Setting sights on young eyes
How to minimise short-sightedness in children and young adults with Ivan R Cammack.
Short-sightedness, otherwise known as Myopia currently affects 2.6 billion people worldwide (22% of the population), It is projected to increase to affect 4.9 billion by 2050 (50% of the world population).
Perhaps most surprising is that more than 50% of adolescents in the UK are myopic.
Myopia is a condition of the eye where light entering from a distant object does not focus directly on the retina, but in front of it. This causes distant objects to be out of focus, where near objects may be clearly in focus. This is usually because the eye grows ‘too long’ to focus correctly.
For most short-sighted people the main problem is inconvenience. Being dependent on spectacles or contact lenses can limit activities and be frustrating. However, the more myopic you are (the more unusually elongated your eyes are) the greater the risk of developing serious eye conditions such as retinal detachment, glaucoma and myopic maculopathy.
The answer to the problem is managing the condition.
The aim of Myopia Management is to slow down or ideally halt the progression of myopia (short-sightedness).
The sooner you start with Myopia Management, the better the results. Children of any age, but as young as 6 years old, with even the smallest amount of myopia can benefit from this form of vision therapy.
Genetics is a major contributing factor of Myopia in Children. We know that you are more likely to develop myopia if one or both of your parents is short-sighted*, though the incidence is increasing worldwide at a rate which cannot be explained by genetics alone.
If both parents are myopic, it means a child is eight times more likely to be myopic by the age of 12.
*Compared to a child who does not have myopic parents.
Children and young adults seem to be glued to screens these days. Habitual focussing is another contributing factor towards developing Myopia. The more time our children spend on near vision tasks (books, computers, smart phones) the more likely their eyes will adapt to the near habitual focussing distance. Resulting in myopia. It’s a good idea to limit the time children spend staring at a small screen.
Some good news. There is strong evidence that time spent outdoors as a child can dramatically reduce their chances of developing myopia – or at least delay the onset, and thereby the long-term severity of the condition.
This could explain why children in Australia show fewer cases of myopia than in the UK.
Specialist vision correction (spectacles or contact lenses) are used to change the way that light entering the eye is focussed on the peripheral retina, whilst giving the wearer clear vision.
The use of this technology, whilst not successful in all children, has been shown to effectively stop or significantly reduce the progression of myopia in the majority.
The use of traditional glasses or traditional contact lenses to correct myopia will give the clarity of vision your child needs to see well – but they will not slow down myopia progression.
Modern technology helps. Specialist spectacles and contact lenses only available from accredited opticians like Ivan R Cammack really help.
MyoSmart Specs, these lenses need careful dispensing and cautious maintenance to create a specific and constant amount of peripheral light defocus.
MiSightTM Contact Lenses are specialist soft contact lenses using ‘ActivControl Dual Focus technology’. These are 1-day disposable contact lenses worn during the day and removed at night, creating the peripheral light defocus with a power gradient across the pupillary optic zone.
EyedreamTM Contact Lenses. Specialist overnight vision correction contact lenses using ‘Topography Assisted Corneal Reshaping technology’.
These contact lenses are worn overnight and then removed on waking. Remarkably comfortable to wear, one of the key benefits is that all the care happens at home, so your child has no need to worry about specs or contact lenses through the day.
Eyedream lenses for myopia management give good clarity of vision all day and create the required peripheral light defocus by gently reshaping the cornea overnight.
If you have grown up with myopia, then you will not wish the same for your children or grand children.
Let’s give them a better start, and a better life.
Ask the Specialists in Myopia Management. Call Ivan R Cammack on 01844 212048
You can read more articles like this one in the latest edition of Thame Out.