Posted on 14th April 2021
Myopia is expected to affect 50% of the world population by 2050. In the UK, the amount of myopia has increased from 10% to 23% of children in the past 50 years. In the past year, we have noticed an increase in cases of myopia in the children we have examined, perhaps due to increased screen time since lockdown began in March 2020. It is a growing issue.
Until now, the only option available for children in the UK to slow the progression of myopia, was contact lenses. Whilst they are hugely effective and have shown impressive results, they are not for everyone and not all children are able to successfully adapt to wearing them. An alternative option has been in research for many years now and this month the Hoya MiyoSmart spectacles launched.
We are excited to be among the first practices to offer these spectacles to our patients. Over the years we have seen many children who would benefit from myopia management but for various reasons, the contact lenses aren’t for them. Now they have an option to slow the progression of their short-sightedness and consequently, reduce their chances of developing a number of serious eye conditions in later life.
The Hoya MiyoSmart lens works much like the contact lenses, in giving clear vision through the centre of the lens and a variation in the power of the lens away from the centre to create defocus on the peripheral retina helping reduce the eyes desire to grow. The results of a two year study suggest that these spectacles are as effective as the contact lenses in slowing the progression of myopia.
If you would like to arrange a free myopia management assessment for your child, please email email@example.com. This can take place over the phone or by video call.
Further information on myopia management
What causes short-sightedness (myopia)
Research suggests that a person’s genetics, lifestyle and their day-to-day environment all play a part. People who spend more time doing tasks at a close distance such as working on computers and reading, and those who spend less time outdoors seem more likely to develop myopia. If both parents have myopia then there is a 46% chance that a child will develop it, 31% with one parent and 22% if no parents are myopic. Females have a greater gender tendency for myopia than males.
Why do children need myopia management?
Generally, once a child has myopia their spectacle prescription gets greater over time, in particular during childhood as the eye grows. The key years of change in myopia are between six and 17 years old with the largest change in prescription typically happening at around age seven to eight years and changes getting less as you get older. Generally, myopic children wearing traditional glasses or contact lenses will continue to increase in myopia by approximately 0.50 to 1.00 D (units of measurement) per year. We can use these figures to calculate what we expect a child’s prescription level to be by the time they are in their late teens when change generally starts to slow or stop. Many people develop myopia later in life, however if a child develops myopia, they are at risk of their vision deteriorating much more quickly and for many more years leading to a higher eventual prescription.
Why is a high prescription an issue?
A higher prescription is not only an inconvenience causing poorer vision without glasses or contact lenses but all myopia and especially larger eyes with higher prescriptions (over -6.00DS) are linked to an increased risk of developing eye diseases such as glaucoma, retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration and cataract in later life. Each dioptre increase in myopia results in 67% increased risk of myopic macular degeneration.
How can myopia management help?
Myopia management aims to slow down the progression of myopia in children and young adults through lifestyle changes, the use of specialised contact lenses, eye drops (not available in the UK) and now spectacle lenses. It is unlikely that myopia management will stop the progression of myopia completely and the ‘average’ child will still have some progression of myopia even with myopia management. The concept of myopia management has been studied for around seven years now but research into the causes of myopia and how to slow its progression has been ongoing for decades.
Does myopia management work?
The results of a large trial on soft contact lenses for myopia management (MiSight) has found that over a three year period half of the eyes that were studied had no change in prescription and over six years a quarter of eyes had no change.The children in this study were aged between eight to eight to 12 years with a starting prescription of between 0.50 and 4.00DS with astigmatism of <0.75DC.
Cameron Optometry bases its myopia management scheme on guidance by the International Myopia Institute. In 2019 the institute gathered together the leading figures in research into myopia and trawled through all the research on myopia to produce seven papers. If you are interested in further reading into myopia you can access these papers at the Brien Holden Vision Institute.
22nd April 2021
After a year like no other, we are especially impressed by our optometrist, Rebecca Daly, who is one of the first individuals to have gained the NHS Education for Scotland Glaucoma Award Training (NES...Read more