Myopia or short-sightedness causes blurred vision in the distance because light focuses in front of, instead of on the retina. It usually develops in childhood, increases during the teenage years and stabilises around twenty years of age. Parental heredity (>-5 dioptres), ethnicity, environmental factors and long periods of close work during the formative years have all been linked to the onset and progression of myopia. Myopia is inexorably increasing worldwide, in fact there is a myopia boom. This trend is most noticeable in East Asia where 90% of Chinese under 30 years of age are myopic. Prevalence doubled during the twentieth century in Europe, and in Australia it has doubled over the last twenty years. This has serious implications as short sight is directly implicated in the onset of a number of serious eye problems in later life such as cataract, glaucoma, macula degeneration, and retinal detachment. As myopia increases, the risk of developing these conditions correspondingly increases.
Extensive research has been done to try and find ways to stop or at least slow down the progression. Unfortunately, no cure has been found, and although most children who develop myopia stabilise around twenty years of age (when growth stabilises), no way has been found to completely stop the development of short sightedness. On the other hand, successes have been achieved in slowing down the rate of progression. In most cases, the end result is a less myopic prescription with an attendant reduction in the risk of ocular pathology in later life. The earlier treatment is started the better.
With this in mind, we offer the following proven methods of controlling myopia:
- MiSight ® 1 Day specialist daily disposable contact lenses are one of a new generation of contact lenses specifically developed and designed for this purpose and have the best scientific evidence of success.
- Naturalvue MF and Mylo soft contact lenses are also specifically used for this purpose.
- MiYOSMART spectacle lenses use defocused multiple segments technology which has been shown to reduce myopia progression by an average of 60%.
- Essilor®Stellest spectacle lenses use a central single vision zone of aspherical lenslets which creates a volume of signal into the eye that acts as a shield against eye elongation and therefore myopia progression. Studies show that these lenses slow down progression by 67% on average.
- Daily wear of multifocal soft contact lenses have also been shown to reduce the rate of myopia progression but to a lesser extent.
There is one thing parents can do straight away to help their child: in this age of computers, children should be encouraged to spend more time outdoors. Research has conclusive shown increasing outdoor time slows myopia progression. Increased light intensity constricts the pupil, which increases the depth of focus and release of dopamine, which inhibits axial elongation which causes myopia. A minimum of two hours per day outdoors is suggested as a guideline.
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