Are you worried about your child’s short sightedness?

Are you worried about your child’s short sightedness?

As a short sighted parent are you worried what is the likely hood of your child becoming myopic?

As an Optometrist with a specific interest in paediatric eye care, I am regularly asked questions like the ones above. Decades of research has resulted ground breaking developments in slowing the progression of myopia in children and young adults.  We really do live in exciting times.

What is myopia?

Myopia is the medical term for short-sightedness, when the eyeball is too long or too powerful. The result is that light coming into the eye does not focus directly on the retina, but instead falls in front of it, causing objects in the distance to look blurred.

Myopia often worsens as the eye grows.

Why do we develop myopia?

1. Genetics – if one parent is myopic then a child is 3 x more likely to become myopic, if both parents are myopic then this increases to 6 x more likely.

2. A lot of close work i.e. reading, computers, phones, tablets are all contributing factors.

3. Lack of time spent outdoors.

Why do we need to control myopia?

Myopia generally gets worse over time.  This  not only affects your child’s ability to see it can also lead to a higher risk of serious eye diseases such as glaucoma, retinal detachment, cataract and bleeding blood vessels within the eye.

What is myopia control?

Extensive research has found that specialised contact lenses can be very effective in slowing the progression of myopia. Up to date research suggests it can slow myopic progression by 29-45%.  The contact lenses work by slowing the process of elongation of the eyeball, they cannot completely halt the progression, nor can they improve your child’s level of vision.

Are there risks to wearing the lenses?

The risk of wearing myopic control contact lenses are the same as any traditional contact lens.

Full instruction and information will be issued at the start of treatment to ensure proper cleaning and care of the lenses, if adhered to the potential risks of infections will be minimal.

How often will my child visit the Optometrists?

The initial appointment will assess your child’s suitability for the myopic control programme.  We will assess suitability for lens wear and ascertain the optimal lenses for your child.

They will then have a lens collection appointment at which they will see the Optometrist and also a clinical assistant who will take all the time needed to ensure your child can handle the lenses safely and fully explain the care regime.

Once everyone is happy and all your questions are answered your child may take the contact lenses home.

You will then return to the practice after a two week trial period to ensure everything is going smoothly.

What are the costs of the lenses?

There is an initial consultation fee of £25 which covers all the appointments required to ensure a successful start to the programme.

Thereafter there will be a monthly fee of £34.50 which covers the complex myopia control lenses, solutions, all further appointments, examinations, tests and a host of other premium patient benefits.

It is worth noting that we cannot guarantee the effectiveness of the myopic control programme.

What else can I do to slow myopic progression?

  • Increase the amount of time your child spends outside each day. The brightness of natural light is thought to limit the rate of progression. If possible try and spend over 2 hours outside each day (this can include school break times etc.)
  • Take regular breaks from close work e.g. they should look away from their desk for a minute or so to change focus, or change tasks every 30-60 minutes to alter the focussing demands on their vision.
  • Try to limit additional close work (over and above school or work) to two hours per day. This includes reading, phones, tablets, hand held computer games, drawing, homework and computer work.
  • There has been a role suggested for vitamin D in the control of myopia and although there is currently no significant evidence to support this, we would suggest that your child may wish to take vitamin D supplements.

Downes Opticians, 2 North Junction Street, Leith, EH6 6HN 0131 553 5358