Why Does My Child's Nearsightedness Need to Be Managed?
Does your child have myopia, and have you been recommended Myopia Control? Myopia Control can be prescribed as special glasses, drops like atropine, or special contact lenses. At Opto-mization, we want to treat the root cause of a problem, rather than just using medications to manage side effects.
You want to help your child’s vision and it can feel overwhelming to choose the right approach. There are pro’s and cons to different myopia control approaches. This article will help you understand more about what myopia is, how it happens, and the pros and cons of different approaches to treatment and Myopia control
What is Myopia?
Myopia is also known as near-sightedness. Near-sightedness is used to describe myopia because it means that someone can ‘see at near’, but not at far. This happens because the eye’s focus distance is now shorter
Glasses are then required to refocus the light so that the person can see clearly at distance.
As myopia increases, the focal distance gets closer and closer to the eye, resulting in blurrier distance vision, and requiring stronger glasses to make it clear.
In our experience we can get better visual performance and slower myopia progression with other methods. We no longer offer any ortho-k services, and would be happy to speak to you about what we believe will give you a better outcome.
What Parents Are Saying About Myopia Management
How Does Myopia happen?
Myopia has both genetic and environmental factors. A person’s genetics can make them more more likely to get myopia, but the environment (how they use their eyes) has even more to do with your child getting myopia. In populations where nobody does a lot of reading -or smartphones-, the rates of myopia are very low, and vice-versa. This is also why the rates of myopia have increased with both literacy and smartphone usage. If myopia was purely genetic, it would have been selected out a long time ago- you couldn’t see the predators!
Myopia as an adaptation
Myopia is a pretty amazing way that the body adapts to the visual strain of near work. If you light weights, your body builds muscle to make it easier. If you strain looking up close, your body can grow your eyes by fractions of millimeter to change the focal point. This allows you to see up close with less effort, but it means that you lose your distance vision.
Once you start to lose your distance vision you usually end up with glasses for seeing far away. The problem is that these glasses take away your natural adaptation, and the cycle repeats.
The Opto-mization Approach
The first step to Myopia control is to reduce the stimulus that creates myopia. You can’t just look in the forest and never look at books or screens, so the answer is about using lenses to decrease the visual strain experienced at near. This can be in the form of a multi-focal lens, reading/computer glasses, bifocals or more.
The prescription that is designed for the most efficient and least strenuous work at near, will create the least amount of stimulus to become myopic. The most pleasant side effect is that the very same prescription usually increases reading speed and ability to sustain focus!
We will use things like atropine drops, but only as a last resort in myopia control. This is because atropine drops can change the accuracy of accommodation (focus) and disrupt visual performance.
Some doctors do not believe that multifocal lenses can stop/slow myopia. This is because of one or two very poorly designed studies that randomly prescribed bifocals, rather than prescribing what each individual actually needed. This is like determining that running shoes causes blisters, but not having fit the shoes to each person in the study.
Over tens of thousands of patients in Victoria, Nanaimo, and New York, we have proven our myopia control methods. By treating the underlying cause, the side effects are limited to improved reading speed and focus.