Myopia Control – Is my child at risk of becoming short sighted?
If you are concerned your child may be short sighted (myopic) then it is always advisable to ensure their eyes are examined regularly.
Myopia symptoms can include:
- Sitting too close to TV or other screens
- Headaches, tired eyes, rubbing eyes
- Struggling to read the whiteboard at school (having to sit at the front)
Short sight in children, or myopia typically starts at some point in childhood to susceptible children. The mechanism is that the eyes lengthen, causing light to focus in front of the retina. The myopia tends to increase and finally stabilises around 18-20 years old.
The earlier in childhood the process starts, the higher the final prescription is likely to be. The percentage of people becoming myopic (short sighted) is increasing worldwide. Currently around 23% of 12-13 year olds in the UK are now myopic. This is not just a cosmetic disadvantage, but even medium amounts of myopia make eye disease in later life more likely and the small percentage who go on to become high myopes (-10 and above) is also increasing and this can cause serious eye disease. If you are myopic there is an even bigger chance that your child will be affected.
What can I do to manage myopia in my child?
The most important thing is to encourage outside activities in daylight. The biggest factor in myopia development is lack of outside daylight and too many close work activities. Schools must be encouraged to send the children outside for an hour during the day for play or sport.
There is growing evidence that the myopia can be controlled to minimise the final prescription reached. The most effective method of myopia control at the moment is specially designed contact lenses with band of under correction circling the centre which is focussed for the distance. The misight lens is a daily disposable lens specially designed for this purpose.
As myopia specialists we fit misight lenses at Nethercott Opticians in Tadworth. They have been proved on average to reduce the final prescription by about a third. To be effective they have to be worn 10 hours a day for 6 days a week.
The future – Myopia developments
Other myopia control methods not available are to use a very low concentration of atropine eye drops at night. As soon as these drops are marketed and have proved themselves, we will be adding this to our portfolio of treatment.
Opening and closing hours are:
Monday-Friday 9:00am – 5:30pm
Saturday 9:00am – 1:00pm