What is Myopia?
Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a condition that results in blurry distance vision. The blurred vision results from an elongated eyeball, through which the image is focused in front of the retina.
The global prevalence of myopia is increasing significantly. A 2016 study by Holden et al, reported that in 2010, myopia affected 1.9 billion people worldwide, or 28% of the world’s population. By 2050, myopia is projected to affect almost 5 billion people or 50% of the world’s population. They also reported that in 2010, 3% of the population had high myopia and that in 2050, 10% of the population or 1 billion people, will have high myopia and be at risk of vision impairment and blindness.1
Why Myopia Control is Important
Myopia often considered benign because it is easily corrected with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. However, any level of myopia is a well-established risk factor for sight threatening eyes diseases such as retinal detachments and cataracts and myopic macular degeneration (see table below). Myopic Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness even at a young age.
There is no safe level of myopia. The higher the myopia prescription, the higher the risk for sight threatening diseases.3
Myopia Increases the Risk of Serious, Sight Threatening Complications.
Risk Factors for Myopia Development and Progression
Several risk factors for the development of myopia and faster rates of progression of myopia have been identified. Genetics play a major role in the developing myopia. Asian ancestry and having one parent with myopia has a higher risk for developing myopia and progressing at a faster rate. Environmental risk factors include spending less time indoors and increased time doing near work. Age when myopia has started. Additional risk factors will be measured at our office and integrated in the comprehensive myopia risk profile.
Treatment Strategies for Myopia Progression
Although, the genetic component for myopia development can’t be modified, there are several ways to slow eye growth. Our office focuses on three scientifically proven methods:
- Low–dose Atropine: Atropine 1% eyedrops are commonly used to treat certain eye conditions. When prescribing it in a low dose (0.02), we see much fewer side effects such as dilated pupils, light sensitivity and difficulty focusing at near. Low-dose Atropine slows the myopic progression by acting on the sclera to reduce elongation of the eye. If this treatment option is chosen, we monitor the patient and make sure that no side effects occur. One drop in each eye is administered at bedtime. Based on current research, this treatment reduces the progression of myopia by 50%.4
- NaturalVue Multifocal single use contact lens: The NaturalVue contact lens is a distance centered multifocal contact lens. It is placed on the eye in the morning and gets removed before going to bed. While wearing the lens throughout the day, vision is comparable to single vision contact lenses. Additionally, it focuses light in front of the periphery of the retina to slow the growth of the eye. Thereby, it reduces myopic progression by 80%, according to recent studies.5
- Ortho-K overnight lens: A gentle mold is worn only at night while sleeping. It is inserted before going to bed and is then removed in the morning just after waking. The eye holds its new shape all day to temporarily correct myopia and astigmatism. The reshaped cornea optically slows myopia by focuses light in front of the peripheral retina slowing the growth of the eye. According to clinical trials, it reduces myopia progression by 45%.6 However, we use an individualized computer-assisted fitting method and optimized digital lens design that show a higher reduction in myopia progression. Our study with over 100 children over the course of 8 years will be released soon. First results show a myopic reduction by about 80%.
For more information, schedule an appointment with your eye care provider, and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.