Laura Vasilakos, OD Development Optometrist
Laura Vasilakos, OD Development Optometrist

Myopia Control -
Stop Nearsightedness from Getting Worse

Myopia ControlMyopia, also called nearsightedness, is a visual condition where objects nearby or a short distance away are clear but objects that are far away are blurred. It is caused by the eye being slightly too long or the cornea (the front cap of the eye) being excessively curved.

Nearsightedness Gets Worse

It's common for prescriptions for glasses & contact lenses in children to grow stronger year by year. Why is this and is it preventable?

Myopia is a real problem.  Per studies, in the United States, myopia increased from 25% of the population having it in 1972 to over 40% in 2004.  And that was over 15 years ago!  In Asia, it is estimated that over 80% of the population is myopic!

Additionally, because myopia is caused by the shape of the eye changing, it increases the chance of other major eye problems such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration.

What causes myopia?

In children:

  1. Heredity, somewhat. Even if both parents have myopia, there is still only a 50% chance that child will develop myopia.
  2. Near work stress. Too much time spent on computers, cell phones, texting and reading.  (This does not include school work.)
  3. Lack of outdoor exposure.
  4. Diet - Studies have demonstrated diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol were correlated with increasing myopia.
  5. Visual efficiency. Eyes not teaming together and/or the lack of focus when reading.

In Adults:

  1. Accommodative (focusing) challenges
  2. Near-vision dominated occupations, such as spending all day on a computer

In the last 10 years, a considerable research effort has been directed toward finding the environmental elements that cause myopia to progress.

We now believe that the stimulus to axial elongation—and hence to myopia progression—is defocus not in the central retina but in the mid-periphery. In experimental models, when the light incident on the mid-peripheral retina was in focus, the eyes did not elongate (irrespective of whether light to the central retina was focused). In particular, hyperopic defocus on the mid-peripheral retina appears to cause axial elongation and, thus, myopia.

Methods of Controlling & Slowing Myopia

1. Multifocal Contact Lenses

How do Multifocal Contacts Work?Optometrists first began using bifocal lenses to attempt to slow myopia progression in the 1940s.  A more recent alternate theory suggests that myopic children who do not accommodate (focus) efficiently while reading, which constitute about 30% of myopic children, could benefit from multifocal contact lenses.

Contact Lenses >>

 

2. Orthokeratology (also called Ortho-k)

Wear specially designed contact lens-like retainers while you sleep, remove when you get up, and you can see without glasses or contact lenses! Research has proven that Ortho-K is effective at slowing progression of myopia (nearsightedness)!

Ortho-K - Correct Your Vision While You Sleep >>

3. Low-Dose Atropine

A topical drop called atropine was first suggested as a means of slowing the progression of myopia in the 1920s; however, it was rarely prescribed at full strength due to its notable side effects: light sensitivity and blurred vision while reading.  Since then several studies have looked at the positive effects of atropine on myopia control while reducing the concentration and its negative side effects.  The ATOM2 (Atropine for the Treatment of Myopia) study, published in November 2015, found that low dose atropine (0.01% concentration) is effective at slowing the progression of myopia without the full strength side effects.  Used nightly, this drop can be a first line treatment or an adjunct to other forms of myopia control.

Designed by Dentist Design, Inc.