STOP THAT MYOPIA - I

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Feb 2019 14:23:01


 

By Yeshwant Saoji,

 

You may have read about Myopia control on Facebook, Google or would have heard from a friend of a relative. Why is everyone talking of Myopia control? What is Myopia? Lets us understand through this article on Myopia control. We have been learning about Myopia since school days. It is that condition of the eyes, wherein the vision for near is good but the distant objects are blurry. To rectify this, we visit an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist, who examines our eyes and writes the prescription for glasses. We then take this prescription to the Optician, who makes glasses. This gives us clear vision.

 

Why Myopia occurs? Myopia can be hereditary. If one parent is a Myope, the risk of child developing Myopia is 3 times and if both are Myopes then the risk is 6 times. Environmental factors such as reduced daylight exposure, less values of vitamin D, not enough outdoor time can influence the development of myopia adversely. Increased near activities such as reading, writing, using smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc can lead to Myopia progressing faster. Small degree of squint (especially hidden squint) can also lead to Myopia progression. Urban schools show more Myopia than rural schools hinting towards technology is making us more Myopic. Can we prevent Myopia? When a child is born he has plus power which gradually reduces as the eye ball increases in size and later stabilises at zero power. This is natural process.

 

However due to faulty lifestyle or hereditary factors this ‘zero’ happens at very early age and we progress towards minus. As heredity plays a strong role, it is best that a Myopic boy doesn’t marry a Myopic girl and vice versa. If the marriage happens, then understand the risks for the future child and expose him to day light for a minimum period of 90 min per day other than the school time (when he grows up a bit). Daylight helps secrete a chemical - Dopamine in the retina which plays a role in slowing down the Myopia increase. So to prevent Myopia, daylight (need not be sunlight) exposure is a must. Playing in open areas is very good. Eat healthy food, avoid junk food, sugars and too many carbs. Good health fights Myopia. Check your childs Vitamin D3. If not upto the desired level get it rectified. Exposure to UV rays in the sun may be useful. How can we correct Myopia? Normal spectacle lenses correct myopia and make the vision clear.

 

Contact lenses (regular ones) can be worn instead of spectacles for cosmetic reasons. However these do not control the progression of myopia and infact can contribute to increase the Myopia in most cases. Research has proven that the glasses that we wear most often, are the very reason for causing our prescription to increase. Also the power increase happens when we don’t wear glasses even though we need to. So should we wear glasses or not! Of course we should, but not the regular ones. The present glasses are more suited for rectangular shaped eye balls and not for the oval shape that our eyes have. Hence now specially designed spectacle lenses are available that can control the speed at which the minus power is increasing.

 

What is Myopia progression? Constant increase in the minus power (and eye ball length) is known as myopia progression. Some amount of increase in the power and length of the eye ball are normal, but when the numbers are more than the normal range, the chances for future Myopia related complications multiply by a huge factor. In the next part we shall understand why we need to control myopia and what are the risks if we don’t . (The author is an Optometrist at Saoji Vision Care, Nagpur. He can be contacted at [email protected])