Posted: May 25 2022

Myopia

Myopia is a common eye condition, where your vision is ‘short’ or ‘near’ sighted – objects are clear when up close, but blurry at a distance. This might mean your child struggles to see the whiteboard at school clearly, or if you are driving, the traffic or street signs are blurry.

Myopic eye

During childhood and adolescence, in some people the eyeball doesn’t grow consistently, stretching longer as the body grows and develops. This can lead to your distance vision becoming blurry as the light is not focussed on the back of the eye.

Myopia is a common condition and many think that it can be fixed by just wearing glasses. While glasses correct the vision they do not change the shape of the eye, requiring the patient to continue to wear corrective lenses. Unfortunately myopia can develop into “high” myopia, where the condition progressively worsens and if left untreated it will require stronger, thicker prescription lenses, and can lead to future eye health problems in the future, such as glaucoma, retinal detachment and cataracts1.

Myopia is becoming more common in children around the world. It’s been estimated that half the world population will have myopia by 2050.2

What causes myopia?

Lifestyle and family genetics and history are the main factors that can put your child at greater risk of developing myopia. It is known that Myopia runs in the family.

  • Spending more time where vision is concentrated on near tasks for long periods such as using digital devices like an iPad, and reading.
  • Less time outdoors in natural light or looking at further distances.
  • Myopia can be hereditary, and it’s particularly more common when one or both parents are myopic.3

Signs to look out for include:

  • headaches
  • tired eyes
  • squinting
  • distance vision becoming blurry or your child might be struggling at school

Sometimes there aren’t any obvious symptoms, so regular eye tests, especially for children, are important to detect changes in the eye and vision.

How can myopia progress?

Myopia can progress in a number of different ways. For some the changes are very slight, other more pronounced over a shorter period of time. Key reasons for progression include:

  • delay in diagnosing and treating young children
  • older children not having regular eye checks
  • wearing incorrect prescription or lens types
  • thinking standard glasses will correct the underlying issue if progression is swift.

Options to manage myopia

There are ways to slow or remove the progression of myopia, and to manage the condition into adulthood. Consider:

  • Spending more time outdoors. Spending 90 minutes or more outdoors can reduce the risk of myopia and progression4.
  • Taking regular breaks from near vision activity such as reading and screen time. After spending 20 minutes on a screen, spend 20 seconds looking at an object 20 feet away.
  • Regular eye tests to understand what is happening progressively with the eyes.

Remember prescription glasses and contacts will only address the blurry vision, and your prescription will need to be updated as myopia progressively worsens.

Myopia Treatment

Myopia treatment lenses and glasses

  • Special lenses with unique optic designs that help to reduce the progression
  • Progressive lenses especially designed for children

Myopia control contact lenses

  • Specially designed soft multifocal/dual focal contact lenses that are worn during the day to help reduce the progression of myopia. Available in disposable contact lens types

Ortho-K or overnight contact lenses

  • Orthokeratology contacts (also known as ‘Ortho-K’ or ‘dream contacts’) are worn overnight, and have shown to slow down progressive myopia by gently correcting the shape of the eyeball while you sleep.
  • Click here to find out more information on Ortho-K

Pharmaceutical treatment

  • Once a day, low dose Atropine eye drops can be prescribed in conjunction with corrective glasses. Glare and sensitivity to sun can be side effects.

Myopia is managed via regular contact with your optometrist. Health Partners can provide all of these treatments so call us for more information or to make an appointment.

1Holden B; Fricke T; Wilson D; Jong M; Naidoo K; Sankaridurg P; Wong T; Naduvilath T; Resnikoff S. Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. American Academy of Ophthalmology 2016

2Brien A. Holden, Timothy R. Fricke, David A. Wilson, Monica Jong, Kovin S. Naidoo, Padmaja Sankaridurg, Tien Y. Wong, Thomas J. Naduvilath, Serge Resnikoff. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology, 2016; DOI: HYPERLINK "http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.01.006

3Lim LT, Gong Y, Ah-Kee EY, Xiao G, Zhang X. Impact of parental history of myopia on the development of myopia in mainland China school-aged children. Opthalmology and Eye Disease. 2014; 6:31-5 NOTE: from Child Myopia brochure p3

4Time spent in outdoor activities in relation to myopia prevention and control: a meta‐analysis and systematic review
Shuyu Xiong, 1 , 2 Padmaja Sankaridurg, 3 , 4 Thomas Naduvilath, 3 Jiajie Zang, 5 Haidong Zou, 1 , 2 Jianfeng Zhu, 1 Minzhi Lv, 1 Xiangui He,corresponding author 1 , 6 and Xun Xu 1 , 2

Posted: May 25 2022

Disclaimer

The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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