Myopia (short-sighted) Control
As our world shrinks with the increased use of handheld digital devices such as smartphones, intensified education and the obligatory computer use, the rates of myopia (short-sightedness) increases. Over the last 25 years the incidence of short-sightedness has increased from 25% of the population to over 40% in the western world, in some Asian countries the prevalence of myopia is over 90%. Myopia typically onsets at puberty, but in some cases in childhood. Myopia progresses during the growing years spurned on by near tasks, such as reading, writing and computer games. Genetics and environment are the key factors in how an individual’s myopia will progress.
Unfortunately for myopes over -5.00 not only can lifestyle become affected but the risks for retinal detachment, myopic macula disease and glaucoma increase due to the lengthening of the eye and subsequent strain on the ocular tissues.
Fortunately now we have various methods to slow myopia progression and in many cases stop completely the progression of myopia in our young people. There is an option for every myope!
What can be done to treat Myopia?
Ortho-K is the process of applying a rigid contact lens to the cornea (clear window on the front of the eye) to re-shape it while the eye is closed and the patient is asleep. By re-shaping the cornea at night the patient can then see during the day without a contract lenses or glasses in place. The huge benefit of this option for the progressive myope is that the pattern of defocus on the back of the eye (the retina) has been shown to slow and in many cases prevent the lengthening of the eye which results in increased myopia.
Things you need to know:
- Current studies suggest Ortho-K provides on average 60% reduction in myopia progression.
- The lenses must be slept in every night.
- You can see through the lenses when they are in the eyes.
- If you stop wearing the lenses your vision will return to the starting correction (ie; -2.00).
- Ortho-K is available for long-sighted patients too.
To find out more about Ortho-K CLICK HERE
SOFT BIFOCAL CONTACT LENSES
Some soft bifocal or multifocal lens designs achieve a similar result to Ortho-K lenses by altering the optics of the eye in such a way that progression of short-sightedness is not encouraged. Studies suggest it is less effective than Ortho-K, at around 40%. This is often a preferred method in our youngest myopes.
ATROPINE EYE DROPS
Dilute 0.02% Atropine eyedrops have been shown to decrease the progression of myopia to a similar degree as ortho-K. These drops signal the inner layers of the eyeball to refrain from elongating excessively. These drops can currently only be accessed via an ophthalmologist. A referral for baseline axial length measurements and atropine discussion is a worthwhile undertaking prior to starting myopia control.
In some patient’s poor ocular co-ordination at near may require multifocal spectacle lenses which will potentially prevent myopia control by relaxing and assisting the eyes near focus. Myopia control with this method is varied.
The Zeiss Myolens is a spectacle lens that has been shown to reduce the rate of myopia progression by 30%.
This one should be easy and it costs nothing! There is evidence to suggest spending at least 2 hours outdoors in the sunshine can reduce the rate of myopia.
If you think you may have any symptoms of Myopia or are concerned about the condition of your eyes or eyesight, please contact us today to make an appointment for an eye examination.