Myopia is on the rise in the United States and around the world with staggering predictions by the World Health Organization that by 2050 over 50% of the world’s population will be myopic.
The condition begins in children between the ages of 6 and 12 and can grow worse over time with some more severe longer-term ramifications on vision health. Dr. David Sweeney and Dr. Rachel Sweeney from Atlanta have been providing Myopia Treatment in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Buckhead and Atlanta for over 25 years. Online Consultation Request with Dr Sweeney.
Often referred to as nearsightedness, is a refractive error in the eye. The error occurs when light is no longer bent or refracted correctly by the eye and as a result, images become blurry when at a distance. Close-up focusing remains fine.
Myopia occurs when the eye grows longer than normal or has a cornea that is too steep. As a result, light rays focus in front of the retina instead of on it causing the distant object to be out of focus or blurry.
Myopia can be categorized as Mild, Moderate, or High Severity depending on the magnitude of the refractive error and the amount of correction needed. Typically, any prescription greater than -5.00 diopters is High Severity. Mild can be considered at as little -1.00D.
Myopia Causes and Risks
Typically first detected in children between the ages of 6 to 12 years old and evidence suggests that there is a genetic or hereditary component to the condition. According to studies, there is a 25% chance that a child will develop myopia if one of their parents is myopic. This number jumps to 50% if both parents are myopic.
It is also thought that environmental conditions can enhance or accelerate nearsightedness. In a recent Taiwanese study sunlight, spending time outdoors, and sporting activities were found to be ways of reducing or slowing the onset. Similar studies have pointed to excessive screen time on small digital devices as contributors to a child’s condition.
In later life and if nearsightedness progresses there are clear linkages with increased risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and myopic maculopathy – irreversible central vision loss.
Myopia Symptoms and Detection
Some of the signs and symptoms of myopia to look out for:
- Eyestrain and Headaches.
- Squinting to see properly, sitting in the front row in class, or blinking.
- A decline in educational performance or complaints that your child can’t see the whiteboard.
Parental vigilance is critical and signs that your child is becoming un-engaged or is struggling in school could point to a vision problem like myopia.
The message from Dr. Sweeney is that parents should engage their eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam for their children annually. This is the easiest and most effective way of screening for Myopia. If a parent is myopic themselves, then the chances are that the child is too, and parents should not hesitate to get an early diagnosis. Online Consultation Request with Dr. Sweeney
A number of options exist for the treatment of nearsightedness or myopia. Programs developed by Optometrists like Dr. Sweeney to treat Myopia are known as Myopia Management or Myopia Control treatments. The best approach will be dictated by individual circumstances and lifestyle. Dr. Sweeney will be happy to outline Myopia Control Options and prescribe the best treatment.
Eyeglasses, Prescription Eye Drops and Contact Lenses
Eyeglasses, prescription eye drops, or contact lenses are the most common methods of correcting myopia symptoms. They work by refocusing light rays on the retina, compensating for the shape of your eye. Specialty contact lenses have been developed specifically to address myopic conditions. (See MiSight 1 Day Contact Lenses) Wearing eyeglasses and contact lenses full time may not be necessary. Dr. Sweeney will be able to advise you on the best practices.
Orthokeratology or OrthoK
Orthokeratology is becoming an increasingly popular way to treat myopia, especially for budding athletes. OrthoK uses a series of gas permeable contact lenses to slowly reshape and gently flatten the cornea and reduce myopia while your child sleeps. The lenses are worn only at night and the eye will retain this new shape for 20 hours. Vision improvement is temporary. After you stop using the lenses, your cornea goes back to its original shape, and myopia returns.
In some cases, people may choose Laser Eye Surgery to correct myopia. These refractive surgery procedures improve the patient’s vision by reshaping the cornea. The reshaped cornea focuses light properly onto the retina. Options may include LASIK, PRK, or even a Refractive Lens Exchange. Dr. Sweeney will be happy to discuss options and refer you to an eye surgeon for further consultation.
Sunshine and a Digital Diet
Although not a cure for nearsightedness, Dr. Sweeney highly recommends more outdoor time for kids and a diet placed on computers and mobile devices. These practices are believed to slow the progression of myopia.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that eye exercises, vitamins, or pills can prevent or cure myopia.
Myopia – Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA
Vision Source Insight Eyecare has been treating patients using Myopia Control since 2004 and have helped hundreds of patients achieve amazing results. All Myopia Control treatments begin with a Consultation. Please call to schedule an Appointment today at Sandy Springs/Atlanta 404 250 1680 or send us an Online Consultation Request with Dr Sweeney