Short-sightedness, also known as myopia, is on the rise. Many people are referring to it as a worldwide epidemic, with projected figures showing that up to 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050, including almost 10% that will have high myopia.
Why Are So Many People Myopic?
Part of the reason myopia is increasing is that it runs in families; there are more than 40 genes linked to the condition. Children are particularly at risk of developing it if one or both of their parents are myopic.
Then, there are lifestyle factors. People are spending more and more time than ever before indoors, looking at screens. By spending a lot of time focusing on close-up objects, your eyes don’t get the exercise they need and become less accustomed to adapting to focussing at different distances. When looking at a screen we also tend to focus too intently, forgetting to take regular breaks or even blink.
The Risks of Myopia
Short-sightedness tends to get worse over time if it is left untreated.
If myopia is left to develop, even with a glasses prescription, a child may develop a need for a very high prescription as they grow older.
People with high myopia are also at a higher risk of developing sight-threatening diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, myopic macular degeneration and retinal tears that may result in retinal detachment.
Contact Lenses for Children Can Help
You may not think that contact lenses are suitable for children, but we find that most kids adapt to wearing lenses very quickly.
We can prescribe specially designed myopia management contact lenses that can slow or even reverse the progression of short sightedness. We have two different types of lenses that can help with myopia – Ortho-k, which are worn overnight, and MiSight®, which are worn during the day.
Ortho K Lenses
Orthokeratology lenses are designed to be worn while sleeping at night. While your child’s eyes are closed, these custom-made hard lenses work to gently change the shape of their corneas, correcting short-sightedness. More importantly, studies have shown that these lenses can slow down the progression of myopia by up to 56%, compared to children who wear regular glasses.
The great advantage of Ortho K lenses is that once children take them out when they wake up, they can then enjoy crystal clear vision so they’re free to learn and play throughout the day without the burden of wearing glasses or regular contact lenses. These lenses are also very safe for children to wear, as they are only inserted and removed under parental supervision at home.
Misight® Contact Lenses
MiSight® lenses are soft 1-day disposable lenses that are worn during the day to correct short sightedness and are clinically proven to slow myopia progression by up to 59%.
Most children are happy to wear contact lenses and manage them alone, with statistics showing that 90% of children prefer wearing MiSight® contact lenses to glasses. Contact lenses can offer kids much more freedom than glasses, with better peripheral vision and no worries about breakage when playing.
Hoya MiYOSMART Spectacle Lenses
We also now have the new Hoya MiYOSMART spectacle lenses, which along with Ortho K and Misight, are clinically proven to help slow down the rate of myopia progression by 50%-60% in children. This non-invasive myopia management method also has the added benefits of offering an easy-to-wipe special anti-reflective, durable lens coating. With young children getting the added assurance of glasses lenses that offer impact resistance and UV protection.
Find Out More
Research today shows that if a patient that currently has a high myopic prescription like –6.00 had access to the myopia management options we offer today when they first developed myopia as a child, they would now have a prescription of approximately -2.50 or –3.00 – significantly better than -6.00!
With this in mind, if you’d like to find out more about myopia management contact lenses or our new MiYOSMART spectacle lenses, please contact us at our opticians in Clifton and we’ll be happy to tell you more or book your child in for a consultation.