CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR CHILD'S EYESIGHT? TALK TO THE MYOPIA EXPERTS
Eric Mercer Optometrist in Belfast has been looking after young eyes for over 24 years. Whether your child would suit contact lenses or glasses, we'll help you find the right solution.
At Eric Mercer Optometrist, we specialise in myopia control for children. We offer two innovative options: MiSight contact lenses and Myopia Control spectacle lenses.
Scientific trials have shown that both options slow the progression of myopia (short-sightedness) in children by up to 67% on average. That's good news for reducing dependence on vision correction as well as decreasing the risk of eye conditions related to high myopia.
THE MYOPIA BOOM
Recent research shows that myopia is rising sharply around the world. It is estimated that around 30% of the world's population is now myopic. In east Asia, the problem has reached epidemic proportions with 90% of teenagers classed as myopic. And in the UK, myopia rates have doubled over the last 50 years.
WHAT IS MYOPIA?
Children with myopia can see clearly close-up but have blurred vision at longer distances - for instance, when looking at the board in school. Myopia usually starts in early teens but can occur in children as young as 6-8 years of age. It often progresses during teenage years before settling in late teens-early 20s.
WHAT CAUSES MYOPIA?
Myopia occurs when the eyeball grows too long for the eye's focusing system. That means images are focused in front of the retina instead of directly on it, causing blurred vision in the distance. Genetic and environmental factors can both affect your child's risk of developing myopia. When one parent is myopic, there is a 30% risk of a child developing myopia. If both parents are myopic, this increases to almost 50%. Low levels of outdoor activity and prolonged near tasks are also thought to contribute to myopia development.
Traditional corrective lenses diverge light rays so that they focus back onto the retina providing clear vision. However, because of the way myopic eyes elongate when they grow, images are not focused as precisely onto more peripheral areas of the retina as they are on the central retina. This peripheral defocus can stimulate further eye growth, leading to increased myopia.
MYOPIA CONTROL LENSES
Myopia control lenses are specially designed to help slow eye growth and reduce myopia progression. They do this by incorporating different areas of focus so that light rays are focused accurately onto peripheral parts of the retina as well as the central retina.
WHY IS MYOPIA CONTROL IMPORTANT?
As myopia increases, children's dependency on glasses increases. This can reduce their ability to participate in sports and other activities. Also, having myopia increases the risk of developing eye problems in later life. That includes conditions like retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts and maculopathy. Keeping myopia levels low greatly reduces the risk of developing these conditions.
MISIGHT CONTACT LENSES
MiSight's clever dual-focus design allows children to see clearly while at the same time slowing down eyeball growth and reducing myopia progression. These innovative lenses are a daily disposable design suitable for children as young as eight years old.
Some parents worry that their children won't be able to manage contact lenses. However, we find most children adapt to handling and wearing lenses quicker than adults.
As daily disposables, MiSight lenses offer significant benefits in terms of eye health and convenience. Because they are simply worn once and then thrown away, there are no complicated cleaning and disinfecting routines involved and the risk of eye infections is low.
MYOPIA CONTROL SPECTACLE LENSES
Myopia Control spectacle lenses use innovative microlens technology to help slow axial eye growth. This, in turn, slows down myopia progression. For example, the latest Stellest lenses by Essilor have been proven to slow myopia progression by 67% on average.
These innovative lenses consist of a central optical zone surrounded by multiple defocussed microlenses in the mid-periphery. These microlenses help to slow down eye elongation which in turn helps control myopia progression.
Safe and light
Myopia Control lenses are made from polycarbonate. This is a thin and light, highly impact resistant material, making it ideal for active kids. These lenses also offer full UV protection and come with a reflection-free, scratch-resistant coating as standard.
LIFESTYLE OPTIONS AND THE 30:30:OUT RULE
Research shows that changes in modern lifestyles are contributing to the myopia boom in children. In particular, a tendency to spend less time outdoors and more time engaged in prolonged near activities, including use of phones and other digital devices.
However, by encouraging a more balanced approach to close work and outdoor time, we can help children reduce their risk of developing myopia.
The 30:30:OUT rule
This is a handy reminder of good visual habits to help keep myopia at bay:
30: when performing near tasks, hold your device or book more than 30 cm away
30: take a break from near vision tasks every 30 minutes
OUT: spend more time OUTDOORS - ideally 2 hours a day or 14 hours a week