For year opticians have been saying to patients that there's nothing that can be done to slow down how quickly a child becomes more short-sighted. We now know that using a prescription weaker than needed actually makes the eyes get worse quicker, this is the opposite to what most people think.
The prevalence of myopia (the medical name for short-sightedness) is projected to increase from approximately two billion people worldwide in 2010 to almost five billion people in 2050.* Plus the proportion of young people with myopia in the UK has more than doubled over the last 50 years, in those aged between 10–16 years and children are becoming myopic at a younger age.*
Being short-sighted increases the risk of certain damaging eye disease as these are associated with the increase in eye size cause by myopia, e.g. Retinal detachment risk is 16 times higher if the prescription reaches -6. Research is still on-going and it’s now been shown that a child who spends at least 1 hour outdoors each day is less likely to become short-sighted.
What else can you do?
There are two methods that are proven to reduce the rate of increase of myopia by about 40%.
1/ Ortho k (Orthokeratology) which has been around for many years yet still most people haven’t heard of it. This technique uses a specially-designed rigid contact lens worn only at night. This gently reshapes the eye while the patient is asleep and when removed the next day the vision is clear without any glasses or contact lenses being worn. We have been fitting these for 10 years at our Oakwood branch and find that most patients that try them think they’re fantastic.
2/ There has just been launched in the UK a daily disposable lens specifically for children called MiSight. Previously Multifocal contact lenses were only used by people over 45 as they contain and distance and reading prescriptions. Now this technology has been tailored to help control short-sightedness. The lenses should be worn for 12 hours everyday for optimal effect
If you know anyone who may be interested in this, please ask them to book their free initial assessment appointment with us or speak to Tom Jackson (Optometrist) on 07976 278064.
*Research References available on request