If your child is progressively getting more nearsighted, you are probably wondering just one thing: why? Is it genetics, nutrition, the environment that I’ve provided for my child? What could I have done to prevent this from happening? And the worst part is that most likely your doctor can’t provide any definitive answers. You might feel helpless to do anything about it.
(Something to keep in mind is that there are multiple causes for nearsightedness-genetic, environmental, nutritional, developmental. Let’s focus for now on the environmental and developmental aspects.)
When we are born, our eyes are shorter than they will be (that’s right, babies are farsighted), and as we learn to focus our eyes, the repeated act of focusing up close causes pressure spikes in the eyes which elongate them into the shape they will have for the rest of our lives. As the eyes elongate, they cease to be farsighted, and this process should normally stop when one’s prescription approaches zero.
When one is nearsighted, this process of elongation has over-exerted itself, and the eyeball is now too long. This doesn’t typically happen in the outdoors, but with children today playing on computers, reading, and watching TV, they simply don’t spend enough time looking far away to allow their eyes to develop. The eyes are well-adapted for near-at-hand vision, but haven’t had the experience they need in constant distance viewing at a crucial time in their development.
In addition, looking up close for so long affects how your brain calibrates the control of your eye muscles for near-work, so your eyes are no longer efficient at looking back and forth between near and far. When the eye muscles are inefficient at changing focus, there tends to be higher pressure in the eyes. So, what needs to be done is to retrain the brain to run your eye muscles in the right manner so that we decrease the eye pressure that causes the eyes to stretch longer, resulting in a slowing of prescription increase.
One way of achieving this “retraining” is through vision therapy. Vision therapy, which is a nonsurgical technique used to treat progressive nearsightedness and other vision problems, utilizes exercises and a customized treatment program to help your child improve his or her vision. When you contact a vision therapy optometrist, they will examine your child’s eyes to determine what the cause of their myopia is and, if appropriate, create a vision therapy treatment plan to cure their progressive myopia.