WHAT IS MYOPIA?
Myopia or short sightedness is a common visual problem usually corrected by glasses or contact lenses. If you are myopic you can see things up close but further away they are blurred or out of focus.
Myopia is caused by the eye being too long in relation to the curve of the cornea, the clear bit on the front of your eye. This causes light coming into your eye coming to a focal point in front of the retina and therefore causing blurred vision.
MYOPIA NORMALLY STARTS IN THE EARLY TEENS.
It is thought peripheral defocusing contributes to the ongoing increase of myopia once children start to wear glasses.
WHAT’S THE TRIGGER?
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE MYOPIC?
In the last 40 years myopia has risen from 16% of the population to currently 32%. It is expected to reach at least 50% of the population by 2050.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES MY CHILD WILL BECOME MYOPIC?
At present it is thought that if a child has 1 myopic parent they will have a 3x greater chance of becoming myopic. 2 myopic parents increases that to a 7x chance
IMPACT OF MYOPIA
Apart from the obvious lifetime need and dependency on glasses and contact lenses and some career restrictions, there are eye health implications. See table below. NOTE Emmetropia describes a normal eye.
PATHOLOGY ASSOCIATED WITH MYOPIA
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
Firstly sunlight, it has been shown in many studies that natural sunlight helps reduce the chance of your child becoming myopic. Secondly reducing screen time is emerging as being beneficial in reducing the risk of myopia.
MY CHILD NOW NEEDS GLASSES, WHAT CAN I DO NOW?
This is where Myopia Control comes into play. There are 3 known ways of reducing the increasing degree of your child's myopia
Contact lenses have proven by a significant margin to be the most effective way to reduce the increase of myopia. They work by correcting the peripheral defocus you get with normal glasses and contact lenses. Soft multi focal lenses are available and we do fit them at Oculus. However our preferred contact lens is Ortho-K, we call it our toothbrush lens. You brush your teeth at night, put your lenses in and leave them in overnight. Wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, take out the lenses and bingo! Perfect vision all day with no need for glasses or contact lenses! Too good to be true? Check out Menicon Bloom, completely safe and simple to use. Ortho-K also means your child can safely do water sports and doesn't have to worry about taking spare glasses or contact lenses to school.
Bifocal glasses have been trialled but thus far have had less successful results than contact lenses.
Atropine 0.01% has shown promising results but is not commercially available yet, nor is the long term safety of extended use of atropine known yet
IS MY CHILD SUITABLE FOR THESE LENSES
We are successfully fitting children from as young as 8. However there are many variables which is why we suggest in the first instance we have an informal appointment with you and your child to discuss the different options