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MYOPIA - MYTHS & FACTS
There are two very important points we have to make. Firstly, Singapore is the Myopic Capital of the world and secondly, a lot of individuals, professionals, ophthalmic distributors, institutions and companies are trying to cash in on this fact.

Let's consider the facts. There is a genetic predisposition to Myopia, that causes the eye to grow too long for the visual system. The main trigger for this eye elongation (myopia increase) is blurred images falling on the retina (the back of the eye where the receptors lie and send images to the brain). This has been shown repeatedly in many studies. The progression of Myopia is multi-factorial and there are a lot more behavioral and environmental factors that are involved such as posture, reading too close, reading for prolonged periods, reading at an angle, reading when tired (which causes the reading material to go out of focus), poor lighting, general health, and diet just to name a few. When the eye has become myopic (eye too long for the visual system) there is no gadget, exercise program, acupuncture, chinese herbs or anything presently in the market to CURE this myopia. The only thing you can do to cure myopia is to correct the visual system by shrinking the eye (not an easy task), flattening the cornea either with Orthokeratology or surgery, or replacing the lens in the eye with the appropriate correction. When we come across these so called miracle cures of myopia this refers to False Myopia or Pseudo Myopia. Pseudo myopia is triggered off either by a muscle spasm or using incorrect spectacles. When an individual who does not need spectacles is given myopic spectacles they develop Pseudo Myopia, their eye muscles compensate for the incorrect prescription and they then become dependent on their spectacles to see. In these cases some of these gadgets and eye relaxation programs give the impression that they are correcting the myopia, but true myopia never really existed and a proper eye test by a trained eye care practitioner would have revealed this.

The public in their desperation to prevent their children’s myopia from getting worse are being short changed by numerous articles, advertising, and seminars.

With proper eye care and correctly prescribed spectacles, exercise programs, contact lenses and Orthokeratology, myopia increases can be kept to a minimum. Without high myopia the associated complications such as cataracts, retinal tears, detachments and glaucoma are less likely to occur.




EYE DROPS FOR MYOPIA
The use of Atropine and its derivatives to control Myopia has been documented since 1964. Everyone knows Atropine slows down Myopia increases but the problem lies in the immediate side-effects and the long term effects after prolonged use. Atropine causes the eye muscles to stop focusing at near and the pupils to dilate allowing in more light and dangerous levels of UV and infra-red. To compensate for these reactions to the drug, reading glasses or bifocals must be worn to allow the child to read, spectacles or sunglasses with UV protection must be worn outdoors. If the chld is prescribed bifocal or multi-focal glasses and they are not sitting properly, it will affect the child's reading and makes it more difficult for him or her to read comfortably thus affecting their school work. Other side effects in some children include burning and stinging on insertion, eczema around the lids, redness, conjunctivitis and glaucoma. The atropine which is absorbed into the blood stream, depending on the concentration, can cause (according to the listed side effects by the manufacturer), increased pulse rate, dryness of mouth and throat, loss of neuromuscular co-ordination, raised blood pressure and mental confusion.



NEUROVISION
This is a procedure where an individual is made to see customized targets on a computer monitor to stimulate the visual system. This however is not a cure for Myopia. Even the developers state very clearly that it cannot improve myopia but can improve your visual acuity (how well you see). If a child uses this treatment, which has yet to be adopted by the ophthalmic community world-wide, and perceives that he sees better and discontinues wearing his glasses, the blurred image falling on his retina will probably make his myopia increase more rapidly.



POINTS TO NOTE
  • While the task of finding an answer to the myopia problem is urgent, we should not compromise our children to long term experimental treatments, which require many more years of study to confirm their safety and long term effects.
  • The immediate action should be on processes or procedures which do not present safety issues such as improving and altering the working environment and habits of our young children, and providing them with a full eye examination to determine their exact needs and providing them with the proper visual aid required.
  • Even with the best eye examination, if the spectacles are not prescribed properly, such as incorrect lens positioning, incorrect lens curvatures, frame fitting and frame tilt, the correction may give blurred images which will lead to myopia increases.


 
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