Myopia surfaces in young children and, if left untreated, rapidly worsens before stabilising of its own accord at around the age of twenty when the eye stops growing. Hence, the time to treat it effectively is now – or better still, immediately after diagnosis. Find out more about what can be done to tackle the growing problem of childhood myopia.
NO CURE, ONLY CONTROL
There is no cure for myopia: fact. However, one of the best ways to prevent myopia or slow down its progression in your child is to ensure that he or she practises good eye care habits. This includes ensuring that near work is held further away from the eyes, and that your child takes frequent breaks to rest their eyes.
Outdoor activity should also be encouraged, since it is has been proven that spending 14 hours or more a week outdoors is significantly effective in reducing myopia progression. While we do not know exactly how playing outdoors works in controlling myopia progression, many studies are under way to test various theories. It is possible that extra Vitamin D production, which is catalysed by sunlight, plays a part. Exposure to bright light also releases chemicals in the retina such as dopamine, which can control growth. It is also thought that playing outdoors gives rise to visual opportunities for far distance vision.
One thing we do know for sure is that myopia is significantly more prevalent in Chinese children than in children of other races. This appears to be linked to the massive pressure on Asian children to succeed in school, which leads to many hours hunched over books indoors. It also supports the belief that outdoor activity reduces myopia progression – and that, conversely, too much close work indoors promotes it. As a parent, you can ease the pressure on your child to study relentlessly. Encourage them to have regular study breaks, during which they should simply go outside and play!
EFFECTIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS
Most parents’ usual course of action when their child is diagnosed with myopia is to get spectacles. While spectacles fulfil the immediate need of correcting your child’s vision, most do not serve the longer-term purpose of slowing down the progression of your child’s myopia. In fact, wearing under-corrected spectacles can actually speed up the progression of myopia. Hence, it is of utmost importance to get your child’s eyes checked regularly.
The exception to the rule are Myopilux® lenses. Developed over 10 years by French ophthalmic lens manufacturer Essilor, Myopilux® lenses have been delivering very promising results around the world. In a 2-year study amongst 87 children aged between 7 and 13, it was found that Myopilux® lenses slowed down myopia progression by up to 62%.
Glasses fitted with Myopilux® lenses address the need to correct and manage myopia, by concurrently correcting far vision and reducing strain for near vision. They are superior to single vision lenses, which only correct far vision without reducing the strain on near vision. Wearers enjoy the smooth transition of vision from their distance to near vision without their vision being obstructed by the distinct line in bifocal lenses.
Another method of treatment that has been used for several years to treat myopia in adults and children is Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K. Orthokeratology requires the patient to wear specially designed contact lenses overnight. The lenses gently reshape the soft tissue of the cornea so that vision is improved upon waking, often eliminating the need to wear spectacles or contact lenses altogether. While vision improvement should start after a night of wear, some patients may notice it within a few hours.
Optometrists have noticed that their younger patients in particular have benefited greatly from Orthokeratology in terms of slowing down myopia progression. However, young patients need to practise good hygiene with Orthokeratology to avoid discomfort and possible infection.
CLARIFY YOUR OPTIONS
Before committing to a treatment plan, it is important that your child is examined and evaluated by a qualified optometrist with specialised training in childhood myopia. Visit the Myopia Control Centre at W Optics for a deeper understanding of the treatment options available to your child today.
Give your child a brighter future. The window of opportunity to control the progression of childhood myopia is closing as you read…
Visit https://www.essilor.com.sg/w-optics to find out more about childhood myoia treatment options.
With thanks to Soh Wei Zhi, Education and Professional Services, Essilor Singapore
Disclaimer: Myopilux lenses and Orthokeratology may not be able to address individuals’ conditions due to natural deficiencies, illnesses, pre-existing medical conditions and/or advanced age of consumers. The information contained herein is general information and is not and not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult an eye care professional at W Optics for more information prior to the use of Myopilux or Orthokeratology.