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What Causes Myopia to Get Worse?

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Your child’s vision helps them interact with the world around them. Having clear vision can help your children succeed in school activities and perform well in sports. But what do you do when your child has vision problems? 

A children’s eye exam can help your child’s optometrist diagnose vision problems and help them get the treatment they need. 

If your child has been diagnosed with myopia you may be wondering what will happen to their vision as they grow. At Calgary Optometry, we’re here to help you understand what can cause myopia to worsen, and how your optometrist can help control your child’s myopia as they age. 

What is Myopia?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is the most frequent correctable eye condition. Myopia occurs when the eye grows too long from front to back. When this happens, the images seen are focused improperly on the retina, causing faraway vision to appear blurry. 

Myopia typically develops during childhood and tends to get worse with age. This is because, in order to correct the error, the eyes will actually continue to grow longer to make up for the lack of focus. 

How Do I Know if My Child Has Myopia?

It can be difficult to tell if your child is experiencing vision issues, which is why it’s necessary to bring them in for regular comprehensive children’s exams. During a children’s eye exam, your optometrist will examine your child’s eye health, test their vision, and check for any signs that they’re experiencing vision issues. 

Still, there are signs you can look out for. Some of the common symptoms associated with myopia include: 

  • Holding objects close to the face
  • Sitting too close to the TV
  • Squinting or closing one eye to read
  • Frequent complaints of headaches
  • Excess watering of the eye
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Complaints of blurry vision 

If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms, book an appointment with your optometrist. If left untreated, myopia can lead to other eye problems

Why is your child's myopia getting worse? Learn what myopia is and how it gets worse for kids.

What Causes Myopia to Worsen? 

The main cause of myopia is the eye growing too long from front to back, but there are many other factors that can contribute to myopic vision.

Wearing Glasses Too Often

While glasses are used to correct vision in children with myopia, wearing glasses all the time, every day could potentially lead to myopia worsening. 

You can give your child a break from glasses by encouraging them to only wear them when needed. If they have low myopia, glasses don’t need to be worn when they’re doing near-vision tasks, like reading, doing schoolwork, or playing. 

Wearing Glasses With Full Correction 

Wearing glasses with full protection can also cause myopia to worsen. For this reason, your optometrist may slightly undercorrect your child’s eyeglass prescription to improve their vision, without contributing to myopia progression. 


Genetics has been linked as a contributor to myopia progression. If either of your child’s parents has myopia, they’ll have a greater chance of developing the condition themselves. 

Limited Time Outdoors

If a child spends less than an hour outside every day, it could increase the progression of their myopic vision. Outdoor time gives the eye muscles a chance to relax and take a break from constantly focusing. 

Prolonged Use of Digital Devices 

Digital device use has been linked to myopia progression. 

Prolonged usage of digital devices may overwhelm a child’s focusing system, which can lead to digital eye strain and myopia progression.

Prolonged Near Vision Tasks 

Too much time spent doing near-vision tasks, whether it be reading, writing, or playing, can cause stress on your child’s focusing skills, leading to worsened myopia. 

Close up of women putting in Atropine Drops (eye drops) to stop myopia from getting worse

What You Can Do 

Myopia requires treatment from your child’s optometrist but there are steps you can take to slow how quickly it progresses.

  • Make sure your child takes frequent breaks from near-vision tasks like reading & writing
  • Take your child outdoors every day
  • Schedule regular eye exams with your child’s eye doctor

Myopia Control & Management 

Myopia control is an area of eye care that is dedicated to slowing the progression of myopia. Myopia control can help your child get back to seeing clearly while decreasing their risk of developing eye diseases

At Calgary Optometry Centre, we are committed to helping your child’s eye health excel, no matter their needs. We offer the following myopia control treatments to help preserve your child’s eyesight:

Are you interested in the difference myopia control can make? Book an appointment today! Of course, if you have any questions about myopia or your child’s vision, give us a call. Our team is always happy to help. 

Written by Dr. Kent Prete

An active member of the Canadian Association of Optometrists, the Alberta Association of Optometrists, and the Alberta College of Optometrists, Dr. Prete lives his passion every day when he sees his patients. Dr. Prete has spoken at over 100 professional events over the last almost 20 years. A keen educator and confident doctor, Dr. Prete is nearly as passionate about educating other eye care professionals as he is about caring for and educating his patients!
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