In Singapore, where the incidence of myopia is high, it’s probably more a matter of WHEN, rather than IF your child, needs a pair of glasses.
But did you know that this so-called “WHEN” can actually be delayed?
According to SingHealth, 1 in 2 children will have myopia by the age of 12. Sometimes, even pre-schoolers can be seen wearing thick glasses, testament of fact that Singapore has one of the highest myopia rates in the world.
To fight this worrying trend, parents need to take steps to prevent your child from getting myopia at an early age or at least delay it from getting worse. Afterall, myopia – especially high myopia – poses a serious risk of developing various sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, such as retinal degeneration and glaucoma.
Early signs of myopia
Myopia, or short-/near-sightedness, is a condition when the eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature. This causes light rays entering the eye to focus in front of – instead of on – the retina, resulting in blurry vision.
When your child starts rubbing his eyes or squinting frequently, or has difficulty differentiating certain alphabets and numbers, that is the time to suspect the onset of myopia.
But before you make a beeline for the optician to get your child a pair of corrective lenses, do explore the options for myopia management first. While myopia can’t be reversed, a change in habits and the right method in myopia management can play a part in slowing down myopia progression.
5 suggested changes to make for the sake of children’s eyesight
1. Increase outdoor activity participation
A little playtime in the sun can always do a child a lot of good. And now, clinical trials mentioned in this article even suggest that outdoor activity can lower the risk of myopia onset.
Though the current COVID-19 situation may deter Singaporeans from visiting crowded places, there are still many opportunities for families to enjoy wholesome fun outdoors. For example, the coming school holidays offers a good excuse to revisit Sentosa, especially when entry to the island is free for everyone (valid from 14 to 22 March 2020). Or make time to exercise regularly with your child, whether to ride a bicycle at your neighbourhood park or walk your pet.
2. Relook your child’s bedroom layout
Does your child like to lie down in bed to read? Such a reading position forces the eye to focus upwards and, over time, will tend to cause eye strain. So why not encourage your child to sit up and read instead? A new comfy personal armchair may do the trick! Furthermore, other changes such as decluttering the bedroom, shifting the writing desk nearer to the window or investing in a good LED desk lamp can improve the lighting in the room and make it more conducive for reading or doing homework.
3. Limit screen time and take frequent breaks Just as your children’s minds need a break from studying, their eyes need to take time-off from all those digital screens too. Concentrating on a computer, mobile phone or TV screen for too long will cause dry/irritated eyes and blurry vision. Therefore, it is vital to teach children good eye habits by taking frequent breaks away from small screens and other near-work activities to reduce the likelihood and progression of myopia.
4. Don’t neglect regular eye checks
Ensuring that your child gets an eye check once a year allows you to manage any changes in his vision or risk of myopia. With early detection, myopia management measures can then be put in place to help slow down its progression.
5. Choose myopia management method instead of myopia correction method Traditionally, the optical store would be the first option when any issues arise with your children’s eyesight – just get their eyesight checked and then fit them with a pair of spectacles to correct their vision.
But thanks to today’s advanced technologies, parents can choose from different myopia management methods such as eye drops, contact lenses and spectacle lenses that not just help in correcting vision, but also aid in managing myopia progression.
Just late last year, leading optical products manufacturer Hoya Lens Singapore launched MiYOSMART with Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segments (D.I.M.S.) technology, a non-invasive type of ophthalmic lens that can significantly reduce myopia progression compared to single-vision lenses.
MiYOSMART is a single vision corrective lens with a convex surface that is comprised of hundreds of small segments, each providing myopic defocus. This lens structure makes it possible to simultaneously retard the growth of the eyeball and provide clear vision.
In simple terms, this edge-cutting technology is about controlling eye growth and projecting images on and in front of the retina at the same time to create myopic defocus inside the eyes. Clinical trials have shown that children wearing D.I.M.S. lenses had an average slowdown of myopic progression by 60%¹ compared to those wearing single-vision lenses.
>> Benefits of MiYOSMART
Incorporating D.I.M.S. technology, MiYOSMART is clinically proven to be effective in curbing myopia progression on average by 59%², and to slow axial eye growth by an average of 60%².
Unlike the other myopia managements method (eye drops & contact lens), MiYOSMART is non-invasive. It removes the need for direct contact with the eyeball and eliminates the possibility of contaminations or infections.
Wearing MiYOSMART is similar to wearing any other pair of spectacles. Using polycarbonate materials makes it not only thin and light, but also impact-resistant, durable and safe for active kids.
Low maintenance multi-coating that is easy to wipe and maintain is also added to MiYOSMART, making wearing spectacles less of a hassle.
It is the latest, unique and innovative solution for myopia management.
As part of the Hoya myopia management programme, a complimentary pair of single-vision lenses will be provided with every pair of MiYOSMART lenses purchased. This is because Hoya understands the pains and anxieties of having spectacles being misplaced, damaged or lost during the fun of school holidays. This single-vision lenses will be a handy back-up, relieving all the inconvenience that may occur.
As an optical industry expert, who understands this issue better than Hoya?
¹Myopia progression (SER) by 59% and axial elongation (AL) decreased by 60% compared with those wearing SV lenses. Lam CSY, Tang WC, Tse DY, Lee RPK, Chun RKM, Hasegawa K, Qi H, Hatanaka T, To CH. Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segments (DIMS) spectacle lenses slow myopia progression: a 2-year randomised clinical trial. British Journal of Ophthalmology. Published Online First: 29 May 2019. ²Lam CSY, Tang WC, Lee RPK, Chun RKM, To CH. A randomized clinical trial for myopia control – use of myopic defocus spectacle lens. 8th International Congress of Behavioral Optometry (ICBO), 26-29 of April 2018. Sydney, Australia.