What is myopia?
Myopia is blurred distance vision, or nearsightedness. It is a common condition that tends to begin in childhood or teenage years. It occurs when the eyes grow too quickly, or continue to grow after age 10-12 years when eye growth should normally stop. This causes the eyeball to be longer than normal and images to be focused in front of the retina.
What does my child see?
A child with myopia tends to see blurred images when looking far away. This can make distance tasks such as seeing the board at school, playing sports, watching TV and driving more difficult.
Why does my child have myopia?
There are many factors that can lead to myopia. Current research suggests that myopia is largely associated with environmental or behavioral factors such as reduced time outdoors and increased near work. Family history of myopia can also increase the likelihood of developing myopia.
Do near electronic devices cause myopia?
There have not yet been any trials looking specifically at the effect of near electronic devices on myopia. However, we do know that increased amounts of near work, and reduced time outdoors is associated with myopia.
Does myopia get worse?
When children develop myopia, the myopia tends to increase over time until their mid to late teens. This increase in myopia can eventually become high myopia, which is when the myopia reaches a prescription of -5.00 D or worse. When the myopia reaches this level, the risk of developing potentially sight-threatening complications increases exponentially. The sight-threatening complications include but are not limited to:
- Retinal detachment – an eye emergency where the retina detaches from the eyeball, causing loss of vision at the area of detachment
- Myopic macular degeneration – degeneration of the area of the retina which is responsible for sharp vision
- Glaucoma – degeneration of the optic nerve which can lead to permanent loss of peripheral vision
- Cataract – the lens in the eye becomes cloudy requiring surgical removal to correct vision.
It’s important to note that these complications occur later in life, usually in the 40s or later and they can often be treated. Some of these conditions can lead to permanent vision loss.
Why is higher myopia a problem?
When children develop myopia, the myopia tends to increase over time until their mid to late teens. This increase in myopia can eventually become high myopia, which is when the myopia reaches a prescription of -5.00 D or worse. When the myopia reaches this level, the eye is too long and stretched, and the risk of developing potentially sight-threatening complications increases exponentially.
What can be done about it?
New research has shown that we can slow the increase in myopia in children safely and effectively using specific treatment options.
Our doctors have trained specifically to use some or all of the following myopia management treatment options:
- MiyoSmart myopia control spectacle lenses
- MiSight 1 Day myopia control soft contact lenses
- Naturalvue Multifocal 1 Day for myopia management
- orthokeratology lenses (rigid gas permeable lenses worn overnight to reshape the eye)
- low-dose atropine
These treatments will not stop the myopia from increasing (as the eye of a child still needs to grow naturally) but will slow the rate of increase in myopia. The average effect of treatment has been shown to be 40 to 50% in many studies, however some children will progress more or less than this. It is also possible that the strategy used in your child’s eyes will not slow the rate of progression.
Slowing myopia is important as high levels of myopia can increase the risk of sight-threatening complications in future. Preventing higher myopia will also mean that your child will not have to wear thick spectacle lenses, which can be heavier and less cosmetically appealing.
Myopia Management Examination
Aurora Family Eyecare is committed to providing myopia management at the highest level. Our doctors are trained in specific treatment options and are up-to-date with the latest developments in myopia management.
Our myopia management examination includes testing that is above and beyond the standard testing performed at a routine eye examination. These tests allow our doctors to determine the best treatment option for your child and accurately track myopia progression and effectiveness of treatment.
- cycloplegic refraction
- axial length measurement
- corneal topography
Upon completion of the myopia management examination, our doctors can identify your child’s risk of myopia progression and whether or not treatment is required. We can then work with you and your child to create the myopia management option that works best for your child’s needs and lifestyle.