Myopia is also commonly referred to as nearsightedness. This means that patients can see objects that are closer to them, but objects in the distance can be blurry.
This condition is caused when the eye is too long, or there is too much curve. This causes light entering the eye not to be focused.
Estimates suggest that about 30 percent of the population has some degree of Myopia. Because the eye continues to grow through adolescence, many patients will first receive a diagnosis before they are 20 years old.
There are a variety of treatment options on the market to help treat the effects of Myopia. One possible treatment is the prescription of corrective lenses, surgeries, or myopia control.
There are four types of myopia control: atropine drops, multifocal contacts, multifocal eyeglasses, and orthokeratology. Orthokeratology is a treatment option that uses rigid contact lenses to help alter and reshape the cornea. Orthokeratology lenses are designed to be worn while the patient is asleep and can’t feel them in the eye. The contacts are removed in the morning, and the cornea holds its shape throughout the day allowing a patient to see without contact lenses, glasses, or surgeries.
Some patients have discomfort as their eyes get used to the contact lenses, but it is not painful. Over time, the eyes will get used to having the contact in the eye and discomfort should disappear too.
Orthokeratology lenses have found to be effective at relieving the effects of myopia when treatment is regularly used. Additionally, this approach has also been found to reduce the progression of myopia 45 percent.
The Atropine drops help patients with myopia by reducing the pain associated with inflammation, but they can also help relieve focusing fatigue. This reduction in fatigue is caused by dilating the pupils and temporarily limiting the eye’s ability to focus. Atropine drops have been found to slow the progression of myopia in children by as much as 77 percent.
The creation of gas permeable lenses was one of the first breakthroughs that allowed patients to be able to see without having to wear glasses.
Over time, many optometrists began to note that some of the patients who wore gas permeable lenses were showing a slowing or even a stop in the progression of myopia. Other patients even saw clearly even hours after they weren’t wearing the lenses. While many studies have been conducted on this very topic, the results have been mixed. At this point, there is no definite conclusion that gas permeable lenses will have an effect in any particular case.
There were some eye doctors that recommended that they find the perfect 20/20 prescription for patients and then back the prescription off slightly so that some things would still appear slightly blurry. While the thoughts varied on the rationale, the studies that have been conducted suggest that decreasing a prescription may increase the rate of myopia rather than slow it.
The eyes must work harder, and this creates more strain on the eye. There were two studies that showed backing off a prescription would aid in myopia treatment, but both studies have been attacked for lacking scientific rigor and validity.
Myopia is an extremely common eye condition that can be treated with the help of your eye doctor. If you believe that you or your child may have myopia, schedule an appointment today to look into your options.