When I turned 11 years old, I also entered grade 6. In China, it's a year when you actually study more than 5.5 days a week. I would go in Saturday afternoon to study as well, to prepare for the final exams for high school.
The final exams for all courses, and total mark would determine your fate, to enter a very good high school, an average high school, or a below average high school. So apparently the pressure was on. I really didn't feel it, since my mother also found out that year that we are moving to Canada with my brother, to join my father in Toronto.
But at any rate, I studied six days a week, reading, doing math equations, memorizing English words, doing homework during recess, and after school, just like any other hard working grade six Chinese students in China. I got my final marks in June, my mother and some teachers got to smile for a bit, and I moved to Canada with my family.
In grade 7, I had my eyes checked once and replaced the lenses in Toronto. The prescription was -2.75. In grade 9, I got -4.25. I was 14 years old? So I was progressing in minus (-) power, or nearsightedness (myopia), -1.00 per year. During this time as a young newcomer, I was also quiet, don't have many friends, and spend most of my weekends in the library or reading (not always English books).
When I turned 18 years old, I wanted contact lenses, so I got my eyes checked again. (Now I know I should be checking yearly). It was -5.50 right eye and -5.00-0.50x060 left eye.
Luckily， during the seven years in University, just like the last half of high school, my eye power didn't change that much. I got -5.75 right eye and -5.25-0.75 x 062. Now in my thirties, my eye exam this year indicated that I have -6.25 right eye, and -4.75-0.75 x 065 for the left eye.
Looking back, with my knowledge from Optometry school, and new updates on myopia progression, I know that I am actually pretty lucky. It's actually quite normal for people to progress -1.00 a year. I could of ended up with -9.00 if my eyes continue to grow longer at the same rate after age 15. It could have been the sunlight in playing soccer that helped.
I also started wearing glasses before the average students in my times (early 1990s) at age 10, but now children in Asia and Canada are starting to need glasses earlier, even at 6 or 7 years old.
With my prescription, it's considered moderate myopia. I started seeing floaters earlier than average people, at age 23. Floaters happen more in those with older age, over 40, or with a higher prescription. My retinal photos in eye exams showed that I have thinning of tissues around the optic nerve. I have a 40% higher chance of retinal detachment with over -6.00 Rx in one eye. It's not the best, but it could have been worse. I can't get rid of floaters, but I can prevent bungee jumping and deep sea diving to minimize risk for retinal detachment.
New research in myopia progression showed that thirty percent of myopia is due to genetics, and seventy percent is due to environment. I also know that sunlight is more critical than physical activity in slowing onset on myopia. So it seems like my myopia onset was due to environmental change such as extensive reading up close. My growth is not much after 15yo since I was under the sun light more.
But kids spend so much time indoor in Canada. If they haven't got myopia, it's important to have their eyes checked yearly and review what works to reduce the chance of starting myopia early. For those who already started with myopia, there are still help. There is Orthokeratology treatment to help children to grow less than -1.00 a year. New studies also helped created myopia control soft contact lenses to help children with a lower prescription (at -0.50D onwards, and more than -5.00D) to start myopia control earlier. Those who benefit most from it are the children who has both father and mother who are nearsighted, and those who started with 0.00 or -0.50D rx at age 6 or earlier.
I am hoping I can bring this knowledge to help kids better. They are starting younger than my generation. I hope I can help kids to keep their final prescription to be under -5.00. That would reduce their chance of getting retinal detachment, tear, and holes, and reducing tissue damage due to thinning with myopic degeneration in the retina.
我11岁的时候，我开始读六年级了。 在中国读六年级就意味着要一个星期六天都上学， 不是五天半，是整整六天。那时候，我的压力并不大， 因为那时候，我妈就知道我们那年要搬来加拿大，和我父亲团聚。
不过，我还是该读就读， 该考就考。数学，语文 和英文， 都没落下。考完书后， 我搬来多伦多了。
七年级的时候，我的度数是 -2.75. 九年级的时候，我就变成-4.25. 我那时候， 14岁吧？那时候，我一年可能长-1.00. 那时候，我没什么朋友，星期六，星期天就看书，去图书馆。
我十五岁的时候，就多运动了，也交了一些朋友。 除了射箭以外，我还踢足球，打打工。 我十八岁的时候， 开始想带隐形眼镜。 那时候我爸妈有自己的生意了，比较忙，我就自己去找视光医生配。（我现在知道应该每年检查一次。）那一次，我右眼是-5.50， 左眼是 -5.00-0.50x060。
还好，大学七年，和高中后部一样，我度数没长多少。我读完书的时候，右眼-5.75， 左眼 -5.25-0.75 x 062.
现在，我三十多了， 右眼是-6.25 right eye, 左眼是 -4.75-0.75 x 065。
现在，作为一个视光医生，我知道我还算是幸运的。 现在的控制近视研究说明，孩子一年长-1.00度都是正常的， 特别是在青春期的时候。 我十五岁后还长一样度数的话，现在会有-9.00的近视。
我那时候9岁才开始近视。 不过， 现在亚洲和加拿大的孩子很多都六岁，七岁就开始近视了。
我这度数，就只是中度近视。 不过，我23岁的时候，就开始看到飞蚊了。 通常情况下，是40岁以上的人， 或度数深的才有的。 我的眼底照片也显现出一些比较薄的视网膜在视网神经乳头周围。 我超过-6.00的那个眼睛，多了40%视网膜脱落的机会。 这不是最好的结果，也不是最坏的。飞蚊避免不了， 但是，我可以不做深海潜水，不做高空弹跳， 来减少视网膜脱落。
如果孩子已经开始近视了，哪还有方法。他们可以带 OK镜， 减少近视加深。OK镜在 -1.00 才可以做。而这一年，还有新的，控制近视的，软的隐形眼镜， 可以在 -0.50 度就开始有。如果孩子父母都近视，或者孩子6岁或更小就开始0.00 度或 -5.00， 那就应该利用控制近视的，软的隐形眼镜了。
我希望， 我能用这些研究帮助到更多的小孩子。 现在近视比我那一代更早发生。
How did I end up wearing glasses (II)
How does it feel at get myopic at age 10? (I)
Dr. Yan L. Liang, OD
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