Davina Dosanjh is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the industry and is now the proud owner of Richard Petrie Optometrists. Her expertise and passion in educating parents on the various myopia management options out there make her a valuable contributor at Myopia Focus.
Many parents are unaware that slowing down the progression of their child's shortsightedness is a possibility. In response to this Davina has written the below article on what parents and their child can expect from a myopia management consultation.
We can now inform families with lifestyle advice and healthy visual tips; we can rely on the science to access real products that can help our children’s long-term eye health and vision.
If you are hearing about Myopia Management for the first time, do not be fooled that this is ‘new’ territory. Research and clinical trials have been going on for decades to lead to the products we now have access to, based on evidence to help us be relevant when monitoring eye growth in children.
What should I ask during my consultation?
If you have found a practice who have experience and an interest in Myopia Management, you would hope that most of your questions are answered and go away feeling informed but with choices to make.
It is important to include your child in the conversation about their vision and eyes and important that your Optometrist does the same. Even when relatively young, most children understand what it means when they are told that they “need to wear glasses” … and often they follow this with “will I need them forever!?” or something along those lines.
We can explain directly to them that they need glasses to see better but also to keep their eyes healthy. We can liken the conversation around things they are familiar with, such as their ‘eyes are growing, just like their feet grow’ when they are young and that we want to ‘measure how much they grow’ and that by ‘wearing their glasses they can help this especially when they wear a special lens’.
You will be informed if your child is short-sighted or myopic and whether this has progressed or not. This could be according to their prescription but also, more accurately, AXIAL LENGTH, which is the length of the eyeball. It is this eyeball growth that leads to long-term visual risks with myopia and especially high myopia.
Axial length is measured using technology specifically designed for this. Measurements are taken quickly and easily without any pain or contact. This is the best way to assess the actual length of the eye and monitor its growth if it is repeatedly measured. Used alongside growth curves, we can assess growth and rate of change and how this compares to children’s eye growth based on their age, much like height or weight is assessed for babies. This provides us with an initial prognosis of where their myopia will be in years to come without any intervention and then we can plan treatments around this risk level.
What are my options?
If a new prescription or the first pair of glasses are needed, you will have some options. The options would be discussed based on the following factors.
Your child’s prescription
Age and capabilities
We also encourage all parents to enforce the '30:30:out’ rule:
limit close work outside of school to 30 minutes before a break, hold any close reading material at least 30cm from viewing distance and get OUTDOORS in daylight each day for at least 90 minutes.
The table below is a very simple summary of the current options you will most frequently come across.
Vision is clearer when worn
Can treat eye growth
Appropriate for all ages
Single Vision standard lenses
Myopia Management Spectacle Lenses
Myopia Management Contact Lenses
Orthokeratology (overnight contact lenses)
There are many parent and child-friendly resources that your Optometrist can point you towards as well as providing leaflets and being available to answer any questions you have.
I would expect that your initial consultation to cover all of the above and answer any queries would mean that your initial consultation is around 45 minutes long.
Always contact your Optometrist to answer any further queries to satisfy yourself that you have made the best decision for your family.
Spread the word
If you notice children in your extended family or in your child’s class are now wearing glasses, ask their parents if they know about myopia management to spread awareness as this message still needs to go wider.
Let your child’s teacher know that they are wearing spectacles which are also a treatment so they need to be worn full-time and fit correctly and this will also help them to learn about the longer-term eye health benefits of myopia management since teachers are often the first to spot vision changes.
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/severe ocular condition and fund myopia management for children.