In Spain, about 1.4 million children under 15 suffer from myopia, one in five, and the figure, which already falls into the category of pandemic, does not stop growing.
According to WHO, as the world grows, we have a worse vision and it is estimated that by 2050 myopia can affect half of the population world. It is urgent, therefore, to remedy and act from very early ages to, although it still cannot be reversed, minimize its effects.
Luckily, more and more advanced technologies are available to prevent its progression, such as MiSigth contact lenses. Francisco Javier Hurtado, a doctor specializing in Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, head of the Rementería Infantil Clinic section, told us about these and other available technologies.
What is myopia?
Myopia is a vision defect that prevents those who suffer from seeing sharply distant objects. This defect causes the eye to enlarge and, as we grow, the eye also grows with us, so the diopters of myopia increase so much during childhood. The causes of myopia can be congenital, that is, a vision defect with which one is born and that is inherited from parents between 40 and 60%, or environmental, which seems to be the main cause of the increase in myopia In recent years, “if I am working all the time with things closely: reading, studying, with the mobile… I will have more possibilities of developing myopia. Therefore, myopia is closely related to the educational and economic level of a country, ”says Dr. Hurtado
How is it treated?
Until a few years ago, myopia, both in children and adults, it was only about prescribing a glasses or contact lenses to correct the vision they graduate as diopters grow. And once myopia has stopped progressing, adults can undergo laser surgery to correct it.
Today it is still being done, but luckily, now new technologies are available to limit the progression of myopia. One of them is the CooperVision MiSight contact lenses, which are used in children promise to reduce the progression of myopia up to 59%. As Dr. Francisco Javier Hurtado told us, these lenses have a special design “that makes it a bifocal lens, that is, it focuses both far and near. The design resembles that of a target in which the center of the lens is designed and graduated to see from afar, the next ring, to see up close, the next to see from afar … and so as we move away from the center. That causes the people who wear them to see well because the graduation in the center is correct, but at the same time it causes a kind of 'blur' in certain areas of the retina to deceive the eye and not grow, does not produce more eye lengthening and more myopia, ”he explains.
These lenses are recommended only during childhood, as they are intended to reduce the progression of myopia, something that no longer occurs in adulthood, “in adults myopia no longer progresses, only at the cost of making a lot of effort closely, for example, in case you are preparing oppositions or things like that, and because at that age the eye no longer grows. We must act at the time when the eye grows, which is before. ” Specifically, the best time is between 8 and 12 years old, "because it has been shown that they are the years when myopia increases the most, but I also use them in younger children if I see that they will be able to put on the contact lenses and in older children who are still increasing diopters. The sooner, the better, ”he says. In addition, contrary to what we may think, especially the parents of children, these adapt perfectly to the use of contact lenses, moreover, 9 out of 10 prefer them to glasses.
Why it is important to stop it
Francisco Javier Hurtado laments that there are still few who take this technology into account, “there is still little knowledge among professionals who have to recommend it, and it is very important that they know it to inform parents of the options they have for stop myopia, it is not enough to put on your glasses ”. And, since it is not yet possible to reverse myopia, believes that it is very important to put everything in our hands to improve the quality of life of those who suffer, “with these lenses, will continue to be an adult with myopia, but with less diopters.
Today it is only corrected by operating, and you have to wait for adulthood to do so. The idea, with this treatment and others, is for the adult to have the least possible graduation, because each diopter is not only having to wear more or less fat glasses, but also a increased risk of other associated problems, such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment and myopic maculopathy, which can cause blindness. "
To get it from children, professionals now have other treatments that, combined, are giving very good results, such as “lenses that are worn only at night, correct the curvature of the cornea and help slow the progression of myopia and medical treatments in the form of drops based on atropine at very low doses. ”
Through these treatments, we can make myopia progress more slowly and, therefore, diopters in adulthood are less. In addition, these treatments will have to combine with a proper lifestyle, which consists of two simple tips “not getting too close to looking at them and being at least two hours a day outdoors, because both the ultraviolet light and looking far away prevents the growth of myopia. ”
Measures that Doctor Hurtado recommends to the entire population even if they do not suffer from myopia to preserve an optimal view as long as possible.