on-the-rise-syvm
2. CooperVision data on file 2019.  Myopia Awareness, The Harris Poll online survey 6/27/19 to 7/18/19 of n=1,005 parents (with child age 8-15) in U.S.