It was not that long ago that when a child came into our clinic, and was not able to see the board clearly at school, we simply told the parent that we could only be passive observers and that changes would likely continue until full maturity was reached, and the eye stopped growing. (about 18 to 20 years old).
With advances in research, we now have a better understanding about myopia, and how to slow down, or in some cases, stop changes from causing worsening of a child’s vision.
WHAT IS MYOPIA?
Myopia (nearsightedness) is a vision defect where the patient is able to see objects close to them, but distance objects appear out of focus. This happens when the eye is too long in length, and typically keeps expanding until physical growth stops.
PREVENTION AND LIFESTYLE
Parents often ask if myopia can be avoided in their children. To answer that question, we often ask the parent if their child is more of a homebody, or does the child spend a large part of the day outside. The key to prevention in this case is the sun……. quite literally. According to many sources, but summarized in the Journal of Eye Diseases and Disorders, we present the following summary:
Children should be encouraged to engage in outdoor activities for at least 1-2 hours per day since significant protection could be achieved with about 40 to 80 minutes of outdoor activity in randomized intervention trials. Since repeated cycles of exposure to bright light offers higher protection against myopia onset frequent regular outdoor activities is recommended along with appropriate sun protection measures such as wearing a wide-brimmed hat, wrap-around sunglasses, sunscreen and adequate.
Once a child has become myopic, the influence of sunlight is much less a factor, if a factor at all. In our clinic we believe that any amount of myopia is too much. Not because the child does not see clearly, but because of the increased risk of eye disease with increasing myopia.
We pride ourselves on the number of children who we have successfully implemented a plan to control their progressing myopia.
There are three main approaches in controlling myopic changes in children
PERIPHERAL-DEFOCUS EYEGLASS LENSES
CONTACT LENSES THAT CORRECT FOR HYPEROPIC DEFOCUS (OVERNIGHT OR SOFT MULTIFOCAL
We would like to emphasize that controlling myopia goes far beyond buying a pair of contact lenses or glasses. It is a carefully selected program, chosen for the myopic patient using the tools that are available to us to achieve our end goal of enhancing vision and preserving the health of the eye.
Children who are enrolled in the program are seen a minimum of every 3 months, and measurements of vision are taken, as well as monitoring the expansion of the eye by measuring the axial length of the eye with an advanced piece of equipment called a biometer. To evaluate the success of the myopia control program for any child, their myopia must be watched carefully, as well as monitoring any change in the length of the eye.
Remember that a child’s eye measures approximately 23 millimeters, and that a change of 1 millimeter is the equivalent of 3 diopters of increased myopia!
Need more information? We kindly refer you to an excellent, comprehensive website that is a great resource for parents and children, see myopiatoronto.com
Arrange an appointment for a myopia consultation
1243 Islington Ave. Suite 905