Well its not all doom and gloom!
More and more children around the world are becoming short-sighted (Myopic). This is becoming a concern for many parents whereby their childrens eyes seem to get worse every year! Why is this the case and what are the solutions? The rest of this blog will summarise the possible reasons and possible solutions.
What is Myopia (Short-Sightedness)?
Myopia is a complicated condition that has the potential to have a life-long impact on a child’s life. From difficulties when reading the board at school, low confidence growing up to a high risk of sight threatening diseases of the eye as an adult.
Possible reasons why some children become increasingly short-sighted:
1. Their parents are short-sighted (myopic). Therefore it is genetics related or a family history of myopia. We cannot do nothing about this one!
2. Enclosed environments. Too much close work reading/drawing or use of electronic gadgets like mobile phones, ipads during free or spare time without having adequate breaks.
3. Urban environment pose a greater risk of myopia due to the environment (as mentioned in point 2) as opposed to rural environments. A lack of outdoor activities.
4. As children grow their eye ball changes shape and this affects how light enters the eye. This is why their prescription changes on a yearly basis as they are growing. Other reasons include their ability to focus and binocular vision.
So What Is The Solution?
There are multiple points to take into consideration
1. Have regular breaks whilst doing study or using electronic gadgets and also to hold the devices further away!
2. More outdoor activities have shown to reduce the rate of short-sightedness. It is generally recommended a minimum of 2 hrs per day.
3. It is highly recommended to have regular eye tests so that it can be treated from an early age, 5yrs and onwards, with glasses or contact lenses.
4. In general by taking these steps you can slow it or stop it but you cannot make it better or cure it. The use of certain glasses and contact lenses have been proven to slow down myopia.
MiSight Daily Disposables manufactured by CooperVision (and the first of its kind) is the latest in technology with soft contact lenses. It has been proven to slow the progression of myopia in most children that have tried them. No cleaning and disinfection means easy maintenance and reducing the risk of infection or losing lenses.
Currently one of the best methods to control or slow down myopia. Ortho-K (or sleep-in) lenses have been available for a number of years. These are rigid lenses that are worn overnight. They gently reshape the front surface of your eye (the cornea) to temporarily correct myopia. The following day you remove your lenses and you are able to see without glasses or contact lenses. The effect lasts a day (sometimes two) before short-sightedness returns, therefore they need to be worn every night. If you want to try this option you will need to be thoroughly assessed by an experienced contact lens optician who is trained for this.
Other methods to slow down the progression of myopia is the the use of Atropine eye drops, Bifocal and Varifocal spectacles or glasses.However the most effective treatment is either MiSight disposable or Ortho-K lenses to date. This combined with lifestyle changes such as increased outdoor activities will have the most positive impact.
Please get in touch with your Optician if you want to consider the above options for your children.
In the next blog we will do a comparison between MiSight and Ortho-K