This is a big deal for me. Short-sightedness (myopia) is a big issue right now, and it's getting worse at an exponential rate. I could talk about it for hours! And write so much here you'd fall asleep before you were halfway through. If you want to know more, then a great place to go is the Myopia Control Awareness website. It's run by parents, for parents. Go and have a look. I'll wait...
What is myopia management?
What we're talking about here is slowing down short-sightedness in children and young adults. It's a big subject - too much to write about here. I'm happy to talk to people all about it with no cost and no obligation to buy anything. Just get in touch. The basic idea is to stop patients from becoming very short-sighted, and to protect the future health of their eyes.
My story with myopia management
I was a very early adopter when it comes to myopia management (previously known as myopia control). I've been doing it for over a decade. Considering most high street multiple opticians still aren't doing myopia management even now, this is something I've very proud of.
There are multiple different types of glasses lenses and contact lenses that exist now to help slow down short-sightedness. This was not always the case, but even before these options existed I was prescribing contact lenses for myopia management. They were what we term 'off-label', meaning that we were not using them for the purpose for which they were originally designed, but if it helped to slow down short-sightedness and I had no other option, then that's what I did. My choices were always backed up with science and good evidence. Even now with far more options available to me, sometimes I still go 'off-label' in some circumstances. I am short-sighted myself, and so is my wife. We have two young children. The chances are that in future they'll be short-sighted too. I try to treat every child as if they were my own - whatever it takes top help them, that's what we'll do.
I have ensured that I am accredited to fit various options to slow down myopia, whether it be glasses, day contact lenses, or night lenses.
This Brilliant Futures campaign is by the contact lenses company Coopervision. I actually presented an online lecture for parents on behalf of Coopervision. I still have the presentation, so if you'd like to see it send us a message via WhatsApp or email and I can forward it on. If you book in to see me you can see it live!
What can you do as a parent?
All children should have their eyes tested, even if there's no history of eye problems or short-sightedness in the family. If one or both parents are short-sighted then it's even more important, and ideally at age 6 your child should have a cycloplegic refraction. This is where drops are put into the child's eyes. Some practices will perform this as part of an NHS test. Some will not. If you are happy to pay to be seen privately then book in to see me.
What if my child is short-sighted?
Don't fret. As I said, I'm passionate about this so I'm happy to chat with you about it with no charge and no commitment to purchase anything. The good news is that there are optometrists like me (although not as many as I think there should be) that are here to help slow the progression of short-sightedness. The other good news is that if you're old enough to have kids then these options simply didn't exist when you or I were children - now they do!
What age will it work until?
That's very hard to say. It will be different for each patient. Often eyes will continue to be become more short-sighted until the patient's mid-twenties. So myopia management isn't just for kids. If you are short-sighted and lucky enough to be in you teens or early twenties, contact us and we can talk about it.