What is myopia?
– Myopia is also called nearsightedness.
– In many people, myopia occurs when the eyeball grows too long, resulting in light focusing in front of the retina rather than on it.
– It causes distance vision to be blurry but near vision remains clear.
– Causes of Myopia: still unsure, but likely genetic and environmental (more reading, computer, less outdoor).
Sources: Jones 2007; Lyhne 2001; Dirani 2006; Hammond 2001; CLEERE study; Tay 1992; Paritsis 1983
– In the US, more and more people are having myopia (42% of population in 2010, doubled from 1970).
Sources: Vitale, S et al. 2009. Increased prevalence of myopia in the United States between 1971-1972 and 1999-2004. Arch Ophthalmol 127(12): 1632-1639
Why is it important to prevent myopia from getting worse?
– Although vision can be made clear with corrective lenses and refractive surgery, the longer eyeball remains a risk factor for many eye diseases, some can lead to permanent vision loss:
- Retinal detachment,
- choroidal neovascularization,
Sources: Ogawa 1988; Vongphanit 2002; Lim 1999; Marcus 2011
How do we slow down myopia progression?
– Various myopia control treatments can slow down or even stop the progression of myopia.
- OrthoK hard contact lenses: has the benefit of slowing down myopia and giving clear vision without wearing corrective lenses. (For more information about OrthoK or Corneal Refractive Therapy, click here.)
- Multifocal soft contact lenses NaturalVue®.
- Low concentration Atropine eye drops.
- Bifocal glasses.
How long do we have to treat Myopia?
– It depends. Typically we treat until the age of 18, or until the prescription stops changing for at least 2 consecutive years.
– If your child does not have myopia but there is a strong history in the family, spending more time outdoor can prevent myopia from developing.
– If you notice that your child’s myopia is getting worse, you should bring them in for an eye exam. We will be happy to recommend the most appropriate treatment.
For more information, please see the National Eye Institute webpage.