What is myopia & what causes it?
Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is a very common eye condition that causes distant objects to appear blurred, while close objects can be seen clearly. Levels of short-sightedness can vary from only requiring glasses for certain long distance tasks, such as driving, to more severe cases where glasses (or contact lenses) need to be worn at all times.
Short-sightedness usually occurs when the eyes grow slightly too long. This means that light doesn't focus on the light-sensitive tissue (retina) at the back of the eye properly. Instead, the light rays focus just in front of the retina, resulting in distant objects appearing blurred. This is demonstrated in the image below:
It's not clear exactly why this happens, but it often runs in families and has been linked to focusing on nearby objects, such as books and computers, for long periods during childhood. Ensuring your child regularly spends time playing outside may help to reduce their risk of becoming short-sighted.
Why does myopia need to be controlled?
The myopic population is growing rapidly, with more than 2.7 billion people estimated to have myopia in 2030. By 2050, it is estimated that half the global population will be myopic. This is a growing trend with a change to our lifestyles as more time is spent on near activities such as use of digital devices, desk work and reading.
This is significant due to the increased risk of certain eye conditions such as glaucoma, retinal detachments and myopic maculopathy associated with myopia. The higher the level of myopia the higher the risk of developing these conditions.
There is also a growing prevalence of myopia in children. The younger myopia develops the more likely the individual will reach a higher level of myopia in adult life.
The aim of myopia control is to reduce the progression of myopia, which can occur more rapidly from late childhood into the teenage years. Any reduction in the potential prescription can reduce the risk of eye conditions in the future.
How do we control myopia?
Due to the increasing prevalence of myopia there are a number of options available to help manage the progression of myopia, and ongoing research for future options.
1) Spend more time outdoors.
Research has found that spending time playing outside as a child may reduce your chances of becoming short-sighted, and existing short-sightedness may progress less quickly. This may be related to light levels outdoors being much brighter than indoors. Both sport and relaxation outdoors appear to be beneficial in reducing the risk of short-sightedness. It is recommended to spend 2 hours outdoors daily.
2) Take breaks from excessive close work.
Spending a lot of time focusing your eyes on nearby objects, such as reading, writing and possibly using hand-held devices (phones and tablets) and computers can also increase your risk of developing short-sightedness. An "everything in moderation" approach is therefore generally recommended. Although children should be encouraged to read, they should also spend some time away from reading and computer games each day doing outdoor activities.We recommend following the 30/30/OUT rule.
HOYA MiYOSMART spectacle lenses:
HOYA MiYOSMART lenses use cutting edge D.I.M.S (Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segment) technology to help manage the development of myopia or short-sightedness. They are clinically proven to be an effective solution to slow down the progression of myopia by an average of 60% compared to normal single vision lenses. They are as easy to wear as any pair of glasses!
Read more here.
Coopervision MiSight® 1 day contact lenses:
MiSight® 1 day with ActiveControl® Technology not only correct short-sightedness—they’re also the first soft contact lenses proven to significantly reduce the progression of myopia in children by 59%. When wearing MiSight® 1 day contact lenses, your child can experience clear vision, freedom from glasses and continue to enjoy the activities they love.
Read more here.