Myopia, aka near-sightedness, may seem like a fairly mild problem to deal with. Sure, you will need to rely on prescription glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision so that you can see distant objects more clearly, but this is about the only impact that myopia has – isn’t it? Not quite. Very few people realize that moderate to severe myopia has been linked to the development of a range of serious ocular conditions that could potentially threaten your long-term vision. Research has shown that people who have myopia:
Have almost a 300% increase in their risk of developing glaucoma
Have almost a 1000% increase in their risk of retinal detachment
Are more likely to experience macular degeneration, and it may start earlier than is considered normal
Are more likely to experience retinal tears and holes
Are significantly more likely to develop cataracts
However, by raking positive steps towards myopia prevention and control, you can substantially reduce your risk of suffering from any of these issues in the future.
Myopia prevention solutions aren’t only for adults – far from it. The number of children being diagnosed with myopia is increasing year on year. Lack of time outdoors and too much time spent in front of a screen is believed to be two of the biggest contributors to this pattern. Nevertheless, vision problems can be extremely detrimental for children, particularly since around 80% of learning is through visual input. Poor vision can not only be a barrier to education, but it can also prevent your child from engaging with the world around him. Whether we realize it or not, most of us rely on our sight more than any other sense, often using it to reinforce the others. For example, when we cross the road, we may not hear any traffic, but we will use our eyes to make sure before we step off of the sidewalk.
Responsible parents want their children to have healthy eyes and clear vision for as long as possible. One of the best ways to achieve this is through myopia prevention.
Whilst there isn’t currently a complete cure for myopia, there are things that can be done to reduce the likelihood of it occurring in the first place, and, if you or your child have already been diagnosed with the condition, to slow its progression.
Firstly, there are some lifestyle changes that you could make that could delay the development of myopia. The two main things that we would recommend include:
Making sure that you get outside for at least an hour or two every day. Studies have found that the risk of myopia is lowered by exposure to daylight. Even when you can’t get outside, try and maximize the use of natural light indoors wherever possible.
Take regular vision breaks. Most people only associate vision breaks with extended screen time, but if you do any sort of job or recreational activity that requires close visual concentration, you could be increasing your risk of myopia. By taking regular breaks, your eyes will be able to relax and refocus on objects at distance instead, and this could lower your risk of developing myopia.
If you or your child have already been diagnosed with myopia, you may wish to consider a myopia control solution to prevent the progression of your condition. There are several different options available to you. These include:
Orthokeratology or ortho-k is an innovative therapy that enables myopic patients to enjoy clear vision without using glasses or contact lenses for an entire day at a time. In addition to this, it has been shown to be effective in slowing and even halting the progression of myopia. Ortho k uses custom-designed contact lenses to reshape the cornea so that refractive errors are corrected. These lenses are worn overnight and perform the reshaping while you sleep. The next morning, you take the lenses out and enjoy clearer vision. Ortho k is progressive, meaning continued use of the lenses is needed to obtain the best results, and it can take a number of weeks of overnight wear to reach optimal clarity for a full day. However, the effects are completely reversible should you wish to discontinue treatment or opt for another solution.
These eye drops are used to dilate the pupil and relax the eye’s focusing mechanism and studies have shown that a low dose of atropine eye drops administered at night before bed can significantly slow the progression of childhood myopia. Again, this treatment is non-invasive and has no long-lasting effects for the patient, making it a popular choice.
Multifocal lenses are special lenses that have different prescription powers in different areas of the lens, enabling the patient to see clearly at different distances. They can be used as contact lenses or placed into glasses, making them a convenient solution for many patients. Research has shown that myopic children who wear multifocal soft contact lenses on a daily basis can realistically experience as much as a 50% reduction in the progression of their myopia compared who those who don’t use them.
If you are concerned about myopia and would like more information about what prevention and control options are available, our expert team would be happy to help. Please contact Dr. Romeu Eye Associates in West New York, NJ today (201) 267-2920!