Jason Higginbotham, BSc (Hons) MCOptom
Optometrist & Managing Editor, Myopia Focus
A new parent-focused portal is launched to increase awareness of childhood myopia, what it really is and what you should be doing about it.
Myopia (short-sightedness) affects one in three people in the UK; however, it is now twice as common as in the 1960s. Of the 5 billion people globally predicted to be myopic by 2050, 1 billion will have ‘high myopia’, which can cause serious eye problems later in life including complications that could lead to blindness. The latest research highlights an association between screen time and the progression of myopia, with optometrists seeing a sharp rise in the number of children struggling to see the board at school.
Raising awareness among parents
The crisis has led Optometrist Jason Higginbotham to launch MyopiaFocus.org, a parent-focused education portal to raise awareness of the myopia epidemic, highlight the risks and treatment options and, ultimately, connect parents with local myopia management specialists.
For too long now, myopia has just been
dealt with by prescribing glasses.
Higginbotham says, “I’ve launched this campaign because I am concerned at the lack of understanding and support for what is going on with children’s eyes right now. Increased use of screens, close work and lack of outdoor time have been proven to have led to higher rates of myopia.”
“For too long now, myopia has just been dealt with by prescribing glasses. The problem is, this does nothing to control the increased risks of eye health problems associated with ‘axial-length myopia’ — caused when children’s eyeballs grow too long — and is known to account for the majority of all myopia. The good news is there are myopia management treatments available — unfortunately, not enough parents know about them,” Higginbotham continues.
“We want to highlight the urgent need for proactive myopia management. A personalised care plan can significantly decrease the progression of myopia in children by as much as 50%. As people are unaware that eye tests in schools are limited — unless parents act and have their child’s eyes tested — myopia may go undetected.”
He concludes: “If you or your child are myopic, visit your local optician and ask them about myopia management for your child.”