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Prevent Myopia, Part IV: How to Prevent Myopia

Thursday, March 26, 2009 by: Donald Rehm
Tags: 5999 Medium, news, trends

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(NewsTarget) Previous articles in this series presented evidence that myopia is not inherited as generally believed but is caused by the prolonged close work we do in a modern society. The usual treatment we receive from eye doctors ignores this fact. The result is often steadily-increasing myopia which can lead to more serious vision problems. Therefore, if there is a way to prevent this, it should be of interest to everyone.

Once you understand that acquired myopia is caused by focusing too long on close objects, the solution should be apparent. Just put something in front of the eyes that does the focusing for us, so that the eyes can be relaxed even though doing close work. That marvelous invention is no further away than on the rack of reading glasses for $10 at your local drugstore.

Those glasses are mainly intended for those who are having trouble seeing close objects clearly as they get older. This happens to all of us and the fancy name for it is presbyopia. The lenses of our eyes become less flexible as we age. So we need some assistance when reading. These glasses come in various "plus" powers. That just means that they are convex, or thicker in the middle than at the edge. This is also the shape of the lens of the eye. So such glasses do the work that the eye can no longer do.

The ONLY way to prevent myopia is to provide our children with similar reading glasses that TOTALLY eliminate the need to accommodate (focus up close) when doing close tasks such as reading or using computers. Such glasses make the eyes relaxed, as if looking into the distance. Just as we wear shoes to protect our feet from an unnatural environment, we must wear glasses to protect our eyes from the unnatural environment of prolonged close work.

Most people know that subjecting our ears to louder noises than they were designed to handle will permanently destroy our hearing. Then why is it so difficult to understand that subjecting our eyes to a close-up environment they were not designed to handle will destroy our vision?

There are two basic types of lenses. Minus (concave) lenses are usually prescribed for myopia. These are thinner in the center than at the edge. They bring the world closer and cause the myopia to increase, especially when they are used for close work. Plus (convex) lenses are sold in drugstores to assist in close work. They are shaped like the lens of our eye and push the world farther away.

Reading glasses are chosen for the individual, just like the drugstore reading glasses for older adults. A child who is just starting to become myopic needs +3 readers. A myopic child who is already at the -1 level needs +2 readers, etc. By wearing readers that are 3 diopters more positive than the distance prescription, a book can be held at the normal distance and the eyes will be focused for distance. This is called a +3 "add." The book should be pushed away so that the text just starts to blur. This is an indication that the ciliary muscle is being forced to relax. This is called "reading at the far point" or "the fogging technique." Some optometrists use this technique on their OWN children, but say nothing about it to their customers.

If the child is already myopic, it is also beneficial to go without glasses for distance. If minus lenses are needed for some reason, they should be weaker than a full prescription. This will provide a slight blur for distance, which helps relax the eyes. Ideally, the child should see a slight blur all day long. If that can be done, the ciliary muscle spasm should relax in a few days.

As the ciliary spasm relaxes, up to one diopter of myopia can be eliminated. It may be necessary to change to stronger plus as the vision improves, in order to still get the blur when reading and not have to hold the book too far away. Once the maximum improvement has been obtained, those readers should be used through the school years and into the twenties. As we age, the eyes become less responsive to the damaging close work. At that time, the readers may no longer be necessary. They can be put in a drawer and saved for later years when needed to overcome presbyopia. While very young children need readers in a child`s frame, older children can use the drugstore readers. Think about that - one pair of protective glasses for a lifetime. Is it any wonder that the optical industry is not enthusiastic about the idea?

If the ciliary muscle spasm has led to an actual overelongation of the eye, there is no way to shrink the eye back to normal length. That is why prevention is so important.

Isn`t it strange that you cannot buy minus lenses for myopia off-the-rack in drugstores, just like plus lenses for presbyopia? Could it be that the authorities who regulate such matters know that plus lenses are harmless but that minus lenses are dangerous and sight-destroying? If so, why are they keeping this knowledge from the public? The irony is that it is the doctors themselves who are using these lenses in a harmful way.

You are not likely to get any help from eye doctors if you want to prevent myopia in your family. You will also not get any help from the mass media or the government. If you are unable to get an eye doctor to provide the lenses you need, there are numerous online vendors that will sell you glasses without a prescription. You must use the information which is readily available online to educate yourself and take charge.

The Myopia Myth (book)

About the author

Donald Rehm is president of the International Myopia Prevention Assn., with headquarters in Ligonier, PA. He is the author of the book, "The Myopia Myth - The truth about nearsightedness and how to prevent it." The book can be read on his website http://www.myopia.org . There you will find everything you need to prevent myopia in your family as well as his analysis of why this information is being withheld from the public.

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