What is Myopia?
Myopia or short-sightedness is a focussing problem where objects in the distance look blurry.
The greater the short sighted prescription the more blurry things will look. A prescription of -4.00 will look more blurry than a prescription of -1.00.
Myopia typically starts in childhood and is a progressive condition. Children are becoming short-sighted at an earlier age and the number 10-16 year olds who are short-sighted has doubled in the last 60 years.
What causes myopia?
Short-sightedness is most commonly caused by a child's eyes growing too long, relative to the eyes focusing system.
Both genetic and lifestyle factors make a child more likely to become short-sighted and will also affect the magnitude of the short-sightedness.
Family history will play a major role. A child who has 2 short-sighted parents will have a 50% chance of becoming short-sighted. A child with one short-sighted parent will have 33% chance of being short-sighted. However, due to modern lifestyle factors, even a child without any short-sighted parents will still have a 25% chance of becoming short-sighted.
Not enough time outdoor - Studies have shown that spending more time outdoors may help delay the onset of short-sightedness. Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D and dopamine, which have been linked to healthy eye development. Experts recommend 90 minutes of outdoor time every day.
Too much close work - Modern lifestyles mean we spend more time than ever before, focusing on nearby objects, such as reading, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, tvs. All of these activities have been shown to increase the risk of developing and progressing short-sightedness.
What can be done?
Traditionally, all we could do for short-sightedness was to wear glasses or contact lenses, to correct the prescription and provide clear vision.
This has little impact on slowing down the rate at which short-sightedness worsens.
We now have clinically proven options that can slow the rate at which short-sightedness worsens. This can be achieved with both spectacle lenses and contact lenses (our preferred method of correction, where possible). We call this Myopia Management.
Why does slowing myopia matter?
Studies and clinical experience both show that higher levels of short-sightedness are associated with increased likelihood Myopic macular degenration, Retinal detachment, Glaucoma and cataracts. So for every dioptre we can save with effective myopia management. The potential for serious eye damage reduces.
If your child has short-sightedness or the potential to be short-sighted, myopia management will now be discussed and offered as an important part of your child's eye care management strategy.