Myopia is the leading reason why people wear prescription lenses. This refractive eye condition occurs when the light that enters the eye isn’t focused directly on the cells responsible for turning it into clear images that are sent to the brain. Myopia is the most common refractive eye condition in the world, and the number of people with it is expected to continue to grow during the next decade.
Myopia management refers to different treatment techniques that are used to keep myopia – aka nearsightedness - under control and stop it progressing to advanced levels. Some of these treatments simply slow the rate at which myopia develops, while others can halt it altogether. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of myopia management and what your options are for treatment.
Since myopia doesn’t cause pain or any particularly debilitating symptoms, many people underestimate the importance of myopia management. However, myopia is a progressive condition and your vision will only get worse unless you get treatment. This means that your prescriptions will get continually stronger, and over time, you could find that you need special lenses or even lens thinning to enable you to see clearly. This could limit your options for eyewear in the future since some patients with particularly severe myopia are unable to wear contact lenses or have laser vision correction due to their vision being so badly compromised.
High levels of myopia have also been linked to a variety of different eye conditions – many of which have long-term or even permanent consequences for your vision. These include an increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment. Keeping your myopia under control is one way that you can minimize your risk of severe eye health problems in the future.
There are several different treatment options for managing myopia and keeping it under control.
In the early stages of the condition, wearing specialty myopia control prescription glasses or contact lenses can not only help you to see clearly, but will also help slow the rate of myopia. They are most often recommended for children and have been shown to slow down myopia progression by as much as 60%.
Atropine eyedrops are a popular, simple treatment for myopia control. Atropine eyedrops work by dilating the pupils and temporarily paralyzing the muscles inside the eye that are used to focus, putting the eye under less stress. Experts also believe that the atropine may bind to certain growth receptors found in the eye, blocking the stimulation that can cause childhood myopia – which develops as a result of the eye growing too long in comparison to the focusing power of the lens. For this reason, eyedrops are believed to be especially effective in young people who are developing the condition.
Orthokeratology, or ortho-k for short, is another effective treatment for controlling myopia. Uniquely, it can also enable patients to see clearly during the day without using prescription eyewear.
Ortho-K uses specially fitted gas permeable contact lenses that are worn overnight to reshape the front surface of the eye so that light is refracted correctly. While most contacts shouldn’t be worn while sleeping, Ortho-K lenses enable oxygen to pass through them so that they can be safely worn overnight. When waking, the patient simply removes their lenses and stores them in cleaning solution. Their eye is able to maintain its new shape for a number of hours before returning to normal. The more consistently patients wear their Ortho-K lenses, the longer their eyes will be able to retain the new shape until they can enjoy a whole day of clear vision without prescription eyewear. Ortho-K is entirely non-invasive, painless, and extremely safe, even as a treatment for children as young as 7 or 8 years old.
For more information about myopia management, please contact our eyecare experts At Cincinnati Vision Group. We have 3 locations available for your convenience; Montgomery Rd (Cincinnati) at (513) 793-5970, Eastgate Blvd (Cincinnati) at (513) 753-4981, and Liberty Township at (513) 712-5065.