Myopia in babies & toddlers
While myopia typically starts to develop between the ages of 7 and 13, it can be present and diagnosed in much younger children. This early-onset myopia may be hereditary, meaning that if one or both parents are myopic, there’s a higher chance that the child will be, too.
Let’s take a look at how to recognise myopia in babies & toddlers, what to do if you suspect your child is myopic, and age-appropriate methods of managing the condition.
Symptoms of myopia in babies & toddlers
Very young children with myopia often don’t know that there is something wrong with their eyesight, or lack the communication skills to explain vision problems to their parents. It’s therefore important to pay close attention to your child in their early years, and watch out for signs of myopia.
Some of the common symptoms of myopia in babies and toddlers include:
- Holding objects close to their face
- Sitting very close to screens
- Showing little interest in or recognition of objects in the distance
- Squinting or closing one eye to see better
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Excess blinking
- Watery eyes
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should book an appointment with an eye care professional.
Managing myopia in babies & toddlers
As their eyes are still growing, myopia develops quickly in babies and toddlers, so timely diagnosis and management is important to slow the progression of the condition.
Young children may not be able to explain any problems with their vision, so it’s important to ensure that their eyes are regularly examined by an eye care professional for signs of myopia and other eye health concerns. Limiting screen time and encouraging time outdoors can also help to slow the progression of myopia in young children.
Babies and toddlers with myopia are usually prescribed glasses, as applying and removing contact lenses is often not feasible for young children. While some babies and toddlers with very high prescriptions do wear contact lenses under close parental supervision, contact lens wear is more commonly considered once a child reaches school age. Plastic frames with flexible spring hinges and elastic straps are useful to keep the spectacles in position and prevent damage from clumsy hands.
Progressive myopia in babies and toddlers and how to manage it
Myopia in babies and toddlers can be a concern for visual development and general health. Myopia should be corrected with glasses and monitored closely.
Screen time for babies and toddlers: what is ok?
Screen time can be ok for young children if you sit with them, like reading a picture book, and for video calls with family. Solo screen time is not beneficial.
Eye glasses for babies and toddlers
Eye glasses (spectacles) should be worn full-time by babies and toddlers, who typically need the correction for healthy eye and vision development.