A SIX-year-old girl has become one of the first patients to receive pioneering treatment in Edinburgh that halts short-sightedness in children.
Maya Hynes was diagnosed with myopia when she was just four and her condition was deteriorating to such an extent that in a couple of years’ time her prescription would go from a -4 rating to -10, putting her at risk of retinal detachment.
She loves the freedom of not having to wear glasses all the time, they don’t fall off her noseJulie Hynes
But thanks to new treatment provided by Leith-based optician Clare Downes, Maya can now enjoy activities like snorkelling in Thailand on a family holiday, skiing and dancing without having to wear glasses.
Proud mum Julie Hynes from Dalgety Bay, said that Maya was the “driving force” behind getting the lenses and jumped at the chance to wear them.
She said: “From Maya’s point of view, she doesn’t necessarily understand that these contact lenses may help her sight in terms of stopping the myopia progressing.
“But she can put the contact lenses in easily and she loves the freedom of not having to wear glasses all the time – they don’t fall off her nose.
“She can see everything clearer, she does a lot of stuff – dancing, skiing and swimming – so she can now do all these things wearing her contact lenses as opposed to having to have specialist goggles.
“The last time I saw the opthalmologist he told me that the trajectory that Maya is on with her eyesight means that by the time it stops getting worse her prescription will be around -9 or -10.
“The hope is that by wearing these lenses it will stop it from progressing so quickly and I believe the myopia stops all together when the child becomes a young adult. So, hopefully by slowing down the progression her eyesight will never get to be the -10 level.”
The new treatment is not available on the NHS and costs around £42 per month with lenses for daily disposal to be worn six days a week for ten hours a day.
Clare said short-sightedness among children is on the rise in Scotland with too much near stimulus – the use of mobile phones, laptops and tablets partly to blame.
She said: “This is a brand new contact lense that has been made available but is not on global release yet and only seven practitioners in Scotland have been allowed to prescribe it. It’s specifically for children – the reason it came about is they reckon myopia, which is short-sighted and means you can’t see far away, is on the increase.
“There’s been decades of studies into why the whole world is becoming short-sighted and they have discovered the eye grows too long when you have myopia and you’re short-sighted because of this.
“The contact lense works by stopping the eye growing or stopping the stimulus for it to grow. It corrects the vision for seeing far away which is brilliant but it also acts as a treatment that stops the eyes growing.”