Regular comprehensive eye exams for your child at all stages of their development is extremely important to ensure a child’s vision will develop as it should and to diagnose any eye conditions that may be affecting your child. There are many eye conditions, such as strabismus and amblyopia that can be corrected easily if caught early but can do irreversible damage that will affect a child into adulthood if left undiagnosed and untreated for too long. However, one of the leading causes of ocular disease in adults that continues to progress is myopia or nearsightedness.
Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
Squinting to see clearly
Headaches from eyestrain or eye fatigue to see objects far away
Difficultly seeing at night
MYOPIA is the clinical term for nearsightedness. Without correction, nearsighted eyes see nearby objects clearly, while distant objects are blurred. Myopia occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is too curved. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly, and distant objects look blurred. Just as feet grow larger and children grow taller, nearsighted eye tends to grow longer over time. This often results in nearsighted children requiring stronger glasses every year as their eyes continue to grow. Children who grow to be severe myopes are at much higher risk of developing serious eye conditions such as Retinal Detachment, Glaucoma, earlier Cataracts and more.
MYOPIA is developed over time, but extremely rare at birth. While the exact cause of myopia is unknown, there is significant evidence that myopic progression is influenced by genetics and life style choices. Since myopia progresses from lower to higher amounts, it is advantageous to limit the progression and lower the risk of eye diseases later in life.
While myopia for many years has been corrected through glasses or contact lenses, these methods do not reach the core problem of myopia and improve vision only by manipulating light through the eye. Myopia can still progress over time and require stronger prescriptions each year. However, a clinically researched and modern concept has developed called myopia management for children ages 8-12. Myopia management is oriented to slow down or stop the progression of myopia. Since over the past few decades, myopia has increased at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, the percentage of moderate to high myopia has grown in number and myopia control is becoming a major consideration for parents and their child’s eye health.
Levels of Myopia:
Mild myopia: -0.25 to -3.00 D
Moderate myopia: Between -3.00 to -6.00 D
High myopia: More than -6.00 D
One myopic parent – 3x greater risk for myopia development
Two myopic parents – 6x greater risk of myopia development & greater risk of progression to HIGH myopia
Time spent outdoors & Time spent on near work:
Less than 1.6 hours outdoors per day may increase myopia risk by 2-3x fold
More than 3 hours per day with the exception of school time, greater risk when co-factored with low time spent outdoors
Age of Onset
Younger (6-7 years) versus older (11 years) onset creates a 6.6x greater risk of progression to high myopia
Asian ethnicity may be linked to faster progression. Above mentioned risk factors are independent of ethnicity.
Less than +0.50D ages 6-7 years is a risk for myopia development.
The rate of progression of myopia has been linked to the development of cataracts. The higher the level of myopia in a child, the faster the rate cataracts can develop when they get older.
Glaucoma is when the eye develops an unusually high pressure, where this pressure can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss. Studies have shown that nearsighted people have a 2-3x greater risk at Glaucoma.
Levels of myopia also have a correlation to detached retinas. A detached retina is when the retina pulls away from the eyes tissue, often resulting in permanent vision loss.
Your child’s eyes are his/her gateway into the world of learning. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Children are not likely to recognize vision problems like myopia, and it is, therefore, the responsibility of parents and teachers to recognize signs of visual problems in their children.
MiSight lenses are worn during the day and removed at night. The lenses are used to slow the progression of myopia by creating a ring of increased power surrounding central vision that the eye interprets as a “stop signal” for further growth. Several clinical studies on MiSight lenses have been reported to slow myopia progression by 59 percent.
Eye drops that has been shown to slow myopia progression by 60 percent.
For more information, please visit: Myopia Prevention – Atropine
Also known as Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is a non-surgical vision correction alternative. The results are not permanent but for most patients will last all day. The CR contact lenses need to be worn as a “retainer” for limited periods of time (usually worn while sleeping) to maintain the effect. With treatment, there is up to a 50% reduction in the progression of myopia. (We do not fit Ortho-K)
For more information, please visit: The Safety of Orhtokeratology-A Systematic Review
Because changes in your child’s vision can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the eye doctor every year or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. Myopia management attempts to reduce the number of changes that may occur in your child’s vision. With a successful myopia management program, an eye doctor can provide your child with amazing vision, track your child’s rate of myopia, and provide a clear road to healthy eyesight and a successful future.