What is Myopia?
Myopia (nearsightedness), is when close-up objects look clear but distant objects are blurry. Myopia is the refractive error that results when there is an imbalance of the eye structures (corneal power, lens power, and eyeball length). This imbalance causes a faraway object to be focused in front of the retina instead of on the retina, creating a blur. Use this simulation to experience what myopia is like!
WHAT CAUSES MYOPIA PROGRESSION?
As children grow, their eyeballs can become larger and longer. This will cause the focal point of a faraway object to become located farther and farther in front of the retina, creating the need for stronger and stronger eyeglass/contact lens prescriptions. Risk factors includes genetic, environmental and more recently, lifestyle changes- including more near work and less outdoor time, which are contributing to more children developing myopia at an early age.
WHAT IS MYOPIA CONTROL/MYOPIA MANAGEMENT?
Myopia Control is the term describing the treatment methods used to slow down the progressive loss of far vision in children by preventing the eyeball from growing too long. Myopia management is used interchangeably with myopia control but it also takes into account lifestyle and environmental factors that can trigger myopia progression.
WHY ARE MORE PARENTS HAVING THEIR CHILDREN UNDERGO MYOPIA CONTROL TREATMENT?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), myopia (nearsightedness) is growing at an alarming rate. In the past 20 years, the number of people with myopia has nearly doubled, and is expected to affect 50% of the world’s population by 2050.
Besides the loss of far vision from myopia, there are increased eye health risks as a result of having elongated eyeballs. When the eye continues to grow at a faster than normal rate, it leads to greater stretching/thinning and consequently greater risk for sight threatening eye diseases later in life.
SIGHT-THREATENING CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH HIGH MYOPIA
- Retinal detachment
- Retinal tears/holes
- Cataracts Glaucoma
- Myopic macular degeneration (MMD)
- Posterior vitreous detachment
Every diopter (one step) increase in myopia raises the risk of myopic macular degeneration, a sight-threatening eye disease, by 67 percent.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT MY CHILD’S VISION FROM GETTING WORSE?
- Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) – corneal reshaping hard contact lenses for night time usage (like wearing a retainer)
- Specialized soft contact lenses utilizing the concept of peripheral defocus Low dose atropine (0.01 to 0.1%) eye drops instilled daily.
- Spend more time outdoors (studies recommend 1-2 hours daily)
These are corneal reshaping contact lenses (retainers) that are worn during sleep and removed in the morning. Each lens is specifically designed to fit each patient’s unique eye shape. The gentle pressure exerted on the cornea or surface of the eye while sleep results in the temporary “molding” of the outer layers, providing “lens like” effects for the wearer. This allows the wearer to be able to see clearly all day long without glasses or contact lenses.
These are typically worn until the patient stops “growing”. There are many manufacturers of this lens. All are FDA approved for either management of myopia or temporary reduction of myopia.
SPECIALIZED SOFT CONTACT LENSES
There are currently three brands of contact lenses are are being used to slow myopia progression. The brand of contact lenses used will be determined by the patient’s eyes and prescriptions. All contact lenses are FDA approved but there is only one that are specifically approved for the slowing of myopia progression, Mi Sight 1-Day contact lenses by Cooper Vision.
Mi Sight contact lenses are soft, dual-focus contact lenses worn during the day and are designed to redirect how the light hits the retina, which “tricks” the eye into not growing too long.
Low Dose Atropine Eye Drops
Atropine is an eye drop that makes the pupils larger, causing light sensitivity and blurred near vision. However, low concentration of atropine (0.01 to 0.05%) has been shown to significantly slow the progression of nearsightedness without dramatically increasing pupil size or decreasing near vision. Drops are to be instilled every day for maximum effects.