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Myopia Control

What is “Myopia”?

More commonly known as short-sightedness, myopia is a condition where the eyes have typically grown too long in length, resulting in light not able to focus correctly at the back of the eyes.

What causes myopia?

While there is always ongoing research into the causes of short-sightedness, it has been well-established that there are both genetic and environmental factors at play. Amongst these are:

  • Lack of outdoor daylight exposure

  • Parental genes

  • Excessive near work

Myopia is frequently diagnosed between 8 to 12 years of age, and tends to progress more rapidly through the teenage years as their eyes grow along with their body.

It has been shown that having one short-sighted parent significantly increases the child’s risk of developing myopia, while both parents being short-sighted gives them around 70% chance of developing it themselves.

Often once an individual has become short-sighted, the myopia can progress quite easily due to the optics and mechanics of the eye trying to adjust for ill-focused targets.  

What are the dangers?

Low amounts of short-sightedness may simply be an inconvenience and necessitate the use of spectacles or contact lenses in order to see clearly in the distance. Higher levels of short-sightedness however can result in significantly increased risks.

As such, it is important to do what we can to prevent your child from becoming high myopia.

 

 

 

 

How can myopia be treated? What can we do about it?

The blurriness of distance vision can be corrected by a pair of prescription spectacles, but a pair of glasses aren’t the whole story.  Extra care should be taken when considering the progression of myopia development. While there is no cure for myopia at this stage, there are methods of treatments that have been well-proven to slow down the worsening of myopia.

The main methods that have proven themselves to be most effective are:

  • Orthokeratology

  • MiSight soft contact lenses

  • Atropine eye drops

Orthokeratology (night lenses)

These lenses are worn at night time, and overnight they gently reshape the cornea to help light rays to focus on the right place in the eyes. This means in the morning, you can remove then lenses and still be able to see clearly throughout the day, without the need for any glasses or daytime contacts.

The design of these lenses has been documented to slow down the progression of myopia from anywhere between 30-60%, and possibly even higher than that.

These lenses are especially suitable for

  • Low-to-moderate levels of myopia, and those with low levels of astigmatism

The effects from orthokeratology are fully reversible, and is no more risky than normal contact lens wear. It does not affect the future ability to have any laser correction done.

Advantages:

  • An excellent option for ocular allergy and dry eye suffers for contact lens wearers

  • Great for individuals with an active lifestyle with sports and/or water-based activities

Disadvantages:

  • Need some time to get use to

  • Higher costs associated

  • Not every eye-shape is suitable for Orthokeratology

MiSight™ Soft Contact Lenses

These lenses are worn just like normal soft contact lenses. The difference with these is the unconventional multifocal portions (+2.00D) of the lens, which is what gives the lens it’s therapeutic effect.

Advantages:

  • Worn just like a normal contact lens

  • Great effect with lower levels of myopia

Disadvantages:

  • It doesn’t correct any significant amounts of astigmatism, which means may not give you the sharpest vision possible

Atropine Eye Drops

These are a diluted concentration of therapeutic drops that can stunt the growth of the eyes, and hence its effect on slowing myopia. You just need to simply instil one drop of the solution in each eye every night, and the drops will maintain their effects through the next day.

Advantages:

  • Easy to use, no risk of losing lenses

  • No associated risks of contact lens wear

Disadvantages:

  • May be slightly light sensitive during the day

  • Does not correct the prescription, so still require glasses or contact lens wear

  • Long-term effects are still being studied

 

 

 

 

More Information

Once you have made up your decision on one of the options, the next step is to discuss with your optometrist to see if it is the best option for you. This includes considerations on your eye health, eye shape, myopia level and lifestyle questions.

If you would like to research further into the scientific evidence of myopia control, the following links will give you a great beginning point:

www.myopiaprecention.org

www.myopiacontrol.org

mykidsvision.org