MPR News with Angela Davis

Why are more kids nearsighted?

Vision glasses sit on an optotype vision chart
Children's vision is worsening and nearsightedness rose during the pandemic.
Photo by Skyler Ewing | Pexels

As school starts up in the next few weeks, more young children will head to the classroom with blurry vision.

Nearsightedness is increasing in kids at an alarming rate. The medical term is myopia, a condition in which people can see close objects clearly, but faraway objects, like a whiteboard across the classroom, are blurry.

The trend toward myopia decades in the making and worldwide, but it increased during the pandemic, which suggests more time on screens and less time outdoors might be part of the problem. With the rise in nearsightedness, there’s been a rush to develop treatments that can slow it down, including eye drops and special contact lenses.

MPR News host Angela Davis talks about why today’s kids are growing up with worse vision than their parents and also eye health across our lives.

What common problems threaten our vision as we grow older and what are the treatments and habits that can keep our vision sharp as we age?   

Find information about free and low-cost eye care at the National Eye Institute webpage. Low income families can also receive free eye care tests and other assistance from The Vision Project at the Minnesota Eye Foundation.


  • Dr. Mary Gregory is a board-certified optometrist based in Monticello, Minn., who specializes in children’s vision and learning.

  • Dr. Derek Horkey is an ophthalmologist with St. Paul Eye Clinic who does comprehensive eye care for adults. He has additional expertise in treating glaucoma.

  • Dr. Meredith Stallone is an optometrist who sees pediatric patients at M Health Fairview Lion's Children's Eye Clinic.  

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