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Reader request: questions about extreme and possibly progressive myopia

May 31, 2012 28 comments

Penguin has a daughter with extreme, and possibly  posted some questions about her daughter who has extreme and progressive myopia.  She’s hoping to connect with other parents who are facing a similar issue with their child and has a lot of questions.  Here’s her post.  - Ann Z

 I hope that other parents dealing with extreme myopia might be able to offer some pearls of wisdom!

I’m the mother of two little ones with glasses. My son who is five was diagnosed as nearsighted (myopic) at the age of two and started wearing glasses. We weren’t very surprised as both my husband and I wear glasses and have done from an early age and after the first tricky couple of weeks he wore them happily. In the last three years or so his prescription has jumped every year and is currently at -5.75 in his left eye and -5.00 in his right. I am not too worried about him as he has very good corrected sight, although I do worry that his prescription will continue to worsen.

When my daughter (who has just turned three) was six months old, we realised that she was not tracking and her pediatrician referred us to a PO. And then we got the shock of our lives – she was severely myopic, even more than my husband and I. Our PO told us that it was probable that she had congenital myopia and she started wearing glasses right away, although she wouldn’t really keep them on until she was a little older. The doctor wated to see her every three months initially and unfortunately her prescription has increased almost every time. Her prescription is currently at -18.5 -1 x 120 in her left eye and -19.75 -0.75 x 120 in her right eye.

We are very worried about her as we have been told that she is at a high risk of retinal detatchment and that she should avoid any activity that could mean she would bang her head – not easy when she is that age! Do you have any advice? S

I’m also so afraid of her future – we have been told that it is possible that she has progressive myopia. Even if her sight does become stable now, it is likely to become worse as she enters puberty. Her PO has recommended bifocals to help to slow progression – does anyone have any experience of this? Do you have any other tips to slow progression?

I have so many questions – I would be so grateful if anyone could help:

  • How do you keep your children from banging their heads, not doing sport etc? I’m so paranoid about her having a retinal detachment.
  • What do you do about swimming? Her brother has prescription goggles but I obviously can’t get her any in her prescription so she refuses to go anywhere but the shallow end where she can keep her glasses on. I understand that her sight is truly terrible without them and that she is to all intents and purposes blind without them (as am I without mine!) but I would love her to be able to learn to swim.
  • Do you know about lenticular lenses? Her PO has said that if her prescription increases much more, she will need to wear myodiscs or lenticular lenses? What are they and will they make her look very different? I’m so used to seeing her minimized eyes that it doesn’t bother me at all, but I’m very aware that she will be going to school soon.
  • What different approaches can we put in place when she starts school to ensure that she learns well? I somewhat doubt that she will be able to see the board unless she sits right at the front and I think that she will need some of the worksheets and books enlarged so she can read them properly? This is also where I think that bifocals could be helpful? Does anyone have any experience of them?
  • Are there any other adaptations around the house that I could make that would make living with low vision easier for M?
  • Also, are bifocals useful at much lower prescriptions too? My son B (whose prescription is only -5.75 and -5.00 is 5 years old and reads all the time – he’s never without a book! I’m aware that this could affect his sight (which has worsened every year since he started wearing glasses at the age of 2 (only -2.75 and -2.50 at that time). He is very bright and a year ahead at school so I don’t wish to stop his reading, just don’t want to make his eyes worse either!
  • And finally (I promise!) – does anybody have any experience of degenerative or progressive myopia? I am so scared that this might be what my daughter has – she is only just three and yet her vision is so poor even when corrected and has continued to worsen since she first got glasses.

Any advice would be so welcome,

- From a very worried Mama

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