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Myopia in Children Skyrockets; Myopia Control as Distinct from Myopia Correction Provides the Answer

While myopia (short-sightedness) is a growing phenomenon, it can be easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Why then is myopia control as distinct from myopia correction important?

Myopia has sky-rocketed, results of major study in the US showed that it's prevalence had increased from 25% to 42% in the last 25 years. Part of a worldwide trend, children today are more short-sighted than their parents were three decades ago.

What is driving this phenomenon? Once thought of as a product of genes, it is now clear that myopia development has a very large environmental component. Beginning in early childhood, the onslaught of near-vision demands from computers, video games, and hand- held devices has an effect on how today's children's eyes develop. The fact that children now spend around 7 hours a day staring at computers and mobile phones, and less time in natural light is having a detrimental impact on their eyesight.

Why is myopia a problem? Firstly the day to day reliance on vision correction has enormous social impact on children. More importantly myopia doubles the risk of serious eye problems such as glaucoma and or retinal detachment - time bombs for the future.

A new type of contact lens which is worn while sleeping has been found not only correct myopia during the day so that glasses and contact are not needed, but also control myopia thus halting its progression.

One such child to benefit form this new discovery is Erin who has worn glasses since the age of two and whose prescription had risen to -7.00D by time she was 8 years old. Her mother Rachael whose prescription is -10.0D said "I didn't want her to get to eighteen with goodness knows how high a prescription.".
The evidence is mounting in favour of Myopia Control with the latest - Retardation Of Myopia In Orthokeratology (ROMIO) Study3, concluding that overnight lenses slow down myopia and are of most benefit to younger children when myopia progression is at its most aggressive.

Erin's prescription was increasing at -1.00D per annum, at this rate of development she could end up with a prescription of -17.00D as an adult. Two years ago Erin's parents decided to have her fitted with overnight contact lenses as a way of halting her short-sightedness. Almost two years on and Erin's prescription is stable at -7.00D which is a great relief to Erin's parents.

"Research has shown that "child onset myopia" increases on average around -0.5 Dioptres a year," says Geoff Wilson of The Contact Lens Practice in Birmingham who fitted Erin. One in five children aged five to 15 years and one in three children aged 16 - 19 years now need vision correction .
" I really like how these lenses have made me see again instead of wearing glasses, it makes your life a lot easier" concludes Erin.

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