What is myopia?
Myopia is what we commonly call near sightedness. It means we require glasses in the distance. This commonly occurs at around 10 years old and becomes progressively worse.
In recent years much research has been conducted on how to slow down the progression of myopia. There are now multiple treatments which your optometrist can prescribe. Not only are we trying to improve the quality of life for our patients, but also to prevent the risk of future retinal diseases.
The eye typically becomes elongated in myopia, which in turn can cause a stretching and thinning of the peripheral retinal tissue. We see an increase in retinal diseases by 70X for every 3.00 Diopters of myopia we develop!
When our children start to develop myopia it is important to consider intervention. This is especially true for kids with parents who also have high prescriptions. This is because a portion of your child’s prescription is inherited directly from you!
Another risk factor for myopia is the nearly consistent near visual demand our modern world requires. The more screen time our kids accumulate, the higher the risk of requiring a near sighted prescription becomes.
So what can be done?
As mentioned above, there are now several treatments available from your optometrist.
First, we always recommend children play outside as much as possible- engaging in their favourite sports is a great way to foster the development of their distance vision. Limited screen time when possible is also key!
The more exciting treatments come in simple forms: daily eye drops and contact lenses. The drops, used in ocular medicine for many years are a specially formulated concentration of atropine. Atropine has been shown in comprehensive studies to significantly decrease a child’s risk of advancing myopia. This eyedrop is once daily, and best of all has no side effects!!
The contact lenses incorporate a special technology in the optics of the lens. This has also been shown in scientific studies to slow down the progression of myopia.
We as optometrists are very excited about this news! Never before have we been able to provide such as service. Please visit us to find out more from one of our excellent doctors of optometry!