Your child has been diagnosed with myopia. What are your options for reducing the progression of myopia that naturally occurs as a child ages and grows? Thankfully, there are now plenty of successful and proven treatment options, all of which are available at our clinic. First, as a pediatric optometrist, I just want you to know some of the factors that go into deciding which treatment options are both suitable and best for your child’s unique situation. 1. Age – the younger the myopia starts, the worse it tends to be later in life. 2. Current prescription – the higher it is, the higher it is likely to go. Higher levels of myopia increase the risk of future vision loss. 3. The rate of change – if we have a history of change, we should act on it accordingly. 4. Family history (or genetics) of myopia – if both parents are myopic and/or older siblings have myopia, the risks of progression are much higher. 5. Hobbies and activity level – lots of reading and/or lack of outdoor activity are associated with greater risk of myopia progression.
The ease of instituting treatment, both from a cost and adaptation perspective, will be considered for treatment success. Once a plan has been devised, our staff can provide the necessary training/counseling and supply/fitting of the necessary vision aids. Progress visits should be scheduled at intervals of 3 to 6 months to monitor and modify treatment as necessary.
Things not to do:
- have your child go longer than recommended between eye assessments
- under-correct myopia
- fail to take any action at all
- can reduce the incidence of macular degeneration by 40%
- retinal detachment risk is reduced by 23%
- glaucoma risk is reduced by 16%
- and the risk of future visual impairment/loss declines by as much as 24%
Get started now by booking your child’s consultation here!
Our Commitment to Safeguarding Your Child’s Vision
Myopia Control Therapy is an investment in your child’s future eye health and well-being. With increased screen time at the expense of outdoor activities, myopia is growing at epidemic proportions. By 2050, half the world’s population, or 5 billion people, will be myopic. Many treatment options exist that have been found to diminish the eye’s axial lengthening and the corresponding myopia progression. After conducting a thorough eye health and vision assessment, Dr. Sciberras will determine the modalities best suited for successful compliance and myopia control. At times, more than one viable option exists, and the decision will be made after deliberate consultation between the doctor and parents.
We are committed to providing you with the best value in eye care and vision correction. We strive to provide all patients with clear, comfortable vision with the best lens technology and the most convenient modality for your child. We must make the science and research available to you to ensure the long-term health of your child’s eyes.
So, what is Myopia?
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is the inability to see distant objects clearly. Nearsighted individuals see better near. Myopia is often the result of an elongated eye, measured as axial length, that results in light focusing in front of rather than on the retina. The retina is the photographic film at the back of the eye. So why is myopia a problem, besides having to wear vision correction? Higher levels of myopia are associated with a higher risk of eye disease. Longer eyes are more susceptible to the following diseases:
The optics of myopia are seen below. Distant objects such as street signs appear blurred.
What are the risk factors for developing myopia?
Parental myopia, myopic siblings, Asian ancestry, myopia that appears before the age of 7, rigorous academic pursuits (high near visual demands), and limited outdoor activity can all be used to predict myopia and its progression to high myopia. Patients with high degrees of myopia experience a poorer quality of life than those with low to moderate myopia. Refractive surgery can also be affected, with outcomes generally better in patients with lower prescriptions. Myopia control therapy can help change the future of your child’s myopia progression and significantly reduce their risk of future visual impairment.
Take this 1-minute survey to assess your child’s risk for myopia development and progression.
Why We Measure Axial Length
The axial length of the eye refers to how long the eye is, from the front of the cornea to the back of the retina. In children with rapidly progressing myopia, the axial length will increase faster than normal. This information helps determine the progression rate and risks based on age-related expected values. It therefore helps guide the treatment approach.
Recommended Screen Time
- Children under 2 years of age should have no screen time. Watching a screen at a young age can limit time for active play and learning, reduce opportunities for language development and inhibit their attention skills.
- Children aged 2-5 years should have a maximum of 1 hour per day. Infants, toddlers and preschoolers should not be inactive or sedentary for more than one hour at a time, except for sleeping. In this age group, excessive screen time is associated with less outdoor, creative and active play time; poorer language skill development; poor social skills and an increased risk of obesity.
- Children of school age (5-17 years) should be limited to 2 hours of recreational screen time per day. When using screen-based electronics, positive social interaction and experiences are encouraged. Sleep is also so important in this age group. Children aged 5-13 years should have an uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years. Consistent bed and wake-up times are very helpful, as are restricting screen time 2 hours before bed and removing screens from the bedroom where possible.
- Avoid performing near vision tasks closer than 30cm.
- Apply the 20-20 Rule: take a break from reading or screen time every 20 minutes for 20 seconds, looking at something far away (eg. 20 feet). He or she should look across at something distant to relax the focusing muscles in the eyes before commencing near viewing. This can be managed as a break between book chapters, Netflix episodes for preteens and teens, or timers set for younger children. Recent evidence suggests the 20-20 rule is not a hard and fast rule, but should highlight the need for reducing screen time, and taking frequent near-task breaks.
Book your child’s eye exam here. Your child’s vision matters to us.