What Is Myopia?
Myopia or “nearsightedness” occurs when the eyeball grows too long or the cornea becomes too curved. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly, and distant objects appear blurry.
The amount of myopia that a child has often increases each year. This increase is typically seen between 9 and 18 years of age. Some children develop myopia at an earlier age and some progress more quickly than the expected rate.
Video: What is Myopia?
Causes of Myopia
While the exact cause of myopia is unknown, evidence shows that if one or both parents are nearsighted, there is an increased chance their children will be nearsighted.
Even though the tendency to develop myopia may be genetic, its actual development could be affected by how a person uses his or her eyes. Some studies show that people who have limited exposure to outdoor sunlight or an increased amount of reading and near work may be more likely to develop myopia.
Risks Associated With Myopia
Myopia is associated with an increased risk of eye diseases such as retinal detachments, cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Typically, the higher the myopia, the greater the risk of developing these conditions, which is why there is a strong interest in attempting to control its progression.
Myopia Management Options
While myopia cannot be reversed, the goal of treatment is to keep it from getting worse. The following are treatment options that our eye doctors may discuss with you:
Atropine Eye Drops
- A low dose of an eye drop called atropine is placed in both eyes just before bedtime. These drops may help to slow the progression of myopia by keeping the eyes from lengthening. This treatment is typically used for children between 5 and 18 years of age.
MiSight Contact Lenses
- These lenses are special soft contact lenses that have different powers within the same lens. The center of the lens corrects blurry distance vision, while the outer portions of the lens defocus the peripheral (side) vision. This is thought to slow eye growth and limit myopia. MiSight contacts are worn during the day and are removed for sleeping.
Ortho-K & CRT
- Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) and Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) are safe, non-surgical and reversible treatments that use specially designed contact lenses to gently reshape the surface of your eye during sleep. This results in clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contacts. The effect is temporary, so lenses must be worn during sleep each night.
Your eye doctor will determine which type of corneal reshaping lenses are best for you after examining your eyes. Both treatments are ideal vision correction methods for active children, especially those involved in sports, or children who are genetically prone to having their nearsightedness progress year after year. They are also well suited to many adults whose careers or hobbies are not conducive to wearing glasses or contact lenses.