Myopia, commonly called near-sightedness, is a common vision disorder that affects about one-third of the US population. In recent years, the prevalence of myopia has been greatly increased and is projected to continue rising by a considerable amount for the foreseeable future. The problem is not that more people will need glasses to see clearly; it’s more than high amounts of myopia are associated with increased risk of sight-threatening conditions. Common conditions that high myopia can cause include retinal detachment, choroidal degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Much research has been performed to determine why the rate of myopia has been climbing so rapidly in recent times. We have determined definite risk factors towards developing myopia, however, it’s impossible to pinpoint a single cause. The cause of myopia is theorized to be numerous things and likely is a mix of all causes, these possible causes include genetics, poor nutrition, amount of near work performed, psychological stress, lack of exercise, less time spent outdoors, and peripheral retinal defocus.
Controlling myopia is important to not only help prevent these sight-threatening conditions mentioned above, but to also improve the quality of life of myopic people by keeping their prescription as low a possible.
Myopia Control Methods
There are a few different methods we use to slow down or stop the progression of myopia, some work better than others, but the choice of which option to use is dependent on your specific situation. Following a thorough assessment, our doctors will recommend which options may be best for you or your child.
Progressive or Bifocal Spectacles
The method is aimed to help reduce near point stress, which is one of the hypothesized causes of myopia. We are reducing the amount of work the eyes have to do while looking at something up close, which has been shown to reduce myopia progression.
Orthokeratology, or shortened to Ortho-K, is a specific type of contact lens that has been shown to be an excellent method to reduce myopia progression. This type of contact lens is designed to reshape the cornea in order to correct for myopia. This lens works at night while you sleep, which allows for clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses
Another great method is the use of multifocal soft contact lenses. We use these lenses frequently for helping with age-related trouble with near vision, or presbyopia, with the center of the contact lens being for near. For purposes of myopia control, we use a similar lens, except the center of the contact lens is for distance.
Atropine Eye Drops
Atropine is a prescription eye drop that we use commonly for its superb ability to slow and stop myopia progression. In its full strength, we use this drop for other applications in eye care, but for myopia control, we need to dilute the formula to a much lower strength. This is a relatively easy method as it only takes one drop in each eye per day to get the dose we need.