What is myopia (short-sightedness) and can we help stop its progression?
Patients often get confused between short and long sightedness. Not surprising really as the terminology is confusing. So here are the facts:
Short sight (near sightedness) is myopia – myopia is the terminology most optometrists use.
Long sight (far sightedness) is hyperopia (hypermetropia) – hyperopia is the terminology most optometrists use.
Myopia – generally things are blurry in the distance without vision correction and fairly good close to. The more myopic the person the closer something will have to be held to the eye in order to see at near (this is the focal length). Myopia uses minus lenses (concave) to correct the vision, this makes the eye look a little smaller behind the lens. Myopia is PROGRESSIVE and usually worsens with age as the eye grows. This growth slows significantly as the person stops growing in early adulthood.
Hyperopia – approximately 8 in 10 babies are born hyperopic – you are born hyperopic – it isn’t progressive like myopia. Most children outgrow hyperopia and will not need spectacles. Those people who do require a correction need plus lenses (convex), this makes the eye look a little bigger behind the lens.*
There is an interesting video here is you want to know more:
Myopic patients reading this will probably remember visiting the optician when they were younger and each time the prescription become progressively stronger, and the spectacle lenses a little thicker. In short, this is basically the eye growing as the rest of the body grows. Genetics play a big part. If both parents are myopic then their child is 6 times more likely to be myopic too and if one parent is myopic the likelihood is 3 times more.
We know that myopia is on the rise. Interestingly in Singapore, according to their Ministry of Health, 83% of young adults are now myopic and this percentage is increasing. There is also early research suggesting there may also be a peak in global myopic trends termed “quarantine myopia” due to children having less exercise for their eyes (basically varying their vision from far to near, rather than looking at one fixed point for long periods of time).
But what’s the big deal? The person just needs a stronger spectacle correction…it’s not the end of the world. Well, this is where it become interesting.
If the eye is bigger as it has continued to grow due to unchecked myopia then the patient is more at risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma and myopic macular degeneration later in life. The concave minus lenses to correct myopia are heavier, less attractive and ultimately more expensive for the more aesthetically pleasing options. Plus, if you are having to changes the lenses more frequently as myopia is initially progressive then this can also be costly.
For some time now soft daily MiSight contact lenses, to slow myopic progression, have been available and are very successful. The earlier the better for these lenses and even 8-year-olds in practice are starting to wear these lenses. 1 in 4 children who wear these lenses experience no myopic change over 6 years and overall 60% of patients recorded slowing of myopic progression. This really is amazing.
This month Hoya’s MiyoSmart lenses were launched in the UK. These are innovative spectacle lenses for myopia control. MiyoSmart is proven to curb myopia progression in children (age 8-13) by 60% with its award-winning D.I.M.S. (Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segments) technology. This provides us with another effective solution for treating increasing myopia, alongside existing daily contact lenses.
If you are concerned about progressive myopia, please get in touch to make an appointment.
The information presented here reflects general trends in myopia and hyperopia but of course, there are always exceptions to these.
I hope this blog post has been of interest and I look forward to welcoming you in practice again soon.
*The information presented here reflects general trends in myopia and hyperopia but of course there are always exceptions to these.
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