Will Your Child Need Glasses?

                                            A New Formula Predicts Nearsightedness

A new study indicates that a simple formula may predict which children will need glasses as they hit middle school. They measure how farsighted they are in first grade.

A study of more than 4,500 children indicates that measuring a child’s vision at around age 6 can predict which children become nearsighted by the age of 13. These findings were published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Ophthalmology.

The study also casts doubt on the widely held belief that reading in poor light or “near work” sometimes causes nearsightedness. This theory has been widely held for more than 100 years and the study found no association.

The children in this study have been taking part since 1989 and the children live in five different cities in the United States. The children received annual eye exams from age six to age thirteen. The study concluded that the children who were less farsighted – the cutoff was +0.75 diopters – were more likely to become more nearsighted when they were older.

Children seldom receive a comprehensive eye screening annually when they are so young. However, the study indicates it may be worth doing so ophthalmologists can work to see if there is a way to prevent eyesight from worsening.

The researchers indicated this is an important issue because one in three people in the United States aged 12 to 54 years is nearsighted. In addition the prevalence of nearsightedness appears to be on the rise.

The cost to the U.S. health care system is almost $4 billion annually.