Myopia is the clinical term for short sightedness. The eyeball is too long or the focusing too strong causing objects in the distance to appear blurred Generally it develops at an early age and progresses unchecked over time. Myopia is what we usually refer to as short sight. It develops when we are young and frequently progresses until mid to late teens.
Over time the result of advancing myopia is more blurred vision in the distance and ever increasing thicker lenses in your glasses.
What are the risks of Myopia?
The fact that your child/grandchild has good eyesight and does not wear glasses does not exempt them from the possibility of becoming myopic and consequently at risk of a variety of sight threating situations. Being pro active before myopia develops is a hugely positive factor in protecting children's sight. It's recommended to take action around the age of 6 and before short sight,( myopia,) starts to develop.
Assess your child's risk factors at mykidsvision.org
An analysis of several published papers by the International Myopia Institute allows us to explain the expected increase in myopia related pathologies in simple risk terms. The following table compares the likelihood of theses situations developing compared to someone with no short sight.
x risk increases
|-6.00 & above||5x||4x||16x|
|Risk||Low||Medium x3||High x6|
|myopic parent||none||1 parent||both parents|
|age appropriate||less than age normal||already myopic|
|time spent outdoors|
|Time spent doing close visual tasks (not including school work but includes iPad, Xbox, smart phone)|
|2x risk||2-3x risk|
- Ensure the child does not hold print /smart phone any closer than 16 inches/40cm
- Does not sit too close to the desk when writing
- Makes regular blinks with all near vision activities ( irritation and dry eye symptoms may be a complaint.)
- Takes regular breaks with all near task every 15 minutes or so and looks to a more distant object
Multifocal contact lenses 49%
Executive Bifocal 45%
Progressive glasses 29%
Ortho K Contact lens 43%
Atropine Eye Drops 59% (not permitted in the UK for myopia control)
Executive Bifocal glasses are quite unsightly and not practical for children who lead an active life. Ortho K Contact lenses are worn overnight and carry some risk such as corneal infections, glare, corneal abrasion and visual distortion. Multifocal Contact lenses are well tolerated by children and younger children are actually more compliant than teenagers. The incidence of infection in children wearing 1Day Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses under 9 yrs is very low and this is our preferred way to help reduce the progress of myopia.
However the wearing of these lenses alone does not guarantee a reduction in the rate of myopic progression. It’s important that the wearer has "efficient visual skills" when engaging in reading and general near work. These Binocular Vision Skills will be checked at the initial evaluation and at each progress review. These will be at either 3 or 6 months intervals depending on each case.
The initial examination and annual reviews only will be supported by the NHS.
Principal optometrist Bill Hay & practice Manager Jill have each gained accreditation in Myopia Development Management from the Brien Holden Vision Institute, a global leader in eye care and vision research and will be able to discuss any concerns you have regarding your child or grandchild.