What You Should Know About Myopia And How To Properly Treat This Eye Condition
Dr. John Ang of Essilor discusses the Myopia epidemic and how to prevent further eye damage
Worldwide, more than two billion people suffer from myopia, or simply, near-sightedness or short-sightedness. The alarming prevalence of this condition should be immediately addressed, with children and adults alike having difficulties seeing distant objects clearly. In the Philippines alone, about 40% of our population already have myopia, and by 2050, it is projected to raise up to 60%. We may experience blurred vision, but proper information and education on eye care and its treatment is something we should all be aware of.
Essilor, the world’s leading ophthalmic optics company, recently went to the country for the Asia Pacific Optometry Congress to discuss and spread the word about the rapid growth of myopia and what we can do to prevent its onset early on. Metro.Style got to talk with the President of The International Vision Academy & Vice-President for Education & Professional Services of Essilor Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Russia, and Africa, Dr. John Ang, on possible solutions for this eye condition and the practices we need to apply to our everyday life in order to avert further damage.
A common misconception that Dr. Ang would like to break is that myopia can be stopped. “No, it can’t. But it can be slowed down,” he says. Obscured eyesight can begin as early as 5 or 6 years old, mostly rooted from kids’ constant use of electronic gadgets. Without primary consultation, it can result in high myopia which leads to more diseases of the eye, including cataracts, retinal detachment, and possibly, blindness.
“We want parents to be aware that this is an epidemic and the potential issues and diseases that are associated with it. We also want to give them tips on how to prevent this myopia onset and progression properly and to make sure that they are aware of the solutions that are available today,” Dr. Ang shares.
So once your children started showing signs of developing myopia, immediately bring them to an optometrist. Dr. Ang advises to schedule your visit every six months. “Once myopia starts, it can go very fast, so we need to find solutions as early as possible,” the doctor explains. At home, monitor the little ones’ activities and make sure to train them in these three things: One, to be careful about the reading distance between the material and their eyes; Two, ask them to take an eye break every one and a half hours by looking at a far distance for at least 30 seconds, and; Three, to limit their screen time and instead let them play outdoors as sunlight helps in delaying the condition.
Another solution is Myopilux Max lenses developed by Essilor, a range of ophthalmic lenses that’s designed to both correct myopia and help slow down its progression in myopic children. It’s a non-invasive tool that has helped more than a million children in Asia over the last eight years. Dr. Ang also recommends Eyezen Blue Light Protection Lenses which helps with the vision and serves as protection against harmful blue light.
The ophthalmic optics company is currently engaging all optical clinics nationwide to provide information on myopia management and Myopilux, and hopefully by 2050, will be able to reach their goal for every myopic person to have access to myopia solutions.
“We cannot do it alone. We go together with different associations here to oversee screening. We go to the rural areas, give out free frames and lenses to people who need it, whatever little bit we can do to help the society,” Dr. Ang reveals.
Myopia is more than just wearing thick glasses, as the doctor says. It’s mandatory that we take action today -- and have one less person suffer for high myopia, one day at a time.