Seeing the early signs of myopia

Headshot of Nicolette Barbas
Nicolette BarbasHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Optometrist Helen Binkes gives myopia affected teen Katherine Gaskell (13) her check-up
Camera IconOptometrist Helen Binkes gives myopia affected teen Katherine Gaskell (13) her check-up

Eyes at Australind will host a children’s myopia awareness day on Saturday as part of Myopia Awareness Week.

Children can have their eyes assessed by qualified optometrists and receive advice on how to best manage risks associated with children developing myopia.

Myopia, more commonly known as short-sightedness, is a condition where the eyeball continually expands and eventually outgrows the optics of the eye causing the distant vision to become blurry.

According to research undertaken by the Brien Holden Vision Institute it is predicted that by 2050 half of the global population will be short-sighted.

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Eyes at Australind optometrist Helen Brickes stressed the importance of being aware of short-sightedness as there were ways to treat it.

“Research has shown there are ways to prevent your short-sightedness from getting worse and having an eye test is the best way to get ahead of it,” Ms Brickes said.

“Around two years ago Cooper Vision released specifically designed myopia control contact lenses which have a dual focus design and aim to minimise hyper optic defocus which can happen when wearing normal glasses.

“Studies have shown that by wearing these contacts the progression of short-sightedness can be reduced by up to 70 per cent.”

Ms Brickes said often children were not aware they had short-sightedness.

“A lot of children we test do not realise they are struggling with their vision and think the blurriness they experience is normal and it is not until they enter Year 5 or 6 that they actually communicate this.”

Ms Brickes said modifying the environment a person worked in could delay the onset of short-sightedness.

“With our highly digital world children are spending more time on iPads than they are outside and we are noticing an increase in short sightedness.

“Doing a lot of close work and being indoors too much can increase your risk of being short-sighted.”

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