What is Myopia?
Myopia, otherwise known as short-sightedness, is a common eye condition which causes objects in the distance to appear blurred, whilst close objects are often seen clearly. Myopia occurs when there has been too much focusing power, either due to the eye being too long or the cornea being more curved than usual, making the eye too strong. As a result, when someone with short-sightedness tries to look at distant objects, the rays of light are focused in front of the retina, rather than directly onto it, causing the appearance of those objects to become blurred.
Myopia in children may just seem like a pair of glasses or contact lenses. However, as childhood myopia worsens, the eye is growing at an accelerated rate. The eyes are meant to grow in childhood at a regular rate up until age 10-12 years old. Although, if they grow too quickly or do not stop at age 10-12, then a child becomes myopic. The excessive growth of the eye stretches the retina (the light sensitive layer which lines the back of the eye) and the stretching increases risk of eye diseases and vision impairment occurring across your child’s lifetime.
Symptoms of Myopia vary between person to person. Short-sightedness usually stars around puberty and gets worse over time, until the eye is fully grown. By looking out for certain signs, you can identify Myopia in children, such as noticing how they may sit close to the TV or ask to sit at the front of the class so they can see the whiteboard. Children may also rub their eyes regularly or complain about headaches. An eye examination will allow us to determine whether your child is short-sighted and whether the Missight contact lenses would be a suitable solution to slow the process.
What are Misight contact lenses & How do they work?
The Misight lenses are the first daily disposable contact lenses designed specifically to slow down the progression of Myopia in children. The lens has two powers which can be found at different locations on the lens, usually designed as a ring of power change, like a bull's eye target. This allows the lens to rotate on the eye without changing how it performs optically. The reason these lenses work is not that they reduce the reading effort, which they do, but rather that they create a ring of increased power surrounding the central vision that the eye interprets as a ‘stop signal’ for further growth. When eyes grow longer, they become more myopic (the short-sightedness becomes worse). The lenses are clinically proven to slow down the progression of myopia when initially prescribed for children, usually around the age of 8-12 years old.
The Misight lenses look like normal soft contact lenses and are packaged as a daily disposable, meaning you open a new lens each day. The prescription lenses are worn during the day, and then thrown away at night, changing the focus of the eye to help give a clear distance vision. Generally, they should be worn every day however a daybreak once a week is recommended and will not adversely affect the treatment. This soft lens is suitable for children and we take a proactive approach to help provide a successful fitting. The studies performed with the Missight 1-day lens have shown reduced Myopia progression in those wearing the lens for 10 hours, 6 days a week
How is our approach different to Myopia control than other opticians?
Here at Central Vision Opticians we provide a unique Myopia control programme with vision therapy, in addition to contact lenses. Our extensive knowledge and experience with behavioural optometry allow us to assess the visual system to a much deeper level. Providing vision therapy in addition to the Missight lenses, can help to reduce the change in myopia. We are very proud to say we are the UK’s largest provider of the Missight contact lenses by Cooper Vision. In addition, we are one of the few practices in the UK to have the technology to accurately measure the length of the eyeball and monitor its growth, allowing us to provide more accurate control and assessment of risk. Any child that begins the Myopia control with us will be monitored for the initial first 3 months, following a check-up every 6 months.
Below is a short review from one of our 11-year-old patients, expressing her experience with the Myopia control programme at Central Vision Opticians. For further information on the Myopia control programme or any of our other services, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.