As an optometrist, I am asked many questions about the eyes and vision every day in my practice. One question that has always been extremely hard to answer is, “How bad is my vision going to get?” While I answer them to the best of my ability, there are so many factors that determine how poorly we see or end up seeing. I’ve usually told patients (you may have gotten this answer as well) that “I can’t really know for sure how much your prescription will progress”, and to remind them to come in annually for a comprehensive exam so I can monitor the changes.
Just recently, however, I have been able to offer patients research and evidence-based testing data on eyesight changes over time. Based on the patient’s age and level of prescription, I can now predict how likely it is that the patient will become more nearsighted, with or without treatment.
The Brien Holden Vision Institute in Australia has created a ‘myopia calculator’ that is changing the way we can approach the growing public health issue of nearsightedness (myopia): https://calculator.brienholdenvision.org/. The calculator and research show that the earlier the onset of myopia, the higher the prescription will become. The calculator demonstrates how the many standard treatment options could slow down the myopia and even predict by how much.
What this means for eye care professionals is that we now can help formulate a plan for our myopic patients to include trying to prevent the condition from worsening.
What this means for the patients is that with data-backed research and trends in younger generations, it is very important to start monitoring vision early and often. Getting a comprehensive eye exam every year and starting treatment quickly is the key. In between exams, use the EyeQue Insight for a fast assessment of your ability to see 20/20. Vision can change rapidly, especially at younger ages; monitoring these changes can help you get new glasses when you need them, and take action right away.
We know there is a coming epidemic of myopia. By the year, 2050, it is predicted that over half of the world’s population will be nearsighted. As an Optometrist, I can now confidently predict, treat and monitor changes in eyes to try to slow down these prescription changes. You can, too. Report changes in your eyeglass numbers and your vision to your doctor. Together, we can all make an impact.