What is myopia control?
Myopia (short sightedness) is where an individual is not able to see things far away without glasses or contact lenses.
Historically, people with myopia were prescribed single vision spectacle or contact lenses. If their myopia got worse the prescription in these lenses was adjusted to make sure they could see distance objects clearly.
Studies have showed that the worldwide incidence of myopia is increasing.
It is predicted that by the year 2050 half the world’s population will be myopic. Some researchers suggest that changes to how we use our eyes are responsible for this increase in myopia.
Specifically, an increased use of smart phones, iPads and computers and a decrease in outdoor time.
Why do we want to prevent children from becoming myopic?
Being myopic is not just about the inconvenience of wearing glasses or contacts. People who are myopic have an increased risk of certain eye diseases. These include myopic macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinal detachment. The higher the myopia the higher the risk of eye disease.
What’s involved with myopia control?
Many studies have been conducted to investigate what’s the best way to slow down myopia. Current options include myopia control spectacle lenses, myopia control contact lens options and atropine eye drops.
Our Optometrist can discuss these with you at the time of your consultation and help you select the best option for your child. Myopia control doesn’t mean that we can stop myopia progressing altogether. The aim of myopia control is to slow it down. The result of successful myopia control should be that your child is less shortsighted by the end of their teenage years than if we had not used myopia control measures.
Is there anything we can do to prevent our children becoming myopic?
We know that genetics play a part in whether a child will become myopic or not but there are also other things we can do to decrease the risk
- Limit screen use- every 20 minutes look away from the screen for a minute of two. Preferably look out a window or a long way off into the distance
- Spend 80 minutes per day outdoors- not only does looking around outdoors help keep the focusing muscles of the eyes relaxed, animal studies suggest that certain chemicals that help to slow myopia are released from the retina at the back of the eye when in sunlight
- Don’t hold electronic devises too close to the eyes- make a fist, hold it to your nose and place the electronic device at your elbow. This is the optimal viewing distance- any closer and the eyes are working harder than they need to.