Myopia in the news yet again

 

 

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“Miss! Are your classes making me blind?

 

A very nicely written piece on Myopia and school children .

 

 

 

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myopia control on the BBC

The BBC World Service’s CrowdScience website has a couple of interesting pieces about Short-sightedness and myopia control.

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The link below is to a video that they have produced showing some of the measures that are being used in Singapore to try and reduce childhood Myopia.

Singapore’s measures to reduce short-sightedness

This is a clip from the longer podcast

Are Screens Bad For My Child’s Eyes

 

I am a big advocate of the benefits of natural light  and in reducing screen time and  I have been very proactive in telling my young patients to try and get at least 14 hrs per week outside but as any parent know it is very difficult for a teenager (and often even younger) to be parted from their smart phones/tablets/laptops.

 

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When I speak to my young patients who are doing lots of studying about what they do when they take a break from the revision or homework –  almost all of them tell me that they will go straight on some form of  social media – this may be a mental break from the Battle of Passchendaele or from conjugating Latin verbs but it will not give the eyes a rest. 

 

They do look very skeptical when I suggest that a break should be going outside – without their devices. I have had one parent suggest to me that they feel it would take surgical removal to take away the phone from their 15 year old child.

 

Currently Atropine is not licensed for myopia control use in the UK. But as has been mentioned in previous blog posts  we do use OrthoKeratology  how do you solve a problem like myopia 

and the new mi-Sight soft contact lens  miSight Myopia Control options for Myopia control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

miSight Myopia Control

At eyelines we have been using overnight Ortho-K contact lenses for myopia control for a number of years with great success.

However overnight contact lens wear is not for everyone.

 

CooperVision have recently launched the first soft contact lens proven to slow the progression of myopia.

 

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CooperVision MiSight 1 day – are daily disposable lenses that are suitable for myopic children as young as 8 years old.

 

MiSight lenses have been shown to reduce myopia progression by nearly 60%.\

 

Natural daylight has been shown to help as well – At least 14 hours per week spent outside will reduce the progression of myopia.

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Slowing the progression of myopia has long term benefits for the health of the eyes. High level myopic eyes are at greater risk of developing Glaucoma and Retinal detachments and can develop cataracts at an earlier age than normal.

 

If you are interested in finding out more about MiSight lenses or any form of Myopia Control then contact the practice

 

blue light,screen time & your child’s eyes

I have been asked a lot lately about Blue Light and screen time and potential problems with vision and eyes especially with Children. The piece below if from an Association of Optometrists  leaflet : Screen Time – Facts for Parents.

 

 

Screen time — facts for parents

 

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Most parents worry how much time their child is spending on
digital devices. Here are some  facts about screen time.
What is blue light?

 
Sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green and blue
light rays. Combined, this spectrum of coloured light
rays creates what we call ‘white light’ or sunlight.
Depending on where they fall on the spectrum, light
rays have long wavelengths (with less energy) or short
wavelengths (with more energy).

 
Blue light is a high-energy visible light and has shorter
wavelengths. It is known as blue light because it is
on the violet-blue band of the spectrum. Blue light
is naturally present in sunlight but is also something
we can see from screens such as TVs, computers,
smartphones and tablets.

 

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Can blue light damage my child’s eyes?

 
There is currently no scientific evidence that blue light
causes damage to the eyes. However, there is evidence
to suggest that carrying out near tasks, involving
looking at something close-up, such as using mobile
devices, screen time and reading a book, can increase
eye strain for those who do this for long periods of time.

 
What is digital eye strain?

 
Digital eye strain happens when a lot of time is
spent using near vision, for example, reading on
screen or playing online games. Digital eye strain
does not cause permanent damage to your eyes but
can be uncomfortable. One of the main symptoms
is temporary blurred vision but other signs such as
sore and tired eyes, dry eye and headaches are also
associated with digital eye strain.

 
Can blue light affect my child’s sleep pattern?

 
Using screens close to bedtime may contribute
to poorer sleep, which may mean your child’s
concentration levels are lower during the day. This
may be because blue light is linked to the suppression
of the hormone melatonin which makes us feel sleepy.
However, there is a range of other factors linked to
disrupted sleep.

 
Can blue light filtered lenses help?

 
Some people report that lens coatings that filter blue
light make their eyes feel more comfortable or are
helpful before bed, but there is no clear scientific
evidence to support this. There is also no evidence
that these kinds of coatings prevent eye disease.

 
Why have I heard that blue light is harmful to eye health?

 
Several studies have been carried out into the effects
of blue light, and research in this area is still ongoing.
Some past studies have revealed that exposure
to blue light can lead to changes in animals’ eyes.
However, because the time and intensity of exposure
to blue light in these studies was far more than that
of natural daylight and that of screens, this does not
show that blue light is harmful to eyes.

