The prevalence of myopia is only on the rise, with the World Health Organization stating that half of the world's population will be myopic by 2050. Despite it being so common there are still some misconceptions about the condition, below we discuss some of the common myths that people may have about myopia.
Myth 1: Myopia only affects children, not adults
Myopia typically starts in childhood, but it can progress well into adulthood and more recent studies have shown that it can still increase in adults.
It is important to take young children for regular eye examinations to check their vision and the health of their eyes. Early detection of myopia helps eye care practitioners to intervene sooner and hopefully prevent high myopia from occurring in later life.
Myth 2: Wearing contact lenses or glasses makes myopia worse
Wearing glasses or contact lenses does not cause the prescription (amount of myopia) to get worse. The amount of near work, time spent indoors, use of smartphones and other factors cause this.
Glasses and contact lenses are essential to make distance vision clear in myopia and avoid blurred vision. There are special new lens designs in glasses and contact lenses which not only correct myopia, but they also change the effect of the eyeball growing in response to peripheral blur on the retina.
Myth 3: There is no way to slow down the progression of myopia
Myopia cannot be cured or reversed, but the rate of progression can be significantly slowed and, when the myopia levels off in older age, the final size of the myopic prescription can be much lower than predicted without any intervention. In other words, there are methods available to reduce the risk to your child’s long-term sight.
Myth 4: Myopia will not cause blindness.
High myopia can, unfortunately, lead to sight impairment and severe sight impairment. Already in parts of South East Asia and Japan, complications from long-term high myopia in many people are leading to a large number of secondary eye conditions like glaucoma, cataract and most worryingly, MMD (Myopic Macular Degeneration).
In some areas in Japan, myopia is the leading cause of new blindness registrations.
This does not mean myopia will cause blindness. It does mean it needs to be taken seriously and there is much that can be done to lower your child’s risks of vision loss in later life. The most important thing is to go and see a specialist and get the right advice.
Myth 5: Contact Lenses are Dangerous for Children
Recent studies have actually shown that most younger children adhere to the correct protocols for looking after their contact lenses better than many adults! As long as children are given good supervision and they regularly see the eye care professional who prescribed them for check-up appointments, there should be no issues. Often, contact lenses for myopia management are an excellent option for children. They are clinically effective, provide a good clear vision for the wearer and allow more freedom to get outdoors and play sports.
If you're a parent whose child has been diagnosed with myopia, or if they are struggling with their distance vision, we hope you found MyopiaFocus helpful. Please join our community or sign our petition to get the government and NHS to recognise myopia as an ocular disease/serious ocular condition and fund myopia management for children.