Let’s talk about short-sightedness (myopia).
Myopia tends to develop between the age of 8-13 years old, usually with a child complaining that they cannot see the board clearly at school. Historically this means glasses to use at school and often these will need to be made stronger and stronger as the child grows into an adult. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have recognised that globally myopia is increasing at an alarming rate. The proportion of young people with myopia in the UK has more than doubled since 1970 and children are becoming myopic at a younger age.
Why is this happening?
It is thought that certain factors of our modern lifestyle are contributing to this. Namely low levels of outdoor activity, prolonged near tasks such as reading or screen use, and poor lighting levels. Family history also plays a part with myopia being more prevalent in children where one or both parents are myopic.
Why is this a problem?
Apart from needing to wear glasses and/or contact lenses all the time, myopia unfortunately also raises the risk of some sight threatening conditions, for example retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataract. The WHO have declared this is a public health concern and as a result research has been conducted to find ways in which to slow the progression of myopia in children to try and prevent this risk of future sight loss.
What can be done?
Myopia management is a fast-developing area and offers an alternative option for children with myopia who are already wearing glasses and involves the use of specially designed contact lenses to try and slow down the progression of myopia and therefore reduce the risk of sight loss later in life. These contact lenses differ from regular contact lenses in that they have different zones of focus which can reduce the stimulus for the eye to become more elongated and therefore more myopic.
I have recently completed the training to fit these lenses and am already seeing positive outcomes for children who are short-sighted. If you would like to know more, please just get in touch 01792 930665.