Prescription Eyedrops for Myopia
Myopia in Singaporean Children
Myopia is known most common visual impairment by far in Singapore. Statistics show that by the age of 12, up to 65% of Singaporean children develop myopia. The number of children suffering from myopia today is more we have ever had in the previous years. With the advent of modern life involving an increasing use of digital devices such as computer screen and smartphones, coupled with a growing need for digital literacy to perform in today’s society, it has become imperative that we take all the steps we can to ensure good eye health in our children.
What is Myopia (Short-sightedness)?
Myopia is caused by an elongation of the eyeball, resulting in the inability to focus on far objects properly. This poorly focussed light when projected onto the retina, is translated by our brains as a blurred image – hence the blurred vision. The condition starts during the patients’ growing years as children and is observed even as early as during the infantile years. As such, we cannot stress more the importance of detecting myopia as early as we can. Early detection and management of myopia can reduce the loss of visual acuity and help to avoid many complications and conditions associated with severe myopia.
In the long term, high degrees of myopia can increase the risk and likelihood of the patient developing conditions that may eventually result in blindness. You may have come across some of these complications — retinal detachment, glaucoma and even increases the risk of developing cataracts early. Research has shown, with a higher the degree of myopia in a person, a corresponding increase in risk of developing these conditions can be observed.
Causes of Myopia
It has been found that the likelihood of myopia developing in a child has a great deal to do with genes. If you and your spouse both suffer from myopia, studies have shown that there is a near 1-in-3 chance that your child could suffer from myopia as well.
Another cause has to do with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. This type of light naturally occurs in sunlight. A study in 2008 showed that children that played outside more and exposed to higher levels of UV light were less likely to have myopia.
Symptoms of Myopia
Blurred vision can lead to squinting, repeated eye rubbing or excessive blinking. The child may also habitually move closer to the television while watching.
Being on the alert for these behaviours can help detect myopia development early and allow for timely management and treatment for your child. Contact your eye doctor or specialist for an eye examination if you should spot the above symptoms and behaviours in your little one.
Prescription Eye Drops as Myopia Treatment
Studies have shown that prescription eye drops are able to slow down the progression of myopia by approximately half! This is substantial considering if a child had the genetic predisposition to be ‘1000 degrees’ myopic, prescription eye drops could potentially reduce that half at ‘500 degrees’. This difference is significant as it could mean saving your child from the complications of Myopia degeneration in future.
Dosage and side-effects
Once diagnosed and deemed a medical necessity, the doctor may order a course of eye drops to deter the progression of myopia in your child. These eye drops are only available via prescription in Singapore.
Previously, these eye drops were used at concentrations of 1% and 0.125%. At this dose, there are effects such as glare from light and difficulty focusing on near objects requiring the need for bifocal glasses for reading. Currently, we use prescription eyedrops at the 0.01% dose, which is just as effective in Myopia prevention and without all the unwanted side-effects.
It is important to have your child assessed before considering these eyedrops as not all children are suitable for these eye drops. Be sure to consult closely with your eye doctor or specialist and never take matters into your own hands.
At Asia Retina, we take great pride and joy in managing and bringing the best in eye health and care to our next generation.