Is your child suitable for Myopia (Progression) Management?
Myopia or short-sightedness causes blurred distance vision. It normally begins in childhood, being more common in children who have a myopic parent, although sometimes there is no family history.
Myopia is increasing worldwide with some calling this a ‘myopia pandemic’. In East Asia some 90% of children are now myopic. Prevalence in the USA and Europe has now reached around 45%. In the UK myopia prevalance has doubled in 50 years and is still rising!
This is a worrying public health issue, as short sight is connected with a number of more serious eye problems in later life such as retinal detachment, cataract, glaucoma & myopic macular degeneration. With every increase in myopia, the risk of developing these conditions increases. The earlier it starts to progress in childhood the higher the adult prescription will be and the higher the risk of vision complications.
What can I do for my children?
Parental history, ethnicity, environment (living indoors in cities) and spending longer each day on near tasks have all been linked to the onset and progression of myopia.
Firstly there is one thing that all parents can do straight away to help their child – get them to spend more time outdoors! Studies have shown that increasing outdoor time slows myopia progression, research continues as to why, and whether the quality of the light the child is exposed to is important. A good time to aim for is 2 hours per day outdoors.
As part of a Myopia Management Programme contact lenses can be considered, specialist rigid overnight contact lenses are sometimes prescribed, as yet we do not prescribe these.
Daily wear of specific design multifocal soft contact lenses have also been shown to reduce the rate of myopia progression. Ensuring that children wear and are happy with their contact lens is of critical importance to the therapy’s effectiveness.
Some clinical trials with special designed spectacle lenses also showed less mean progression of myopia than single vision lenses and these lenses are available in the UK now. However contact lenses seem to be a little more effective.
Pharmacological therapy, using eye drops to affect the focussing. This treatment is not currently available in the UK as drug safety trials are still underway.
How should I consider things?
Research labs around the world, multiple clinical trials and thousands of patients willing to participate are piecing together the story of why myopia develops and thus how it and the eye might be controlled. The work continues, it has now reached a stage where the results cannot be ignored. The evidence is not yet 100% conclusive, however it does seem to be pointing in the same direction.
Before entering into a process that may be time consuming, where outcomes cannot be guaranteed, please ensure you have made due diligence to investigate the principles of myopia control. ADP-EyeCare practitioners will want you and your child to be fully comfortable with the journey that will be undertaken together.
Please research the web to gather information yourself, here are some websites you can start with:
What happens next?
After your child’s normal General Eye Exam/’Sight-Test’, if it is appropriate for your child, carry out your own research and consideration of possible Myopia Management.
Then discuss with ADP-EyeCare practitioners the next steps, this will start with a special eye exam where drops are used to measure the relaxed state of the eye. Following on from this you can consider special spectacle lenses or soft contact lenses.
How does the programme work?
ADP-EyeCare practitioners may well want you to enroll your child in an Myopia Management Programme where all the contact lens care and products needed are provided for a monthly fee. It is vital all eye care is provided by a single practice, where the clinicians involved can communicate easily with one another, each having easy access to each others exam and test results.
What are the charges?
The Myopia Management Programme is not funded by the NHS. It involves a great deal of time with professional staff and may require changes of lenses – this is included in the programme fees. More detailed programme charges can be given on request.
What do I do next?
If you would like to contact us for non-urgent eye care discussions related to dry eyes or contact lenses you can by email:
- Andrew D Price (Glossop or general enquiries)
- Elizabeth Ralph (East Midlands and South Yorkshire)
- Vanessa Uden (Surrey, Hants, Berks)
- Mr Ganeshbabu Mahalingam (West Yorkshire)
- Mr Colin Jones (Widnes)
Personal portfolios can be found here:
- Mr Andrew D Price FBDO(Hons)CL MBCLA
- Mrs Elizabeth Ralph FBDO CL MBCLA
- Mrs Vanessa Uden FBDO CL MBCLA
- Mr Ganeshbabu Mahalingam MPhil PhD FCOptom FBCLA ProfHigherGlaucoma