MYOPIA CONTROL FOR CHILDREN in BRISBANE
What is Myopia?
Myopia is an eye condition in which a person can not see distance objects clearly. This is due to light entering the front of the eye and focussing in front of the retina, therefore appearing blurred to the child. The prevalence of myopia is significantly rising throughout the world and considerable research is being conducted into what causes myopia and whether something can be done to prevent or slow it down once it has been diagnosed. It is estimated that by the year 2050, approximately 50% of the worlds population will be myopic.
At dean samarkovski OPTOMETRIST we offer Brisbane children and young adults comprehensive myopia consultations that provide thorough assessment and careful discussion of treatment options in reducing the rate of myopia progression that are based on current research, We are able to provide comprehensive advice on risk factors and strategies in minimising myopic progression for children of all ages. This is commonly referred to as myopia control.
What are the risk factors for becoming myopic?
What causes eyes to become myopic?
Although myopia development is not fully understood, many theories discuss genetics and environmental influences as being prominent in the cause of myopia. What has been found particularly is that children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to become myopic. Current research has also identified that the quality of vision on the peripheral (outer edges) retina regulates the elongation and growth of the eyeball. It has been found that if the image on the peripheral retina is behind the surface of the retina, the eye is stimulated to grow longer, increasing the degree of myopia. Therefore strategies to move the peripheral retinal image forwards, in front of the retinal surface, can reduce the elongation of the eye and thereby reduce the progression of myopia.
Should I be concerned if my child has myopia?
Myopia can simply be managed with regular glasses or contact lenses, however the presence of moderate to high myopia also increases the lifetime risks of sight threatening conditions compared to those who have normal vision. Therefore reducing the progression of myopia and the ultimate degree of myopia can significantly reduce the risks of these sight threatening conditions.
How we assess myopia
At dean samarkovski optometrist, we undertake a number of tests which not only measure how much myopia is present, but how efficient the eye muscles are in providing single and clear vision when reading or viewing in the distance. We look at family history and lifestyle factors that may influence the rate of myopic progression and use these to lead a discussion in appropriate myopia treatment options. We use a myopic calculator utilising the best in current research that predicts your childs future myopic amount which is dependant on your childs current age and level of prescription. We present various treatment options showing the potential benefit in taking certain steps in myopia treatment which can reduce the rate of myopic progression and ultimately the final myopic prescription as your child enters late teenage years.
Treatment options we offer at this practice for myopia
We offer a number of strategies to help reduce the progression of childhood myopia and limit the final extent of myopia present as your child ages. Treatment options range from spectacles, contact lenses, eye drops, eye exercises and lifestyle modifications.
Orthokeratology: Custom made rigid contact lenses are worn overnight reshaping the cornea to restore normal vision once more in the morning. These lenses act as a retainer, similar to braces used in dentistry, altering the corneal shape at a microscopic level. These retainer lenses provide accurate central vision, whilst the peripheral retinal image is moved in front of the retina, sending a signal to the eye to reduce ongoing elongation. Using OrthoK contact lenses has been shown to reduce myopia by about 55%.
MiSight contact lenses by Coopervision: The use of specific soft multifocal contact lenses can reduce the rate of myopia by up to 59%. These contact lenses maintain a clear image on the central retina, whilst moving the peripheral retinal image forwards in front of the retinal surface. With the peripehral retinal image in front of the retina, a signal is sent to the eye to reduce the elongation (growth) of the eye and therefore reducing the rate of myopic progression.
MyoVision spectacle lenses: The MyoVision spectacle lens is special single vision lens created by ZEISS. The lens is designed to moves the peripheral retinal image in front of the retina while maintaining the central image on the retina. Research suggests this lens sends a signal to the eye to reduce elongation of the eyeball and therefore reducing the degree of myopia. It has been shown this lens may reduce myopia progression by 17%-30.
Atropine eye drops: Atropine drops have been utlilised for many years in the effective prevention and reduction of myopic progression. Myopia progression can be reduced by 59% with Atropine drops, however they typically have side effects such as blurred near vision, and increased glare sensitivity making their popularity somewhat limited. Recently however, research has shown that the equivalent beneficial effects on reducing myopia, can still be made with Atropine in a low strength formula (100 times weaker), effectively removing the majority of the side effects associated with the full strength version, whilst still maintaining excellent myopia prevention. Low strength Atropine is usually dispensed as one drop nightly before bed and can only be made by special order through a compounding pharmacy.
Progressive / Bifocal lenses: Progressive lenss or bifocals have been shown to reduce the progression of myopia by about 29%. Children with a tendancy towards over converging (crossing) eyes or those that have poor focussing skills also have an increased risk of progressive myopia. By treating these children with visual exercises and progressive or bifocal glasses, the rate of myopic progression can also be reduced.
Lifestyle modications: Studies suggest that 14 hours spent outdoors per week appears to have a protective effect on the eye developing myopia. This means spending at least 2 hours per day performing outdoor activity can be beneficial for children in maintaining excellent distance vision. Swapping the ipad or TV for more outdoor play can have a positive impact on reducing myopia. It is important to remember good sunglasses are required for outdoor activiites to minimise the harmful effects of UV damage while outdoors.