Are your children short-sighted?
> > >The modern epidemic of Myopia.
MYOPIA MANAGEMENT-THE WHAT > > >
Myopia, near-sightedness or short-sightedness, is characterised by blurred vision at far, and is normally caused by a longer than normal eyeball. This increase in length is very small, in thousands of millimetres or microns.
The eyeball normally grows in length as a child grows taller, and especially during puberty. But if it grows too long, then the eye cannot focus at the far distance.
There have always been myopic people, so why is it a problem now? Because of extended time spent at the near distance (since computers arrived), the eye has to work harder in order to maintain focus at near. This costs energy, so as an adaptation, the eye becomes more myopic so that it can now focus at near in a more economical way. But with increased myopia, the eye is at greater risk for diseases later in the long term.
[Research shows that every 1.00D increase in myopia increases lifetime risk of maculopathy by 67%. There is also a greater risk of cataract & retinal detachment].
It is estimated that half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.
And it’s not environmental factors alone; if one parent is myopic then the child is six times more likely to also be myopic. If both parents are, then the probability jumps to twelve times more likely.
Fortunately we have the means to manage the myopia. Myopia management can significantly slow down the progression of myopia during puberty, and in many cases stops it altogether. These methods are all safe and have other benefits too.
The success of any myopia management program depends on parents making sure their children are tested once a year regardless if they are myopic or not. And school screenings aren’t enough, they need a thorough exam at the optometrist’s rooms.
There are guidelines for screen & sunlight exposure which will be covered in the next article, as well as special contact lenses that are worn overnight (Ortho-K), which all yield excellent results.
Look out for the next article titled Myopia Management-The How.