We are pleased to be able to offer a new service to our young short-sighted patients. Previously it was just expected that your eyes would get worse and the only thing we could do was prescribe glasses to correct this error. New studies have shown that myopia progression can be slowed down or even halted and our own experience with patients in the practice has confirmed this.
I hope you find the information on this page useful and would be very happy to talk to you about this exciting new treatment we are offering. We look forward to helping your keep your eyes as good as they can be.
Please call to make an appointment if you would like to know more.
What is myopia?
Myopia, or shortsightedness, is the eye condition where objects close to you are clear but objects further away are blurred. It is caused by the eye being slightly too long or too powerful. It is corrected by concave (negative power) lenses.
Your Child's Myopia May Depend on What You Do Now
Some children (and adult) eyes develop myopia and the percentage of people who develop it has increased over the last few decades. Most of the changes happen to your eyes in childhood and as a teenager.
Research has shown that that it is possible to prevent or at least slow the progression of myopia. Myopic changes are generally permanent; they don't get better with treatment - but we can slow the progression and the earlier you start the better the effect.
Why does it matter?
Myopia is easy to correct with glasses or contact lenses, so why is anyone bothered with trying to control myopia progression? Low degrees of myopia are not a major problem and, in fact, when people reach their 40s and lose their ability to focus then there are advantages to having a low degree of myopia. But intermediate and high degrees of myopia cause people to struggle without their glasses. For example, a high myope may not be able to see the alarm clock when they wake in the night. The higher your myopia the thicker and less attractive your glasses will be - not to mention more expensive. More importantly, high myopia is associated with an increased risk of significant eye diseases, such as retinal detachment and glaucoma. If myopia progression is controlled in a child then this means that they might only ended up with an intermediate degree of myopia, say -4.00D, instead of a higher degree. This reduces the risk of eye disease and improves your quality of life.
What can you do?
Choose your parents wisely! Unfortunately this isn't something we have any control over but if your parents are myopic then it is more likely that you will be and the more myopic they are the faster your progression.
Spend time outdoors
It is important to spend time outdoors for good development of your eyes. Studies have shown that children who regularly play outside are less likely to be myopic.
We are now able to offer special contact lenses which have been shown to reduce the progression of myopia. These are highly breathable soft contact lenses which are comfortable and safe to wear. These can be used from 10 years old or earlier in exceptional cases. All contact lenses are available on our monthly payment scheme to spread the cost and prices include all check-ups and any emergency appointments required. It is expected that these special lenses are worn until the eyes stabilise at around 18 years old and afterwards regular contact lenses are all that is needed.
Two points need to be stressed. First, it is not always possible to stop myopia progression, just to slow it down. Second, although trials have shown that on average the methods we use slow myopia progression by about 50%, these are average results and cannot be guaranteed in an individual case. For some children, the myopia progression may be slowed more than this but for others it may be slowed less, or not at all.