Do you take your child to the eye doctor every year only to watch their prescription increase? You might be dealing with childhood or adolescent myopia.
What is Myopia?
Myopia is the technical term for nearsightedness, meaning that a person cannot see well at distance but some things held near will be clear. Interestingly, rates of nearsightedness have been increasing worldwide for the past several decades, and as of right now scientists aren’t exactly sure why. In some parts of Asia, as many as 90% of school-age children are nearsighted. These presents are a major public health issue as more and more people become totally dependent on glasses.
Eye doctors and scientists have been working around the world to try to understand what is causing this rise in myopia, and what can be done to stop it. This area of research is known as myopia control.
Understanding more about myopia
There has been a lot of discussions that the increase in myopia is related to kids doing much more near vision activities with modern schooling and television and video games. Large studies were conducted with children wearing bifocal or progressive glasses. Several studies showed that this was an ineffective measure of controlling myopia. There was also the idea to under-correct a child’s prescription. This would leave them a little blurry at distance but would maybe keep them progressing. Not only did this not work it was shown in some studies to make things worse. Another area that was looked into was traditional soft contact lenses vs glasses. This research wasn’t aimed at finding a way to stop myopia but rather on things that could make it worse. The research was able to show that soft contacts and glasses show the same rates of progression.
Promising new research
In the previous blog, we talked about CRT as a means to correct for nearsightedness with a special hard contact lens to reshape the cornea while wearing during sleep. In the past few years, several studies were conducted around the globe to see if children wearing CRT lenses showed reduced progression of myopia. The results have been extremely favorable all showing that CRT lenses are able to slow or possibly halt the progression of myopia. It has also been shown that this effect is long-lasting and will not diminish through years of wear. This is exciting as we continue to perfect the technique there is hope that myopia could be halted once discovered.
What to do if you or someone you love has myopia
If you are interested in slowing the progression of your child’s nearsightedness ask one of the eye doctors at OPMT if they are a candidate for CRT contact lenses. In the meantime, send them outside for some old fashioned fun outside. Increased outdoor play has been shown to slow or prevent nearsightedness. Whether it’s the exposure to UV light and the effect of outdoor light on pupil size we’re still not sure, but it still sounds like a good idea to me! Check out our Nashville Vision Therapy Blog HERE for more information!