Myopia has always been a widely discussed topic in optometry and is becoming ever more important as myopia is becoming a global epidemic, with predictions that by 2050 4 billion people across the world will be myopic. Whilst myopia itself is becoming a more prevalent issue, it is the lifetime risks of other eye conditions that are associated with being short-sighted that are also a huge concern.
Myopia, or short sightedness usually occurs when the eyeball grows slightly too long, causing light to focus in front of the retina making distant objects appearing blurred. Myopia is usually a genetic trait, if one parent is short-sighted there is a 1 in 3 chance your child will be, this increased to 50% if both parents are. Environmental factors such as near work activities such as reading, computer use and video games and spending less time outdoors are thought to be possible causes of the increase in myopia.
Until recently there hasn’t been a product available specifically designed for managing the progression of myopia, other than standard single vision lenses to correct the vision. In 2018 Coopervision launched the MiSight 1 day daily disposable contact lenses designed to help slow the progression of Myopia. This soft contact lens has been designed to create myopic defocus using multifocal rings throughout the lens. This special design helps to slow the progression of myopia by tricking the eye into thinking it is already too big, thus slowing the growth of the eye. The soft, daily contact lens offers children an easy method of correction, that are easy to adapt to and comfortable to wear. The range of prescriptions available allow for changes in prescription which can be altered accordingly at regular aftercare appointments.
Last month a new lens product was released after years of research and trials, and finally we have a spectacle lens designed to target and slow myopia! This lens works in a similar way to the soft contact lenses by creating myopic defocus, however this lens has lots of very small plus lenses 1mm apart creating a peripheral retinal defocus. The Hoya MiYOSMART has been designed to look like a standard single vision lens, so to the wearer it doesn’t cosmetically look any different and is made from polycarbonate to withstand the daily activities of children. After a 2-year clinical trial, patients who wore the lenses for this period have shown a reduction of 60% in the progression of myopia.
The combination of these lenses provides a solution that enables us to prescribe a visual correction to be worn all day providing long term outcomes, great vision, and flexibility across all daily activities!
There are a few signs to look for if you have any concerns that your child may be short-sighted. These generally include sitting too close to the TV, needing to sit towards the front of the class to see the board, headaches, and tired eyes, and rubbing the eyes. Eye examinations for children under 16, or under19 and in full time education are funded by the NHS and it is advised they are seen once a year.
For more information about our myopia management products or children’s eye examinations, contact us today and speak to a member of our team.