Myopia, or nearsightedness, is one of the most common ocular disorders in the US, with approximately ⅓ of the population being afflicted. Some experts suggest that over 40% of the global population may be nearsighted by the year 2050. The importance of slowing the progression of this condition is becoming more and more apparent; an exponentially growing amount of children need treatment for nearsightedness every day.
What is Myopia?
It is speculated whether nature (genetics) or nurture (environmental factors) have a more significant effect on one’s propensity of developing myopia. The increasing rates suggest a significant environmental effect; modern technology and increasingly sedentary lifestyles are implicated. However, a child whose parents have myopia or whose identical twin has myopia will exhibit an increased susceptibility to this condition, which indicates a genetic component.
The cornea is the surface of the eye, which covers the pupil and iris. It is important in providing focus to one’s vision, and to do so, it must maintain a uniform surface shape. When the convexity of the eye’s surface increases, the eye lengthens. This causes light to focus differently on the retina, which leads to blurred vision with regards to distant objects.
We aim to slow the progression of this condition in society. There are a number of options available to decrease the progression of myopia.
What Treatments are Available?
- Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses
These lenses work to temporarily reshape the cornea overnight, while one sleeps. They flatten corneal irregularities and temporarily reduce the severity of myopia. They reduce the progression of this condition and provide clear vision without the need to use corrective technology during the day. These lenses must be properly fitted to the patient’s eye for the best results.
These lenses are similar to Ortho-K in functionality, optics, and in their ability to slow the progression of myopia. As long as there is enough myopic blur provided to the retina, the progression of curvature will be slowed. These lenses may be especially effective at slowing growth in children who have only just begun to experience symptoms of myopia.
This topical treatment is a highly effective tool in the treatment of myopia. It is incredibly easy to administer; with only one drop needed to correct corneal curvature for the day.
Which Option is Best for Me?
Atropine is a popular choice for many due to its ease of use. Ortho-K lenses, in addition to topical treatments, provide clear vision without the need for corrective eyewear during the day. All of the above mentioned treatments are effective and are commonly used to slow the progression of myopia, in both individual patients and in the population as a whole.
It’s imperative that you and your doctor work together to determine the best option for your individual needs and lifestyle. Take into consideration your day-to-day activities, current corneal shape, and your ability to use the treatment method properly in order to ensure its best effectiveness. Multi-use lenses present a risk of infection if not cleaned properly; therefore, it is important that you gage your willingness and responsibility when deciding on your treatment. It is possible to drastically reduce myopia progression in its early stages, and being aware of the treatment option that will work best for you will help us in our mission to slow the epidemic.