Liverpool opticians combats ‘ticking timebomb’ of eye health epidemic in children
A leading independent opticians in Liverpool is striving to raise awareness of a treatment to help manage short-sightedness in children.
Silverberg Opticians, based in Whitechapel, has invested in specialist equipment and training to offer myopia management, a highly specialised treatment that is not yet available at most high street opticians.
Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, affects one in five teenagers across the country – double the number 50 years ago. Experts have warned this figure is likely to grow further in the next 30 years.
The condition can lead to an increased risk of several eye-related complications such as myopic maculopathy that could eventually result in visual impairment or even blindness.
Colin Dorricott, director at Silverberg Opticians, said: “Myopia is when people can see objects close to them clearly, but far away is blurry. Children can often have a mild prescription, and as their eyes grow their prescription increases and their myopia gets worse.
“Myopia management is a way of trying to slow it down while it is still low. This can be provided with specialist contact lenses or spectacle lenses, depending on what’s best for the patient.
“We are on a mission to help the city’s vision. Myopia management is a way of trying to improve a young patient’s quality of life for the rest of their life.”
Research has revealed an increase in the number of children growing up in urban areas who develop short-sightedness. While traditional glasses and soft contact lenses can correct the condition, until now, they have been unable to slow its rate of progression but specialist myopia management products are now available to change that.
Mr Dorricott added: “Myopia is becoming a global epidemic, with the potential for half the world’s population to be affected by 2050. That is a ticking timebomb for eye health. We need to act now to help future generations.
“Children as young as three or four can be affected, and their chances of being short-sighted are significantly increased if either parent has myopia. If we can spot the signs early we can help prevent more serious issues further down the line.”
Environmental factors can also play a significant role in whether a child develops myopia or not, with parents advised to increase the time children spend playing outdoors and reduce screen time on tablets and computer games.
Silverberg Opticians is offering a free myopia management assessment to any child or young person irrespective of whether or not they are an existing patient to gauge their suitability and, if necessary, discuss potential treatment pathways.
Anyone interested will need an up-to-date prescription, either from Silverberg Opticians or elsewhere, and preferably an older prescription to compare it to.
Meanwhile, director of the company Ian Silverberg has recently celebrated 50 years in the industry, having followed his father Harold into the family business in 1972.
He said: “Some of my patients I see now have been coming since they were 12, and now they’re bringing in their kids who are 15 and 16. It makes me feel very old.
“I think they keep coming back because they feel like a part of the practice. We talk about their families, our families; they’re definitely more like friends.”
For more information visit: https://www.silverbergopticians.co.uk/myopia-control