Myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness or short-sightedness, is rapidly increasing in children across the world. Recent studies at the Brien Holden Vision Institute predict that half the global population will be myopic by 2050. This can have a significant impact on a child’s everyday life, and can sometimes lead to future eye health problems. This blog will discuss how you can slow the progression of myopia.
Myopia usually begins in childhood. It is the inability to see objects clearly in the distance, while maintaining the ability to see things clearly that are close. As children grow we often see an elongation of the eyeball. If the eye grows too long, this increases their myopia further, which means they will need thicker glasses and have worse distance vision without their glasses.
Unfortunately, higher myopia (more than -6.00 D) can also mean a higher risk of retinal detachment, cataracts, myopic maculopathy, and macular degeneration. In our increasingly screen-based world, this progression can be somewhat attributed to the amount of near work we do and the amount of time we spend indoors. However, it is also largely attributed to genetics. Slowing down this progression of myopia has been a recent research goal in the field of optometry.
If we can slow down the progression of myopia, your child may become less myopic; this will reduce the risk of myopia-related diseases later on in life, reduce the thickness of their glasses, and reduce their visual blur without refractive correction.
There are a few risk factors that can increase your child’s likelihood of becoming myopic:
- One or both parents have myopia
- Ethnicity (specifically Asian populations)
- Consistent indoor environment/not spending enough time outside
- Prolonged near work/prolonged screen time
- Prolonged dark exposure
We're Open Again!
Looking for a dry eye clinic Calgary? My Optometrist Calgary is happy to announce that we are fully open, so our wonderful patients can once again access our Advanced Dry Eye Clinic. We’ve taken the necessary precautions to ensure our customers and staff remain safe given these still uncertain times, and are looking forward to seeing all our amazing patients again in person.
ADVANCED DRY EYE CLINIC
What Can I Do to Slow the Progression of Myopia in My Child?
When it comes to slowing the progression of myopia in your child, there are a number of things you can do. This includes:
Putting the devices away
- There are so many screens in our kids' lives today (iPads, computers, cellphones) and a lot of these involve near work. It is unrealistic to ask kids to stop using these tools completely, but try to limit their usage throughout the day so there is more balance with outdoor time and activities that involve distance vision (i.e. looking at things more than 6 metres away).
- Take breaks: hold near-work activities further away and try to limit eye strain. The 20-20-20 rule is a great rule to follow. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Kids spend a lot of time indoors, especially during the winter months, so it is important to send your kids outside for 1-2 hours each day. This is important because they are more likely to be engaged in distance-vision activities when they are outside, which places less strenuous near-vision demands on young eyes. It is also believed that dopamine release and vitamin D from sunlight exposure also plays a role in slowing progression. Spending time outside reduces the chance of developing myopia, but does not necessarily slow the progression once a child has already developed myopia, so outdoor time is important for even very young kids. Don’t forget your sunglasses!
There are a few treatments that your optometrist can recommend to help slow the progression of myopia. Not all options work well for each child, and they each have strengths and weaknesses. Your optometrist will take into account your child’s age, prescription, ocular health, dexterity, and maturity when recommending the best option for your child.
Eye Drops — Atropine
- Atropine has been used in eye care for many years, and now has promising results in controlling myopia progression.
- One drop is instilled in each eye every night before bed.
Daytime Soft Contact Lenses — MiSight
- These specially designed soft contact lenses correct your central distance vision, while leaving the peripheral vision slightly blurred in order to stop the growth signals that the eye receives when myopia is progressing. This in turn slows down the growth of the eye, and slows down myopia progression.
- These contacts are worn like any other contact lenses — you insert them in the morning, and must remove them before swimming/showering/sleeping. These are daily disposable contacts, so each pair of contact lenses is disposed of after one wear, and a new pair is used the next day.
Nighttime Hard Contact Lenses — Ortho-Keratology
- These contacts are designed to reshape the cornea (the front part of your eye) overnight, in order to induce peripheral blur and correct myopia. No correction is needed during the day, so your child can go without glasses or contacts at school and while swimming and playing sports.
- Ortho-K lenses are hard contacts that are inserted right before bedtime, and worn overnight. They must be slept in for 8-10 hours every night in order to provide the full treatment effect.
Eyeglasses — Zeiss MyoVision
- Specially designed spectacle lenses work to reduce myopic progression with very little side effects. They allow for clear central vision and simultaneous movement of the peripheral image in front of the retina, to stop the growth signals at the back of the eye. MyoVision lenses are thin and light, and appear no different than regular spectacle lenses. This may be combined with atropine therapy.
- Bifocal glasses can also limit myopia progression
- Click here to learn more about Zeiss MyoVision Lenses
Call Us Today
Need an eye exam Calgary? My Optometrist Calgary has you covered. Contact one of our My Optometrist Calgary clinics at either 403-256-0606 (Health First Optometry), 403-291-0923 (Sunridge Vision Centre), or 403-443-2040 (Three Hills Optometry).
CONTACT US TODAY!