You’ve done the right thing for your child and taken them for a sight test. The optometrist says they need glasses to see better at school and in the distance. It seemed obvious during the test, your child could see to the bottom of the chart with the correct lenses, but only the top letters without. Glasses are the answer, right?
Of course, that’s the solution opticians and some optometrists have traditionally given for short sightedness (myopia). To prescribe glasses.
These glasses are said to correct myopia. Actually, they mask the symptoms of myopia – by refocussing light and reducing blur. Unfortunately, the myopia which is a progressive condition of abnormal eye growth, is left untreated. That’s why, as the eye continues to grow too fast, and the myopia increases, the blur returns and stronger and thicker glasses are prescribed.
Consider this analogy.
You take your child to the dentist with a toothache. They find tooth decay and prescribe painkillers. They feel better for a while, then the pain returns, so you visit the dentist again, who prescribes stronger painkillers. Meanwhile the tooth decay continues.
What is happening with Myopia?
When looking at objects in the distance, the eye focusses them in front of the retina, leading to blur on the retina. This is because the eye is too long for it’s focussing power.
Myopia correcting spectacle lenses are concave (minus powered) and refocus this light back on the retina.
The problem with this is that the back of the eye is curved. Therefore when a lens is used to focus light centre of the retina (fovea), peripherally light now focusses behind the retina. Vision scientists call this “peripheral hyperopic defocus”.
Current Vision theory
Vision scientists now believe that signals from the peripheral retina (peripheral hyperopic defocus) stimulates the elongation of the eye. When the eye is corrected with traditional single vision lenses, the hyperopic defocus increases, especially in children.
We are now able to treat myopia, with the techniques targeted at controlling the abnormal eye growth. But the key seems to be to catch it early. At LFO, we’ve been at the forefront of Myopia Management clinic development. Our optometrists are passionate about keeping up to date with the latest research and its clinical application. We take parents and children through this and the management options at their own pace and make a joint decision about the form of control.
Click here for the parent question and answer page.