Myopia has been around for a very long time but myopia management is an emerging field.
Opticians around the world are having to change
how they approach children's eye care, the advice
they give, and the options available.
This site is designed to give local information for parents and families living in Northern Ireland.
What is myopia?
Myopia, or short sight, is a refractive error of the eye where distant objects appear blurry while close-up objects are seen clearly. It occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea's curvature is too steep, causing light to focus in front of the retina rather than on it.
Who is at risk of myopia?
Children with a family history of myopia, those who spend excessive time indoors and on near activities like screens, and those with minimal outdoor time are at a higher risk of developing myopia.
What is myopia management?
Myopia management comprises various strategies aimed at slowing down the progression of myopia in children. These strategies may include lifestyle changes, specialised spectacles or contact lenses, atropine eye drops, and orthokeratology (Ortho-K) lenses.
Why is myopia management important?
Myopia has been on the rise globally and results in the need to wear spectacles. It is also associated with an increased risk of eye conditions later in life. Effective myopia management strategies can help slow down the progression of myopia and reduce the potential risks.
What spectacles are available?
Specialised lenses are used to slow down the elongation of the eye. It is important these are worn for the correct amount of time per day. They look exactly like normal spectacle lenses but unfortunately are more expensive.
Can contact lenses be used?
Yes, again specialised contact lenses have been developed to ensure good vision while slowing down any elongation of the eye.
What are Ortho-K lenses?
Ortho-K lenses are specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses worn overnight, sometimes called Night Lenses. They temporarily reshape the cornea to correct myopia, allowing clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or lenses.
How do atropine eye drops work?
Atropine eye drops are a low-dose medication that dilates the pupils and relaxes the focusing muscles in the eyes. This helps slow down the progression of myopia by reducing the eye's ability to elongate. Currently atropine treatment is not registered for general use in the Northern Ireland.
How often should my child have their eyes checked
during myopia management?
Regular eye examinations are crucial to monitor your child's myopia progression and adjust the management plan as needed. Typically, eye exams every 6 to 12 months are recommended during myopia management.
Is myopia completely curable?
Myopia itself is not usually "cured," but its progression can be significantly slowed down through effective myopia management strategies. These strategies can reduce the eventual spectacle correction needed and greatly reduce the risk of associated eye conditions in the future.
Remember, each individual's eye condition is unique,
so it's important to consult with your local optician
to determine the best myopia management approach
for your situation.