Eye Conditions that Develop in the Teenage Years By Gordon Wong, OD on February 22, 2023

Teenage girl smiling.Good vision is something many people take for granted. Keeping our eyes healthy and establishing an eye exam routine while we’re young is the best way to protect our vision and prevent eye conditions through adulthood.

When we think of eye conditions or diseases, we often think of them occurring in our senior years. However, when not properly cared for or protected, we can develop several eye conditions in our teenage years. Neglecting routine eye exams, spending long hours looking at screens, and not protecting our eyes from the sun can all lead to vision problems that can last for the rest of our lives.

Through routine eye exams at GW Eye Associates in La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and San Diego, CA, we can help children and teens learn how to protect their vision and prevent the below eye disorders from forming or worsening.

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors, like nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism (an irregularly shaped eyeball), can develop at any stage of life and are common vision impairments in teens. The most common being myopia.

Teenagers with myopia may begin to have difficulty seeing the marker board or the teacher at the front of the class. While the condition can be hereditary, actions like straining your eyes while looking at a screen or reading small text can cause myopia to develop or worsen.

Our eye doctors can help treat your refractive error through corrective lenses or glasses.

Digital Eye Strain

With the rise of technology and time spent in front of screens, digital eye strain (DES) is becoming more common, especially in teenagers. DES happens after spending extended periods in front of a blue-light-emitting screen without protection, causing vision impairment and dry eye symptoms like redness, irritation, blurry or double vision, and headaches.

You can reduce DES and dry eye symptoms through eye drops, decreasing screen time, and wearing blue-light filtering glasses.


Photokeratitis occurs when the front of the eye becomes sunburnt from UV light. This condition can cause pain, headaches, red eyes, and haloed vision. The condition typically resolves on its own but can be prevented by wearing sunglasses when exposed to sunlight.

Apart from photokeratitis, the sun can also cause retinal damage, especially in kids and teens who have larger pupils and clearer lenses than adults. Unfortunately, sun damage to the retina is usually irreversible, making protective eyewear crucial when exposed to UV light.

Long-term exposure to the sun can also cause lifelong eye issues like cataracts, vision impairments, and macular degeneration.

Prevent Eye Conditions and Protect Your Vision

Schedule Your Eye Exam With GW Eye Associates

By caring for and protecting your eyes when you’re young, you can prevent damage that can cause irreversible, life-long vision problems. Most patients should visit their eye doctor every one to two years to keep their eyes healthy and prevent eye diseases. Keeping this routine is especially important for teens who have increased screen time.

At GW Eye Associates in La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and San Diego, CA, we can monitor eye health, treat eye conditions, and keep your child’s eyes healthy for years. Contact our practice online or call to request your consultation.

Del Mar Office:

(858) 755-9465

La Jolla Office:

(858) 454-4699

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GW Eye Associates

Our team at GW Eye Associates in La Jolla and Del Mar can provide a wide range of high-quality eye care services. Dr. Gordon G. Wong and Dr. Wildon C. Wong have over 45 years of combined experience and belong to several prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Optometric Association

For more information about our services, contact our office online or call us at (858) 454-4699 today.

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