Managing Myopia in Children
What is myopia?
Myopia, or short-sightedness, is a condition that results in difficulty seeing distant objects clearly. Research has shown that the prevalence of myopia in the western world has increased from 20% to 40% in the past 25 years. In many Asian countries the prevalence is as high as 90%. It is estimated that half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.
What causes myopia?
Myopia usually begins in childhood and is more common in children who have a myopic parent, although sometimes there is no family history. Other influencing factors are ethnicity, environment and spending increased amounts of time doing near tasks, including using smartphones, tablets and computers.
What are the risks of myopia?
The onset of myopia at an early age brings with it the likelihood of lifelong eyecare. Increasing levels of myopia are connected with a number of serious eye problems such as retinal detachment, cataract, glaucoma and macular diseases, with the risk of these becoming greater as the myopia increases. This is due to the eye becoming more elongated as it becomes more myopic. Just like a balloon becomes more translucent as you blow it up and the membrane is stretched, the eye’s membrane becomes thinner and more stretched as it becomes more myopic.
How can we reduce the chances of myopia?
A key part of any myopia management is to encourage children to spend more time outdoors – ideally 12 hours or more per week. Studies have shown that by increasing outdoor time in this way helps to prevent myopia onset and development.
How can Leightons help?
Although there is currently no cure for myopia, at Leightons we are able to fit your child with contact lenses to slow down or possibly even halt the progression of myopia. Our eye care practitioners have extensive experience in myopia control and can advise whether your child is suitable to be treated. Every child is different and each treatment is tailored to suit both the child and the type of correction that needs to be controlled.
The contact lenses use a principle known as Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K. The lenses are worn overnight to gently reshape the surface of the front of the eye (cornea), consequently reducing the progression of myopia. They can then be removed in the morning to give crisp, natural vision all day. It has the advantage of not needing to wear lenses during the day, which can be especially useful for those in active sports, particularly contact and water sports.
Recently introduced to only a select few practices in the UK, MiSight® contact lenses are soft daily disposable lenses that significantly reduce the rate of myopia progression. It is worn through the day as a standard one day soft lens, for a minimum of six days a week.
According to the two year data from the ongoing European study, the unique optics of the MiSight® one day disposable lens have been proven to slow down myopia by 59% compared to the control group. This means that if fitted early enough with this lens, most children will end up with less than half the strength of myopia than if fitted with a conventional contact lens or spectacles.
Find out more
If you’re interested in discovering more about myopia control, have any questions or would like to book a consultation, call us on 0800 40 20 20 or just pay us a visit.