Act now to halt progression of myopia in your child
Now we have realised that there is a myopic epidemic among children in Asia and many other countries, parents and schools are trying to address how to halt or reduce the progression of myopia (short-sightedness) in children, which is caused by near-vision work indoors.
Parents need to get their child back outdoors into the playground and into the sun – even if it is a cloudy day the dopamine in their retina will be stimulated.
In China and Singapore, schoolchildren are now required to spend a certain number of hours outside in the fresh air, and not just studying at their desks or having leisure pursuits that involve near vision. Developing a plan for your child’s vision is essential, and there is a lot that you can do at home for them to prevent them getting myopia.
It really is true that if you sit too near to the television in poor light, your eyes will be damaged, resulting in the development of myopia in childhood and adolescence. In the very near future, we hope to provide a new medical treatment at Clinica London on which researchers are concluding their studies. This treatment comes in the form of eye drops that will influence your child’s retina and slow down the progression of myopia.
Myopia in children is a hot topic among eye doctors and parents, but the treatment with eye drops is not available in Europe yet. The currently available formulation of atropine 0.01% eye drops has a pH of 4, and the patient must use it for two years; therefore it runs the risk of causing as yet undetermined ocular surface problems.
The product has not yet received marketing authorisation in the EU, so at the moment it is still an Investigational Medical Product, unfortunately. There is a lot of research in progress and a lot of effort to find a non-acidic stable formulation. I am sure this is going to change soon but at present atropine drops are not going to be something we can offer immediately.
The children’s ophthalmologist at Clinica London will discuss the options with parents of children with myopia and advise them about glasses and environmental factors that will help them.
To be assessed for this, your child will need to see Ms Naz Raoof, the paediatric ophthalmologist. If you are an adult and your myopia is established, you will have to have an assessment examination with Mr Sajjad Ahmad, who is the corneal refractive surgeon.
They will be able to advise the child’s parents, or the myopic adult, after doing tests to establish baseline measurements of the eye refraction and length and shape of the eye. In the case of your child, the doctor will be able to tell you if they are suitable to take part in the trial of the eye drop treatment to halt or reduce the progression of myopia. For adults with the condition, the doctor will outline the options available.