THINK YOUR CHILD MIGHT BE SHORT SIGHTED?
Myopia & Myopia Management
Short-sightedness is the common term for Myopia. Myopic patients find that distant objects are blurred, while everything close up is clearer.
It’s a growing concern worldwide as it’s occurring at a younger age in our children, and may lead to eye health problems throughout life.
If your child is short sighted this information may help you to help them with the issues they could face.
Understanding Myopia -
Presently around a third of the UK population is Myopic to different degrees.
Objects are blurred because the eye is longer than average from front to back, so light is focussed just in front of the retina instead of being focussed directly on it.
Myopia is common in all age groups, and while it presently affects around 80 million children worldwide, that’s set to increase sharply by 2050. Onset of Myopia is also happening at a younger age – in 1983 it was 11 years old, in 2008 8 years old. After it starts it tends to increase until the eye stops growing.
The exact cause is not yet fully understood, and there is no way of knowing how Myopic a child will become. We do know that if the child becomes Myopic before their ninth birthday, they are at risk of a needing a higher spectacle prescription by the time they are an adult.
Symptoms to look out for -
Complaints of headaches or tired eyes.
Difficulty seeing even if at the front of the classroom.
Not able to see in the distance.
Sitting too close to the TV or the screen.
Holding books very close while reading.
Rubbing eyes frequently.
There are two mains causes of myopia -
Genetics – If one or both parents are Myopic, the risk increases for their children. It’s also increased in people of East Asian Ethnic origin.
Behavioural – Performing prolonged tasks close too, such as gaming, reading, or screen work can increase the risk. Low levels of outdoor activity are also an issue.
We can prescribe glasses, contact lenses or laser surgery which will help Myopic patients to see clearly, but this will not help with the progression of their Myopia. Even with their vision corrected, Myopic patients will still always be at higher risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma, myopic retinal degeneration, and cataracts.
If you would like to slow the progression of your child’s Myopia we have several options that will help. This is called Myopia Management.
We can offer contact lenses and spectacle lenses. Research at present suggests that these treatments may reduce the progression of Myopia by 40 – 60% with continuous use. The end result could be that your child has a much lower degree of Myopia than they would have had without treatment, and be at lower risk of contracting Myopia related eye diseases.
Research has been taking place worldwide for some time, but long term results of Myopia Management will take more time. Patients of East-Asian ethnic backgrounds have been the primary study group, so we’re still awaiting results of patients with European ethnic backgrounds.
At present we still don’t know any long term outcomes, and we don’t know if the results of Myopia management are permanent.
With Myopia Management we aim to reduce the risk of your child suffering from Myopia related eye disease as they get older, even if we can’t completely erase the risk. So if your child requires glasses or contact lenses to correct their Myopia, then we suggest that we incorporate Myopia Management.
Have a chat with your child’s Optometrist or a Dispensing Optician if you would like further information.
There are two main options for Myopia Management –
1. Contact Lenses
We dispense MiSight contact lenses, have a chat with your Optometrist to see if your child is suitable.
2. Spectacle Lenses
These lenses can be worn instead of, or in conjunction with MiSight contact lenses. A qualified Dispensing Optician must fit these, speak to the Dispensing team for advice.
The Safety of Myopia Management
The usage of any contact lens does carry very slight risk, and this is no different with Myopia Management lenses. The simple rule is to follow the advice of your Optometrist, attend for regular check-ups, and at the slightest sign of discomfort, remove the lenses and seek help from us.
During Myopia Management
Your child will still attend for regular check-ups, and their sight may still change during treatment. Your Optometrist can calculate the predicted level of Myopia, and during treatment asses if the Myopia management is heading in the right direction.
At present we think that treatment should stop around the child’s late teens. In some patients it could continue, or re-start if the Myopia gets worse again.
After Myopia Management
Your child will probably always need vision correction, as there is no way to reverse the Myopia they had at the start of treatment, we’re just aiming to slow further progression.
Their prescription should be lower than it would have been without intervention. There will still be some risk of Myopia related eye disease in adulthood, but treatment should have reduced that risk.
Call your favourite branch and speak to our team for further advice and information, or read our Optometrist, Amit's, blog about his personal experience with myopia.