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.
Is a major risk factor for several eye diseases, including glaucoma, cataract, and retinal detachments.
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 other retinal diseases.
What causes myopia?
- Heredity, somewhat. Even if both parents have myopia, there is still only a 50% chance that child will develop myopia.
- Near work stress. Too much time spent on computers, cell phones, texting and reading. (This does not include school work.)
- Lack of outdoor exposure.
- Diet - Studies have demonstrated diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol were correlated with increasing myopia.
- Visual efficiency. Eyes not teaming together and/or the lack of focus when reading.
- Accommodative (focusing) challenges
- Near-vision dominated occupations, such as spending all day on a computer
Myopia is measured in optical units called diopters (D). Lens powers that correct myopia are preceded by a minus sign (–).
A myopic eye is longer, or more stretched, than a normally sighted eye due to excessive eye growth. This stretched eye is more at risk for developing cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachments and myopic maculopathy. Myopic maculopathy is a type of macular degeneration which is associated with myopia, NOT age. Distance-only glasses and contact lenses may actually increase the length of the eye and ultimately causing myopia to worsen!
For example, a -1.00D myope has a 2.1x increased risk of cataract and a 3.1 x increased risk of retinal detachment compared to someone who is not myopic.
In addition, if your child decides to have laser eye surgery to correct their myopia in early adulthood, a lower prescription means both more likelihood of them being suitable, and better visual outcomes after surgery.
When should my child start myopia control?
It is best to begin Myopia Control as soon as possible to increase optimal results. The younger the child develops myopia, the worse the myopia may become.
Methods of Controlling & Slowing Myopia
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.
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)!
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.