WHAT IS MYOPIA?
Myopia is often referred to as nearsightedness because it allows you to see close-up objects clearly, but distant objects appear blurry. It occurs when the eye grows too long, or the cornea has too much curvature. Light entering the eye is not able to properly bend and focus onto the retina, causing blurred vision.
Myopia is often detected in childhood and typically worsens over time. Progression is believed to be partly due to genetics (nearsighted kids often have nearsighted parents), not spending enough time outdoors and excessive digital device use (computers, tablets, and phones). The incidence of myopia is rising significantly; In 1971, 25% of Americans were myopic, current studies suggest myopia affects over 40% of Americans, and that number continues to grow. This is important because high myopia (>6 diopters) increases the risk of serious sight threatening eye conditions and diseases such as retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataracts.
Signs you or your child may be struggling with myopia include:
Needing to sit close to the TV or at the front of the class
Frequent eye rubbing
Being seemingly unaware of distant objects
WHAT IS MYOPIA MANAGEMENT?
While there is no cure for myopia or nearsightedness, we offer a number of ways to manage it's effects beside the traditional approach of glasses and contacts. Myopia management or Myopia control is simply the collective term used to describe the various methods that can be employed to slow down and sometimes stabilize Myopia. This is most important for nearsighted children as myopia typically worsens as they grow which increases their risk of high myopia, retinal detachment, glaucoma, and cataracts. Myopia management includes: Multifocal contacts, Orthokeratology, Progressive glasses, Peripheral defocus glasses, Low-dose Atropine drops, or combination of these approaches. The most common methods used are Orthokeratology and Low-dose Atropine drops.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR MYOPIA?
There are several options in managing myopia which include both correcting vision and slowing down progression. Each method works in different ways to achieve this and typically requires consistent daily or nightly use.
Lenses – Multifocal soft contacts, peripheral defocus designed eyeglasses and orthokeratology gas permeable contacts
Eye drops – Low-dose atropine eye drops
Habit adjustments – Increasing time outdoors and reducing prolonged near-work activities
WHY NOT WEAR REGULAR GLASSES OR CONTACTS FOR MYOPIA?
Regular glasses and contact lenses compensate for blurry distance vision and help your child see clearly, that's a good thing. What they don't do is treat the underlying cause of Myopia — an eye that is too long or a cornea that has too much curvature. Without treatment, myopia usually progresses as they grow so your child’s vision will likely deteriorate every year, increasing their risk of other eye diseases.
WHY HAVEN'T I HEARD OF THIS BEFORE?
You may wonder is this new technology? was it available when I was a kid? Myopia management has been studied for many years. It was studied as early as the 1950s but did not become clinically available until the mid 1990s with technological advances in materials, testing, and research. Awareness has been raised as rates of childhood myopia have increased dramatically and more research and options are available to doctors today to treat myopia. That being said, myopia management remains a small subspecialty within eye care providers in part because treating myopia in this way requires significant clinical training, expertise and technology.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THIS TREATMENT?
Most patients will see a reduction in the progression of their myopia and some may achieve stabilization of their myopia. Results can vary from patient to patient due to many factors including age, ethnicity, refractive state of their parents, treatment method used, patient's starting prescription, patient's compliance and consistent use of the treatment, Our doctor has 10+ years of experience helping child and adults and will discuss the treatment goals that are right for you. Each person is unique, so after your examination and discussion, the doctor will recommend the treatment that is best and set expectations for that treatment.
HOW CAN I LEARN MORE?
We invite you to schedule an appointment with the doctor to review your options or your child's options for better vision with myopia management. The doctor will be able to answer your questions and weigh the options with you. Call or email us using the links below!