Myopia Awareness Week
May 24-28 of 2021!
Our office is proud to be associated with World Council of Optometry and Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) in support of the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) Myopia Awareness Week. This global initiative is aimed to bring attention to the growing epidemic of myopia in children across the world, according to the joint announcement this week. “Myopia is arguably the most widespread epidemic faced by the global optometry community and we must increase our efforts to combat this public health issue,” WCO president Paul Folkesson said in the announcement.
How common is it?
On average, 30% of the world is currently myopic and based on current trends, it is estimated that by 2050, almost 50% will be myopic. That’s a staggering 5 billion people.
What are the signs of myopia?
The most obvious sign of myopia is that objects in the distance appear blurry. Some children may report headaches and/or eye fatigue caused by the eyes straining to focus. Myopia usually develops during childhood, so parents should start to check behaviors, such as sitting too close to the television, holding screens close to the face or squinting when looking at objects. Observant teachers may also notice children who have difficulty reading the blackboard.
How is it treated and can we slow progression?
Although corrective lenses (spectacles and contact lenses) are the traditional way to treat myopia, they do not help stop the progression of myopia. Recent research indicates that traditional corrective lenses may, in fact, make myopia worse. The intent of myopia prevention is to stop lengthening of the eyeball through drug therapy (eye drops that restrict focusing) or by specialty multifocal spectacle or contact lenses that defocus the image in the periphery (moving it in front of the retina rather than behind).
Are there complications?
Most people with mild to moderate myopia won’t experience any complications. However, high myopia, requiring a lens of -6.00 dioptres or more, does come with a risk of complications. People with high myopia have an increased risk of retinal detachment, cataracts, myopic degeneration and glaucoma, which can all cause vision loss. People with high myopia should ask their eye care professional about the warning signs for these conditions, and ensure they have comprehensive eye health examinations regularly.
Can myopia be prevented?
As myopia is often hereditary, it cannot be completely prevented. However, new research suggests ways to slow the progression of the condition, especially in children. The condition may be delayed or prevented by spending less time on devices and more time outside, possibly due to increased exposure to sunlight or the need to look into the far distance regularly. While myopia cannot be completely prevented, it can be treated through the use of corrective lenses – multifocal glasses or contacts – and through drug therapies (eye drops) that restrict focusing.
Call our office [704-756-3221] to learn more about management options and how your child may qualify for these revolutionary treatment options.