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Ways to slow down myopia
Myopia, more commonly known as short sightedness or nearsightedness, begins quite early on for most people. It happens when the eyeball grows too long, causing objects to appear blurry in the distance. As one gets older, myopia becomes a growing problem to do with the eyeball. It gets worse as the eyeball keeps growing.
This eye condition can be hereditary but is also influenced by lifestyle factors. Myopia can have a detrimental effect on children's everyday life, hindering their ability to focus in a classroom or participate in sports. It can even cause eye health problems in the future if it progresses.
The following things can help to slow down the progression of myopia:
1. Turn off digital devices
Spending lots of time on digital devices can lead to the progression of nearsightedness. Today, children spend an increased amount of time in front of digital screens, be it performing work activities or playing games. While it's not realistic to ban these tools from children, limiting the amount of time they spend on them will help slow down myopia progression and reduce many other side effects including computer vision syndrome symptoms of which include:
2. Encourage outdoor play
Increased outdoor activity is a great way to get children off digital electronic devices. Not only are children more likely to engage in distance vision activities while spending time outdoors, but research also suggests that children who spend lots of time indoors, in dim light are more likely to be myopic. In addition to this, outdoor sunlight will activate vitamin D, which is crucial for eye health.
3. Multifocal contact lenses
It's a good idea to speak to your eye care practitioner regarding myopia. Children can wear glasses and contact lenses to help them see better if they are short sighted. Nevertheless, this won't necessarily slow down the progression of myopia, and they may need a stronger prescription as they get older. The American Optometric Association suggests that multifocal contact lenses or progressive lenses can slow down myopia in children. These types of contact lenses can also provide effective treatment of this refractive error.
4. Atropine eye drops
The opticians may also suggest atropine eye drops to slow down the progression of myopia. The high strengths of these eye drops can cause side effects, including light sensitivity and trouble reading. Low-strength drops are only available commercially in the United States.
Laser treatment has become a popular method of correcting myopia, but it will not slow down its progression. Laser eye surgery also carries potential risks such as dry eye, reduced night vision, seeing haze around bright lights and the removal of too much corneal tissue, leaving you with long sightedness instead. It is not recommended for anyone under the age of 21.
Orthokeratology, also known as corneal refractive therapy, is a procedure whereby one is required to wear gas permeable contact lenses (RGP lenses) for several hours in a day or while asleep to even out the curvature of the eye. Orthokeratology can correct myopia from -6.00 diopters and upwards. It can also slow down its progression.
Once the curvature of the eye evens out, the lenses are required for less time to maintain its shape. However, if you stop wearing these lenses, your eye will revert back to its old shape.
These types of contact lenses include brands such as Paragon Vision Sciences and Bausch & Lomb's Vision Shaping Treatment.
Can eye exercises cure myopia?
Eye exercises will not cure myopia as it is impossible for them to alter the shape of your corneas. Nevertheless, they can help to ease the symptoms of eye strain and can boost your overall eye health.
What foods reduce myopia?
As with eye exercises, certain foods will not reduce myopia; however, they can benefit your overall eye health. Whole foods and anti-inflammatory diets are essential to providing your eyes with the vitamins they need. A diet low in nutrient-dense foods can contribute to eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration.
You should take care to limit the following:
- Processed meats
- Foods with added sugars
- Fast food
- Excessive coffee and alcohol consumption
- Refined vegetable oils
- Processed grains (like white bread, rice and pasta)
Overconsumption of these foods can not only create adverse health conditions, but they can also damage your eyes.
You should fill your diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Take a look at our blog on 'Foods to eat for good eye health’ or follow our 'Easy recipes for eye health' for more ideas.
We may not be able to stop myopia; however, regular eye exams and taking care to implement the tips above will ensure that you're doing everything you can to keep your eyes healthy and slow down its progression.