Myopia is an eye disease that is increasing in prevalence. With an increasing rate of Myopia in children, parents are doing more to learn how to manage their children's vision. The internet is an excellent source of information, but the internet also comes up with misinformation. Here are five myths versus facts you need to know about Myopia.
It's only nearsightedness and not a significant concern.
Myopia is an epidemic. Research shows that pediatric-onset Myopia (childhood onset myopia) is a significant and growing threat to good eye health in children worldwide. Myopia results from abnormal axial elongation, which means the extension of the eyeball, leading to a refractive error, or blurriness, when viewing objects at a distance.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that Myopia and high Myopia are increasing globally at an alarming rate, with significant increases in the risks of vision impairment. By 2022, Myopia will affect 2.5 billion people; by 2050, intolerance will affect half of the population worldwide.
There is no way to know whether my child will be myopic.
There are hereditary and environmental factors associated with Myopia development.
While the root cause of pediatric Myopia is unknown, multiple risk factors may contribute to its development and progression. These factors include:
- Family history.
- Limited exposure to sunlight.
- Excessive time spent doing close work, such as reading or working on a computer.
Children with myopic parents have a greater risk of becoming myopic themselves. There is a 25% chance that a child will develop Myopia if one parent is myopic. That number jumps to 50% if both are myopic.
Spending long hours looking at a computer/phone/tablet screen, reading, and doing close work is stressful and may worsen Myopia. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises reducing screen time, increasing outside time, and reducing screen time while increasing time outside is suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Spending time outdoors has been shown to slow the progression of Myopia and reduce the risk of developing new cases by 50% in children, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology Journal.
Taking Vitamins can Cure Myopia
Vitamins are used in healthcare to treat some eye conditions. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that causes blindness (mainly in the elderly), has been proven to slow down when taking a precise dose of some vitamins. These vitamins are only for AMD; if handled incorrectly and not under the direction of a professional, these vitamins can bring about health complications in some people. Myopia cannot currently be prevented or treated with vitamins, and you should only take vitamins and supplements on your doctor's advice.
Glasses are good enough for my child, who has Myopia.
Myopia cannot be treated with glasses because they only correct vision; they do not affect the underlying condition.
Myopia is a diagnosed health condition, and the diagnosis and treatment of Myopia are more than just glasses. Conventional glasses and contact lenses can help children see more clearly and slow down the progression of Myopia. As children grow, their Myopia may require stronger prescriptions, and they risk becoming hyperopic.
For example, if there were a leak in your home, you would do more than place a bucket underneath the leak. You would get to the heart of the issue to prevent further damage and address the problem at its source.
"If my child suffers from myopia, I can't do anything to slow its progression."
There are some ways to help slow the progression of Myopia.
Research suggests that sunlight and UV rays help promote healthy eye growth and reduce Myopia. Increasing exposure to daylight and lower light intensity can help delay the onset and decrease myopia progression. The easiest solution is to increase time outdoors and limit screen time.
When doing close work, such as working at a computer or looking at a cell phone, eye strain can occur and harm children's visual development. Encouraging habits such as taking frequent breaks to focus on objects farther away can help. The American Optometric Association shares one eye exercise known as the 20-20-20 rule, where they encourage taking a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
Other options to slow myopia progression are being used today and include:
If your child prefers contacts to glasses, they can be helpful for certain activities, such as sports and other outdoor activities. While there's no age limit for contact lenses, your child should be able to tolerate eye drops well and practice good hygiene. Contacts need to be cared for daily to prevent eye infections. See an ophthalmologist or optometrist immediately if your child has eye pain or redness while wearing contacts.
In children aged 5 to 18, a low dose of eye drops used to dilate pupils during an eye exam may help slow the progression of Myopia. The I-DEW eye drop range is designed specifically for those exposed to screens for extended periods. It contains a unique blend of ocular lubricants that provides prolonged lubrication and comfort to severely dry eyes.
It also contains L-Carnitine and erythritol compatible solutes, which help restore the eye surface's natural osmotic balance and revive tired eyes.
Children with Myopia can wear glasses all the time and when they need them. An eye doctor, ophthalmologist, or optometrist can help determine your child's needs. Choose frames that fit well and match your child's activities and age. If you have a young child, it may help to buy glasses with straps, so they stay on longer.
In summary, it's essential to familiarise yourself with different myopia control methods so you and your family can speak with your eye doctor and decide on the best solution for your child's eye health.