Myopia is more commonly known as nearsightedness. People with myopia can see fine detail close up, but not far away. Our optometrist at Helmus Optometry in Davis, CA, help you understand the purpose of myopia control and why it is important for you and your family.
Myopia is caused by the elongation of the eyeball. It usually starts in childhood starting between 8 to 12 years of age and continues to get worse in most people until the early 20's. High myopia creates increased risk for glaucoma, retinal detachment, and other serious eye problems. That is why slowing the progression of myopia is important.
First, myopia must be recognized. Children do not usually understand why they can clearly see a book, but not clearly see the front of the classroom. They must be taught that both should be equally clear. Oftentimes, it is a child's teachers who first recognize vision problems, who then communicate it to parents. Parents need to be also educated about how to recognize the signs of myopia.
Second, the child needs to see an optometrist. An eye doctor can test children for myopia. Usually, glasses will be initially prescribed for a child with myopia. The child must learn that eye correction is not optional, but necessary for their health and wellbeing. Once the child has that understanding, other approaches can be used to help slow the progression of myopia.
How Does Myopia Control Work?
There are some practical lifestyle changes for children that can possibly slow the progression of myopia.
- Restrict their time and access to tablets, cellphones, computers, or electronic games which are usually played within 18 inches of the eyes.
- Restrict their hours watching television.
- Get them to change their visual focus regularly. Going outside is great for children!
- Make sure they always study and read with proper lighting.
There are also a number of medical treatments the optometrist can use once myopia has started.
- Special contact lenses, such as bifocal or multifocal contact lenses, reduce the distance between the eye and the corrective lens. Multifocal glasses for some can work well.
- Atropine eye drops work well for some. What they do is reduce eye pain and reduce inflammation.
- Orthokeratology (ortho-k) uses special contact lenses that are worn only at night during sleep. They help change the shape of the eye.
Come to Helmus Optometry in Davis, CA. All our optometrist can help you and your family with myopia control.