Myopia in the family
I'm Richard, a father of three and a HIGH myope. My wife, Emma, also suffers from myopia, but unfortunately and worryingly, two of our three children aged, 10, 8, already have myopia and our youngest, who is just 5, will be tested soon. Together, we're the Kadri-Langford's (the only KL's in the world - I'm pretty sure!)
Having suffered from myopia for over 25 years, my own eye health has recently begun to cause me some concern, and with my children already experiencing some of the frustrations of being short-sighted, I was lucky to meet Jason through my work at. With over 30 years in optometry, Jason introduced me to 'myopia management', and began to educate me about the subject. Together, we decided to take action and raise awareness of the myopia epidemic and provide a resource to help other parents - and thus www.myopiafocus.org was born and I also decided to blog about my own myopia management journey.
My Myopia Journey
Genetics and modern lifestyles are amongst the most important factors in the growing problem of increasing myopia levels. Children with myopic parents are at a higher risk and the problem will often worsen without intervention.
My eyesight has always been poor, but more recently, I have been having further problems that are causing me concern for my long-term eyesight. Like most people, my perception of myopia was that it wasn’t really something to worry about. It just meant that I was short-sighted and that I had to put up with wearing glasses and contact lenses. It was not until I met Jason and started finding out more about the increased long-term risks for my own eyesight caused by my high myopia of scary conditions including myopic macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinal detachment.
30 years - and not a word!
Having worn glasses for nearly 30 years, I was astonished to find out that myopia could actually be managed. With young children, I quickly realised I don’t want them to worry about this themselves, and certainly not if something can be done to minimise it. I can’t put a price on my children’s sight. Throughout all my years suffering from short-sightedness, no optician had ever said anything to me, and nor have they more recently for my children. This must change. Hopefully, through this campaign and the portal we are building, we can help other parents make more informed decisions about the future eye health of their children.”
How can you put a value on your children's future vision?
"Like most people, I was very much unaware that my children’s myopia could have serious implications for their future eyesight. It’s a horrible thought that they could one day develop a serious condition because they didn’t get the correct treatment now. The cost of myopia management is something we have to consider, but how can you put a value on your children’s future vision. You can’t.
It’s concerning that many other parents still don’t know about the condition and this needs to change. I think the NHS need to do more by screening for myopia across UK schools from the age of 4 to 5 and financial support for myopia management for those families who need it.
I feel lucky to have found out now that there is something we can do, and am looking forward to discussing the best treatment options for my children with our myopia specialist Bhavin Shah.”
A lifelong impact
I’m excited to use my knowledge and experience in myopia management to make a life-long positive impact on Richard and his family. I am increasingly seeing more children presenting with myopia, and at an earlier age. We have successfully helped hundreds of children over the past 5 years to slow down the rate of deterioration in their sight but there are so many more who need help to protect their vision. Clearly, the awareness of myopia management and how to protect children’s sight needs to be more widely spread. I am proud to be a member of the Myopia Focus advisory committee and hopefully by documenting the journey of the Kadri-Langford’s we can increase awareness of the condition and the need for solutions tailored to each child.”