 
Is there a link between screen time and short-sightedness?

 
Short-sightedness, or myopia, is increasing
throughout the world. Family history, ethnic
background, environment (living indoors, in cities)
and carrying out near tasks, such as screen use,
have all been linked to the development of myopia.
However, there is no clear evidence to suggest that
screen time alone is the direct cause. But, there is
good evidence to suggest that children who spend
more time outdoors are at lower risk of developing
short-sightedness.

 

 

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Some Tips to help keep your child’s eyes healthy

 

 

Get them outdoors — regular play and exercise can help prevent or
reduce the development of myopia (short-sightedness). Studies show two
hours of outdoor activity a day is ideal.

 
Using night settings, if your device has them, may help children sleep
by reducing the amount of blue light given off by the screen during
night-time hours.

 

Make sure digital devices are turned off at least an hour before bedtime.

 

Book your child in for a sight test every two years, from the age of three,
or more often if your optometrist recommends it.

 

 

how do you solve a problem like myopia

In a previous blog post I mentioned the increase in Myopia that some have likened to an epidemic.

Apart from correcting the vision traditionally with spectacles or daily wear contact lenses what else is available – especially for  children.

 

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Refractive Surgery has been an option in various form since the mid 1960’s and whilst techniques have been improving it is still usually not recommended for those under the age of 21 (or at least until any prescription changes have stabilised).

For a lot of  patients the thought of having any form of surgery will be enough to dissuade them from this option.

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Another possibility is Orthokeratology – or Ortho K – a technique of overnight contact lens wear that gently reshapes the cornea by about the thickness  of a hair. I have been using this technique in the practice for nearly 10 years.  (Previous Blog Post on Ortho K)

Until recently I have used Ortho K  mainly on adults but in the last 6 months I have been fitting the  lenses more and more to children with excellent results.

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One of the first youngsters that I fitted last summer was Isabella  whose extended  family have been with the practice for many years. Isabella had been wearing spectacles for six months and her myopia was increasing rapidly, her father is quite myopic so Isabella was concerned that she would follow a similar pattern. We discussed all of the options available and decided to fit Ortho K – with great success.  Isabella has recently featured in a news article  about  Ortho K on ITV Meridian News.

ITV Meridian News Feature

Since Isabella’s success I have had an increasing number of children coming along and being fitted with Ortho K and it has proven to be a wonderful tool to enable children to cope with an active lifestyle without having to worry about vision, glasses or contact lenses during the day.

 

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If you are interested in Ortho K or any aspect of either your eyes or your childs eyes  then contact us to have a chat about it.

 

 

“myopia epidemic”

Recent studies on childhood shortsightedness both in the UK and in the US have shown that the condition is on the increase.

Both the studies from California and Northern Ireland have shown that there are twice as many children today who are myopic than in the 1960’s.

16.4% now compared to 7.2% in 1960

The study also showed that children with one myopic parent were three times more likely to become myopic than those who had non myopic parents. Those who have two parents with myopia were seven times more likely to be myopic.

The Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction Study also found that children were becoming myopic at an earlier age.  Myopia is more likely to occur between the ages of 6 and 13.

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There are many opinions on what the reasons for this increase in shortsightedness are but opinion seems to suggest that too much time indoors on mobile devices and not enough time outdoors is a factor.

Myopia is generally a progressive condition so it is worth keepin an eye on (apologies for the awful pun).

I will blog later on some of the options that are available to both correct the vision and also to control the myopia.

 

 

eye(had a)dream

Eyedream contact lens vision therapy is a modern take on Orthokeratology – a technique that reshapes the cornea and enables clear vision throughout the day without the need for spectacles or contact lenses.

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No need to worry about over wearing your contact lenses
No need to worry about dry dusty environments and irritable eyes.
No need to struggle with sports and your spectacles

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Eyedream is suitable for low to mid myopes (shortsighted people) who want the freedom of clear vision without spectacles, contact lenses or are worried about the risks of surgical techniques.

Custom made contact lenses are worn overnight that gently reshape your cornea and give you clear vision throughout the day. Once your vision is corrected you need to wear a pair of retainer lenses every night.
(I have several patients who only need to put in their Eyedream lenses every second or third night)

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Orthokeratology and eyedream lenses have also been shown to control the progression of Myopia in Children and adults. As well as gently flattening the cornea (this is how they correct the shortsightedness) there has been some evidence that suggests that the use of these lenses will also reduce the growth in eyeball length – which is a major factor in the progression of myopia.

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At eyelines we have been fitting Eyedream lenses for the last 8 years with a lot of very happy patients using the technique. If you are interested contact us for further information.