Myopia Control Therapy, Vision for Learning

Myopia Control Therapy

Bridgman Eyecare now have specialist methods to reduce the rate at which children become more shortsighted.  These are:
Orthokeratology: see Contact Lens Specialists for more information;
Atropine 0,.01% eye drops
: see Myopia Control with an Eyedrop ... lable in Dunedin and Balclutha
MySight 1 Day myopia Management soft contact lenses (available September 2017)

Why control the progression of myopia (short sightedness)?  
Because myopia increases the risk of many eye diseases, and the risk increases with more  of myopia.  If we control (slow) the rate at which the myopia gets worse then we can achieve a lower final (adult) amount of myopia, reducing not only the disease risk but also the reliance on glasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery for myopia.

How well is this proven to work, and are there alternatives?
Studies which treated only one eye have shown a slowing of myopia progression of about 60% in the treated eye compared to the untreated one for Atropine 0.01% amd the MySight lenses.    This is not quite as effective as orthokeratology (again, see our website) but probably has less risk of a rebound effect when treatment is stopped.
Multifocal soft contact lenses are also shown to reduce the rate of progression.  We currently are investigating becoming stockists of a new lens which is the best proven example of this design, specifically aimed at fitting childrens’ eyes for myopia control.
We also recommend that children spend on average two hours outside per day, this might be 6 hours in the summer and not at all on a cold winter’s day but time outdoors reduces the risk of myopia. It’s fine to wear sunglasses, and remember your hat and sunblock too.
Having a regular short break during long periods of reading might help in theory too, although this is not experimentally proven.  Long periods of reading can thin the Choroid, a layer at the back of the eye, and make it temporarily more myopia.  We are not sure whether this becomes permanent or is reversible. Taking a 20 second look out the window every 20 minutes during close work can reduce the choroidal thinning.
In fact the best way to control myopia may be a combination of several of the above – time outside doing distance vision things, plus atropine, plus either multifocal contact lenses or orthokeratology.  It really depends on what is affordable for each family, and on how each individual child takes to each option.

Clear Vision for Better Learning

We all want to make the best choices in life for our children. If you have any concerns about your child’s success at school then a full vision assessment should be one of the first things you seek. Bridgman Eyecare's offices are the only place in Otago-Southland providing all of the following:
- Initial eye assessment including screening for visually related learning disabilities;
- Treatment of a lazy eye with patching or eyedrops;
- Prescribed tints in glasses for Meares-Irlen syndrome (Visual stress);
- Orthokeratology for control of myopia (Dunedin only).

We also are usually able to provide these services, including glasses, at little or no charge to families holding a Community Services Card. So give us a call now and find out what we can do to help your child get the most out of their school day.

Meares- Irlen syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity syndrome, or Visual Stress

This condition was first reported in 1980 by a New Zealand teacher, Olive Meares and many published studies on both the Irlen(R) Institute and Cerium branded lens tints have shown success in It is a condition where visual stress occurs when a page of black and white text is viewed.   A similar type of Visual Stress can frequently cause light-triggered headache and/or epilepsy.  Symptoms from all of these conditions can often be significantly reduced, without side-effects, by the use of coloured Tech Tint lenses.

The words may appear to blur or move on the page, and it usually results in one or more of the following problems:
  • Skipping or re-reading lines
  • Reversing words, or confusing similar words with each other (for example "of","for" and "from" may be confused with each other)
  • Tiredness and aversion to reading
  • Poor spelling and writing
  • General lack of academic progress, despite normal focus, intelligence, and verbal skills
  • Diagnosis of dyslexia.
It is frequently linked with a family or personal history of migraine, which is also frequently caused by visual stress and treated with similar tinted lenses.

Please use this link for a full explanation:

Testing for Visual Stress (aka Meares- Irlen Syndrome)

This is carried out by David Bridgman at either of our branches.

Firstly, a thorough history is taken. You will be asked questions about your or your child's family and personal history of eye problems, general health, and developmental level.

Next, a routine check of eye health and focus is carried out. This is essential in order to rule out errors of focus such as hyperopia (long-sightedness), eye movement problems such as convergence insufficiency and poor tracking, and eye health problems such as congenital malformations and amblyopia (lazy eye).

Thirdly David will use a specific reading test to check for signs of visual stress. If such signs are present then a screening test is generally carried out with coloured overlays. These are transparent coloured sheets of plastic with a matt finish which are placed over a page of text. A reduction in the symptoms of blur and/or movement of the text is a positive result, and this is then further tested with a repeat of the reading test with the overlay over the text.

In younger children, David usually suggests a trial of the overlay for a month or two before returning for another test before tinted spectacle lenses are prescribed.

In older children, adults, and where the overlay has been shown to be of definite benefit in younger children, he will carry out computerised testing or use the Cerium Intuitive Colorimeter to determine the optimum colour and density of tinted lenses. This procedure uses the Colour Response Assessment software, and is rapid and very accurate. In our opinion it enables the most accurate prescribing of tints.  As it takes only around ten minutes, it can be much less stressful for oyung children than other methods of finding the correct tint.

These lenses have been very successful. We have a lot of very positive feedback and repeat prescriptions for them, whether they are prescribed for reading problems or for headaches.


Our usual examination fee, frame and lens prices apply. See our Prices page for current details. Children under 16 years of age may be eligible for a Government subsidy. Please see for specific requirements.

Other Reading Assistance and Therapy:

An excellent reading tutor can be found in Adele Hibbs at The Reading Room, Invercargill, and at Number Works and Words in Dunedin.

We recommend The Learning Staircase for software which can be used at home.  It is also used and recommended by many schools in this area.

Please note the following:
We are not linked to Perceptual Development Corporation of California USA, holders of the Irlen trademark, in any way.  Our lenses are prescribed and manufactured in New Zealand, using locally developed software, and no fees are payable to any overseas company.

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