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Children's Eye Health

Myopia is an epidemic in most of the world especially in the Far East and places such as Hong Kong where it has an incidence of 80%. Having a parent with myopia increases your chance of becoming nearsighted 2x. If both parents are myopic it will increase your chance 5x. A child that is -1.00D nearsighted at the age of 8 can easily progress to -6.00 by the end of the teen age years. This is not only a vision problem but increases the chance of eye health problems such as glaucoma and retinal detachment.

Recent larger studies have given eye care practitioners new insights on how to prevent and control myopia.

Children under eight who are active and play a minimum of two hours outside are much less likely to to become nearsighted.

However, once the child becomes near sighted this effect which is thought to be related to sunshine and production of Vitamin D is diminished. It is thought that peripheral defocus can trigger the eye to grow longer and as a result make the child progressively more nearsighted. There are three ways to disrupt this cycle and decrease the myopia by 50%.

  1. Orthokeratology or corneal reshaping-the cornea is fitted with special lenses that the child wears at night. These lenses reshape the eye and correct the child's myopia while they sleep. During the day the child has great vision without wearing the contacts. The added benefit is that this procedure also corrects the peripheral defocus unlike a pair of glasses or regular contacts and slows down myopia progression.
  2. Special multi focal lenses can do the same thing but the child wears the lenses during the day to correct the myopia.
  3. Atropine 0.1%- These drops that are used to dilate the eye can also retard the progression of myopia even more effectively than the above two methods by a mechanism not understood clearly. However, it is not a very popular method with parents and practitioners because of the side effects of the higher concentration Atropine1%.

Make sure to ask us if your child is a good candidate for myopia control.

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