The Menace of Myopia
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Obviously vision and eyeballs are dear to me, but this time let’s talk about a subject even closer to my…..eyes, as I grew up with it and still suffer from its long-lasting effects: myopia and how it affects your children. This is a crucially important topic, so read on and tell your friends/family.
My-OH-pee-WHAT? Myopia is the medical term for nearsightedness, which means the patient can see up close but not far away, whether that is the TV, white board, or road sign. How do you know if you are nearsighted? Go dig out your family’s prescriptions right now (if you are still part of the group that has never had an eye exam, you obviously did not read my first article…the shame! Everyone else has learned early eye exams are the best way to protect your most important sense.).
Look at the prescription numbers: if the first number starts with a minus number, like -2.00, then you are nearsighted. The higher the number, the worse it is, and the harder it is to see things far away. Having nearsighted parents greatly increases the risk your children will be nearsighted; even if neither parent is nearsighted, children still have a 1:4 chance. I am concerned for your children and their chances of developing high myopia.
For those of you thinking “Myopia’s not a big deal, Johnny will just wear correction or get lasik,” understand this: it hugely increases the risk of some pretty serious eye diseases. Nearsightedness happens because the eyeball is stretched longer than normal. That stretching thins the back layer and increases the chances of retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts, some of which can be visually devastating.
So being nearsighted doesn’t just mean you’re “blind”, it also means you could go blind. Really. Even traditional methods of compensating for myopia, like glasses, contact lenses, or even lasik surgery leave the eyeball stretched so the risk of diseases is not decreased.
There is a bright lining to all this doom and gloom! Your kids are not destined to have their prescriptions get worse and worse yearly. We have methods to treat, control, and maybe even prevent myopia!! The earlier we start treatment, the less nearsighted the child will eventually become, thus decreasing how long the eyeball becomes and decreasing the chances of the scary diseases. We can design a personalized treatment program to combat this disease. My goal is to stop kids’ vision from getting worse, but we need to start NOW, yesterday, even. The longer we wait, the higher the prescription becomes. We can’t reverse it, but we can try to prevent it from worsening.
Make it your goal to have an eye exam this year for the ENTIRE family. I promise it will be (relatively:-)) easy, and we can get your children off to their best start in life with myopia treatment.