As optometrists who focus on children’s vision, we often see parents who are concerned about their child becoming short-sighted.
Myopia presents with blurry distance vision, but generally gives clear vision at near. In high myopia, even near vision is affected as objects must be extremely close for the eyes to see clearly and the patients cannot read without their glasses prescribed for distance. Parents and teachers will often be able to detect myopia in a child by simply noticing how the child is looking into the distance. Squinting or “screwing up the eyes” is a common behaviour, as well as the preference for bringing iPads and books closer or moving closer to the TV and computers.
Parents are usually concerned about myopia because this usually means your child needs to start wearing glasses pretty much all the time to see clearly in the distance. Although this can understandably be distressing news, as optometrists we are more concerned about the risk factors associated with high myopia. We don’t want to see children develop myopia because we know that patients with greater than -5 dioptres (that’s the number in your glasses) are at increased risk of developing retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma and blindness. The younger they are when they first develop myopia, the higher the chance they will have high myopia.
Signs to Look for – Find the Problem
- Is your child wearing glasses for distance?
- Do you have a family history of myopia?
- Could contact lenses be an option?
- Do you know how to slow down myopia progression?
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How We Can Help
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Our Action Plan for Your Child
If your child has been diagnosed as short-sighted or myopic, it’s natural to be concerned. As a parent, you would want to understand how you can correct their eyesight for clear vision, and how you can slow or halt the myopia to prevent future issues.
- Myopia Control is about understanding your options to slow down the progression of myopia.
- We will take the time to explain the risk factors contributing the prescription becoming worse. This includes family history, how much time is spent doing near activities compared with outdoor activities.
- We know from studies that excessive convergence and poor eye focusing as been linked to myopia as risk factors. Extra care is taken to measure these risk factors.
- We will discuss the treatment optionsavailable to slow down progression and this includes, ortho-k, bifocal lenses, multifocal contact lenses and atropine eyedrops. We know that normal glasses are the least effective way to slow down progression.
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