One of the newest and most exciting areas of our industry is that of Myopia management. Myopia is the medical term for short-sightedness and with innovative and detailed research we now understand more then ever why we become myopic!
This presents an exciting opportunity whereby we can attempt to arrest it's development and in some cases reverse it!
There is still debate and mountains of research as to the exact mechanisms involved bu the best theories currently involve:
Genetics - A child with one myopic parent is 6x more likely to become and 8x more likely if both parents are myopic
Too much time spent indoors
Vitamin D defficiency
Hyperopic defocus (see below)
Currently the advice concentrates on making sure that your child spends as much time outdoors as possible and has regular eye examinations. If myopia begins to develop then there are products available to try and limit it's progression. The majority of products focus on the peripheral hyperopic defocus theory.
Peripheral Hyperopic Defocus
When light is focused at the back of the eye it is generally highly focused at the centre of the retina, the macula or more specifically the fovea. The retina is curved as it lines the inside of the eyeball and this means that not all the light id perfectly focused on all of the retina. Some of the light peripheral to the fovea can be focused behind the retina effectively making that area hyperopic (long-sighted). As the child grows there is a stimulus to focus these blurry areas of retina and the ocular system does this by growing, lengthening, the eye in an attempt to focus the light better. Unfortunately this has the overall effect of making the eye more and more myopic.
The answer is to create a lens that focusses the centre of the vision but creates peripheral lens blur and remove the stimulus to eye growth. Thanks to these innovative products we now have the opportunity to do something! There a re both contact lens and spectacle products available with good scientific data suggesting that they can reduce a childs myopia development by up to 60%!