Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, affects our ability to see distant objects clearly. In recent years, the prevalence of myopia has been rapidly increasing, making it a global public health concern. In fact, myopia has doubled in U.S. Children over the past ten years, and it is projected that 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050. However, there are more treatment options available than just eyeglasses, so let’s dive in to understanding myopia, its risks, and available treatment.
Myopia occurs when the eyeball is elongated, causing light rays to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This results in blurred vision when looking at distant objects while nearby objects remain clear. It typically starts during childhood or adolescence and may worsen as the eye continues to grow. The main myopia risk factors include the following:
More “Close Work”—2+ hours per day spend on close work can increase the risk of myopia.
Myopic Parents/Genetics—There is a 25% change a child will develop myopia if one parent is myopic and a 50% chance if both parents are myopic.
Less Time Outside/Natural Light—Less than 60-90 minutes per day spent outdoors in natural sunlight can contribute to myopia.
Additionally, high levels of myopia can increase the likelihood of developing sight-threatening conditions, such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and myopic maculopathy. Myopia progression can also lead to a higher dependence on corrective lenses and may impact quality of life.
For managing myopia long-term, eyeglasses are not enough! Here are some available treatment options that are gaining traction and have proven results in certain population segments.
MiSight lenses, also known as soft multifocal contact lenses, are an innovative approach to managing myopia progression. These lenses provide clear distance vision while simultaneously slowing down the elongation of the eyeball. They incorporate multiple lens powers to improve peripheral focus and reduce the stimulus for axial elongation. MiSight lenses have shown promising results in numerous clinical trials, demonstrating their efficacy in slowing myopia progression in children and teenagers.
Orthokeratology, commonly referred to as Ortho-K, involves the use of specially designed rigid gas-permeable contact lenses worn overnight. These lenses gently reshape the cornea during sleep, temporarily correcting myopia. Throughout the day, the cornea retains its reshaped form, resulting in improved vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. Ortho-K is an effective option for managing myopia progression and is particularly popular among individuals who find wearing contact lenses during the day inconvenient.
Atropine eye drops, a traditional treatment primarily used for dilating the pupils, have gained recognition as a myopia management option. When used in low concentrations (such as 0.01% or 0.05%), atropine eye drops can slow down myopia progression. Atropine works by relaxing the focusing mechanism of the eye and potentially inhibiting the elongation of the eyeball. This treatment has shown favorable results in multiple studies.
Myopia management is essential for protecting your vision and mitigating the associated risks of myopia progression. Since myopia is on the rise, innovative treatment options can be effective in slowing down the progression of myopia in children and teenagers. Early intervention and regular eye examinations are vital to identify and implement appropriate myopia management strategies, ensuring a clearer and healthier future. Call us today to discuss how we can help manage your myopia!