Eye conditions & symptoms 4 min read

What are the Causes of Myopia?

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If you have myopia, you will likely have trouble reading road signs or recognising people at a distance. Struggling to see distant objects is a common problem with those under 40; in fact, around 1 in 4 people across Europe have myopia. It's important to know that it can be straightforward to manage.

What is myopia?

You may be surprised to know that myopia, or short-sightedness, usually emerges during childhood and generally stabilises by adulthood. There are some more severe cases of nearsightedness, including high myopia and degenerative myopia. 

Myopia is becoming more widespread in children and teenagers globally, with many suggesting that it could be linked to genetics and environmental factors. It is crucial to know the causes of myopia, as it may help you notice whether your child is at risk of developing the condition.

As a parent or young adult, you might notice behavioural changes in younger siblings or children, indicating that they struggle with their vision. Luckily, managing short-sightedness is simple through corrective myopia glasses.

Currently, the exact cause of myopia is not known. However, many factors may increase the risk of developing myopia, and it can be helpful to be aware of what these factors are.

Can genetics cause myopia?

Your eye's lens, cornea or eyeball being misshapen can cause myopia, as it affects how light hits the back of your eye. The light must land at the right part of the retina, at the back of your eye, for you to be able to see clearly. In the case of myopia, the light hits before the retina, and while this doesn't pose a threat to your health, it can make it difficult to see objects in the distance.

If you or your partner have myopia, your children could have a higher risk of developing short-sightedness. Research has suggested that the cause of myopia may be hereditary. In some cases, short-sightedness among other genetic markers can be passed from one generation to another. Around 40 genes identified so far have been linked to myopia.

Family at the opticians trying on glasses

So, if you or your other half need to wear glasses for myopia, consider keeping a lookout for any changes in your child's behaviour or vision. Signs can include squinting, sitting too close to the television or complaining of headaches. Identifying myopia early can help you take action resulting in slowing down the progression of short-sightedness. So, if you think you're noticing changes in your child's vision, make an appointment with your optician.

Can your lifestyle cause myopia?

With so much information in the news regarding what is good or bad for our health, it can feel impossible to find the truth. However, research shows that some lifestyle choices and environmental factors may play a role in causing myopia.

Spending time outside

There has been discussion regarding how spending little time outdoors may contribute to your risk of developing myopia. Do you remember playing outside a lot as a child? Does your child do the same, or do they prefer to sit indoors and play video games? Spending time outside as a child could reduce the chances of myopia, and could even slow down the progression of existing short-sightedness. Don't forget that it is also important to wear adequate eye protection from the sun!

Screen usage

When it comes to children, spending a lot of time focusing on close-up objects may increase their risk of myopia. Does your child regularly play on a tablet? It is essential to encourage your children to do things in moderation. For instance, if your child reads a book or plays on the computer, ensure they spend some time outside and away from close-up activities.

Playing on a tablet

Diagnosing myopia

It is very straightforward to diagnose myopia, and the modern solutions now available make it easier than ever before to manage short-sightedness. Your optician can recognise nearsightedness through a simple eye test. There are glasses for myopia and other similar corrective solutions that can easily help manage the condition.

At Essilor, we understand that modern lifestyles are demanding and fast-paced. We also know that children's glasses need to be able to handle a bit of rough and tumble! Our lens solutions are designed with this in mind, meeting your family's eye care needs through enhanced vision performance and optimum eye health protection.

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