People who are highly myopic (>-5.00D) have significantly higher risks of permanent vision impairment. In some parts of the world, particularly in Asia, upwards of 60% of the population is myopic, posing a significant health burden on those communities.
Although we have no control over our genetics, we are able to alter our environment to reduce the prevalence of childhood myopia. Factors such as time spent outdoors and on near activities can all contribute to the risk of myopia establishing as the adjacent table shows. It is clear that spending time outside – a minimum of a couple of hours a day – has significant benefits for keeping our eyes “normal”. Likewise managing the amount of time on near activities can also be beneficial.
Once myopia has developed there are several strategies that your optometrist can utilise to try and slow progression. These include:
- Bifocal spectacles,
- Multifocal contact lenses,
- Low dose Atropine which is a drug used in the form of eye drops that has proven very effective in reducing progression and
- Orthokeratology, hard lenses which are worn overnight and removed through the day to help reshape the cornea.
If you have a family history of myopia or concerns about your child, why not make an appointment for an assessment?