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What is myopia control?



Why is it concerning to be near-sighted/ myopic?

This is because high myopia or degenerative myopia can lead to sight-threatening complications. 
This includes:
-retinal detachment/thinning
-vitreal degeneration
-other retinal changes may occur secondary to the progressive axial elongation of the eye with myopic shifts

Why does the axial length matter?

As children grow, the eyeballs will grow as well. But the physiological axial length (measured from the front to the back surface of the eyes) changes associated with the progression of myopia. This leads to the sight-threatening complications. Consequently, any intervention to slow myopia progression must also reduce the rate of axial elongation of the eye.

How did COVID-19 pandemic affect myopia progression in children?

New research published in JAMA Ophthalmology reported a significant myopic shift among children aged 6 to 8, after COVID-19 home confinement. Over 100,000 children ages 6-13 in China were screened between 2015-2020.

Not only was there a substantial shift of myopia compared to previous years but the prevalence of myopia in 2020 seem to affect children aged 6-8 the most (older children were not impacted much). Reasons for such an impact in this particular age group may include less time spent outdoors and more screen time. Less outdoor activity is known to be a significant risk factor of developing myopia and this age group is affected the most by changes in environment/ surrounding.



How to monitor rate of myopic progression in children?

It is advised that children have eye examinations on a regular basis. Start with bringing children for annual exams at a young age and monitor for near-sighted/myopic shifts. The chances of a child developing myopia is more likely if it runs in the family (genetics) and may start at the time when they are just learning to read/write (school-aged). Sometimes myopia has a later onset as well, but it is just as important to see the eye doctor regularly. Schedule a consultation for your child. Book a baseline axial length measurement

What are the forms of myopia control?

With the development or rapid progression of myopia, your eye doctor may suggest the best way to help with myopic control and slow down the the rate of progression:
-behavioural interventions (time outdoors, near-work/ screen-time)

-low dose Atropine therapy
-spectacle therapy
-soft contact lens treatment

**Myopia management is rapidly advancing with new evidence and strategies emerging due to the trending myopia prevalence**

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