Bellamy Eye CareMyopia control
Myopia Prevention and Control
Short sight (myopia) contributes to many eye conditions later in life such as glaucoma, cataract, myopic maculopathy and retinal detachments. The higher the myopia, the greater the risk. Around one in three people in the UK are short sighted and this is increasing. Generally, children start to become myopic at around the ages of 11 to 13. It is caused by the eyeball growing a little bit longer than necessary. First signs are usually difficulty seeing the board at school or sitting closer to the TV. The prescription gradually increases (progression) throughout the teens as the eyes continue to grow. It then tends to level off with only small changes in prescription thereafter.
Our traditional approach has simply been to provide glasses or contact lenses to restore clear vision. This does nothing to deal with the problem of the eye growing longer than it should do which leads to problems later in life.
|Relative risk compared to no prescription|
|Myopic maculopathy||2 x higher||41 x higher||126 x higher|
|Retinal detachment||3 x higher||9 x higher||21 x higher|
|2 x higher||3 x higher||5 x higher|
What can we do to stop or minimise progression once it has started?
There is now very good evidence that if younger children aged up to 9 years old spend around 14 hours per week outdoors they will be significantly less likely to become myopic. This has other benefits and is obviously to be encouraged. It has been shown that more time spent doing close up work significantly increases the likelihood of myopia. Put another way – children who tend to stay indoors looking at things close up are much more likely to become short sighted. Unfortunately, once myopia starts then outdoor time seems to be less helpful in slowing the progression.
Global research has stepped up over the last few decades given the massive increase in myopia. The Brian Holden Institute is a well respected leader in the field and Alan has been involved in their education programme. They have shown that the best ways to combat myopia are:
- Delay onset – Increased outdoor time and regular breaks from close work
- Manage myopia progression.
The most effective methods of managing progression are multifocal contact lenses, executive bifocal glasses and orthokeratology. When deciding which method to opt for we assess the individual child’s risk factors. We take into account the risk of fast progression, how well they would tolerate each particular strategy and the parents’ preference. Then we can make our recommendations.
We have been carrying out myopia control on youngsters for some time now and the results are very encouraging. Alan and Tracey’s daughter is wearing multifocal contact lenses and her prescription has stabilised. They practise what they preach!
If you would like to find out if this may help your child then we’d be pleased to discuss it with you, please feel free to give us a call.
This is an excellent resource that you can use to see if your child is at risk: My Kid’s Vision
If you would like to do more reading there are many excellent articles and papers can be found here.
For more information on Orthokeratology or to book a consultation, don't hesitate to call our friendly team on 01162 531750 (Leicester) or 01933 653226 (Irthlingborough).