Can we prevent myopia in children? Or, can we limit its progression? The answer is: yes, we can reduce the incidence of myopia in children. Nowadays, in fact, there are products that help reduce the progression of myopia.
The importance of early intervention
Myopia or near-sightedness is a common defect in the vision where the person can see the near objects clearly, whereas distant objects become blurry. It usually occurs from 6 to 16 years when children have started their schooling, and keeps increasing especially during those years.
It is important to note that myopia develops and increases especially during childhood. Conversely, during adulthood it remains stable. It is uncommon, albeit not rare, for adults to develop myopia later in life.
Certainly, the early years are crucial to prevent myopia and to control its growth. Consequently, they are also the key period during which we can do something about it. The years between 6 and 16 can be considered the gold time to do something about myopia for our children.
In this post, we present some products that are available for myopia prevention and control in children.
The risks of high myopia
Usually, if myopia is very light, people might consider it just a minor nuisance. In fact, it can be corrected just by wearing glasses. And if it’s very mild, a person might need to wear glasses only occasionally. But in some cases, myopia progresses to become “high myopia“. That is when a person has very high level of near-sightedness.
If a person develops high myopia, the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life increases exponentially. And even if myopia is treated with corrective surgery, this person will still be subject to the same risks.
Severe myopia does not lead to vision loss on its own. However, people with high myopia have a much greater risk of developing vision-threatening problems, including:
- retinal tear and retinal detachment
- macular degeneration
The higher the myopia is, the greater the risk of having any of these problems during adulthood and later in life. Obviously, to prevent myopia, or to reduce its incidence, should be a primary objective in eyecare for children.
Development of Myopia
With myopia, instead of focusing on the retina, the light entering the eye creates a picture in front of the retina. In this condition, the eyeball of the kids has already grown too long.
The underlying biological cause of myopia is unknown. However, genetics and lifestyle are important factors. In particular environmental factors such as sustained near-work, staring at computer monitors and smartphones, are one of the causes of myopia progression.
Looking for hours at a computer screen or reading, the light entering the eye will focus behind the retina. And this is a stimulus for the eyeball to grow longer, making myopia worsen.
As the eyeball grows longer, we cannot reverse this process. However, we can slow down the process of myopia development by being vigilant, recognizing some signs in our children, and providing them with myopia-control lenses.
Symptoms of myopia
- Headache: It can be one of the most common symptoms of myopia. The child feels tired, dizzy, and cannot focus on his studies.
- Sitting very close to objects: When a child sits closely to books, television, or videogame, it is an indication that your child cannot see the distant objects.
- Frequent rubbing of eyes: When your child wipes your eyes, it means there is a problem in seeing although the child may not realize it quickly, these symptoms can help trace the problem.
- Squinting eye to see distant objects: If the direction of the kid’s eyeballs changes to locate a foreign object, it means that something is wrong.
- Eye strain: The stress on eye muscles can cause eye strain, actually calling for a doctor’s appointment.
How to prevent myopia: treatment and control
In these modern times, much can be done to prevent myopia, and to reduce the incidence of high myopia. If we can diagnose myopia early and treat it, we can slow down its progression.
The result of a myopia-control program, when it is started early, is an adult with less severe myopia, less chances of serious eye diseases, and healthier eyesight. A first line of defence is to control behaviour and lifestyle.
- Try reducing your child’s time on computer screens
- Make your child takes little breaks during academic work
- Increase the time outside to relieve the kid’s eyes from eye strain.
- Never encourage your child to study in dim or low light.
- Schedule eye examinations regularly.
Apart from these adjustment in the lifestyle, some long-term treatments are effective in the treatment of myopia in children.
- Spectacle lenses: As of today, this is one of the most common techniques to treat myopia. Special lenses reduce the stimulus of the eyeball to grow longer. As we know, it is indeed the growth of the eyeball in its length that makes myopia increase. This treatment is suitable for most children. The advantages of myopia-control spectacle lenses are that they are very easy to adapt to, it is not invasive, and it does not have risks or side effects.
- Contact lens: Similarly to spectacle lenses, there are special types of contact lenses that can reduce the growth of the eyeball, and therefore reduce the progression of myopia. This treatment is suitable for the children that are involved in sports and outdoor activities.
ZEISS MyoVision spectacle lenses
ZEISS MyoVision spectacle lenses are effective in reducing myopia progression in children. They are easy to wear and to handle. And it is very easy for children to adapt to them. This is important, because if the child is willing to use these spectacles, the success rate of these lenses also increases.
These lenses help focus your child’s image on the retina rather than behind it. Therefore, they reduce the tendency of your child’s eyes to increase in length. This technology is a blessing for the children who already have myopia. The lens perifery has the function to control myopia, while the area in the centre of the lens guarantees a clear image.
CooperVision MiSight contact lenses
Kids should have an active life where they play, study, and spend time with the family. Vision defects like myopia can hinder their growth and disturb their activities. With this in mind, CooperVision MiSight contact lenses for myopia-control are very suitable for children with a very active lifestyle.
Some parents might have concerns about children wearing contact lenses. Hygiene and compliance are very important, and not all children are suitable for this product.
However, with the proper education, children can be very responsible and handle contact lenses with proper care. As a matter of fact, studies show that children are more compliant than adults in contact lens care.
MiSight contact lenses are the first soft contact lenses to significantly reduce the progression of myopia in children. In 2019, MiSight became the first and only FDA-approved contact lenses for slowing the progression of myopia in children. They are child-friendly, soft contact lenses that are easy-to-use. They are convenient daily disposable contact lenses, hence there is no need to clean or store them.
Our role as parents to prevent myopia in our children
As parents, we worry about the visual health of our children. Myopia, and even more so high myopia, is related to many eye problems later in life. And some of these issues will have sight-threatening complications. Therefore, we believe that the good vision of our children and the control and prevention of myopia need to be at the heart of their development.
In the year 2020 the Covid pandemic hit, resulting in the shutdown of schools and the education shifted to virtual mode. Our children faced even more vision issues due to increased screen time and less time outside. Near work, and lack of outdoor time, are key elements in the acceleration of myopia.
Luckily, times have changed. With increased awareness, and with more tools in our hands, we are able to do something to prevent myopia in our children.
Conclusion: Start today to control and prevent myopia in your children!
At Visio Optical, we are dedicated to ensuring that parents have both the awareness of and access to myopia-control products to protect their children’s vision as they grow into adults.
To prevent myopia with myopia-control was an atypical area in eyecare for children, even in the recent past. Since recent advancements in the science of myopia, in the development of technologies for its control, and in the increased awareness in parents, it is now mainstream.
If you have concerns about your child’s myopia, and you are interested in myopia-control programs, contact us. Our teem of qualified optometrists will be glad to assist you.