Have you ever noticed how many people around you wear glasses? Or do you know plenty of people who rely on contact lenses in order to be able to see clearly? The use of prescription correction solutions such as glasses and contact lenses are at an all-time high – a result of more people suffering from refractive eye errors than ever before. Refractive eye errors occur when there is an issue with the way that our eyes process the light that enters them. In someone with perfect vision, light is refracted through the eyes directly onto the retina, which receives the light and converts it into a signal that is sent to the brain via the optic nerve, telling us what we can see. When you have a refractive eye error, your cornea is an unusual shape, meaning that light is focused either in front of or behind the retina instead, causing the message sent through the optic nerve to be confused and vision to be blurred.
Myopia is the name of the most common refractive eye error, which occurs because the light is refracted in front of the retina rather than onto it. It is also known as short-sightedness, can be progressive, and is the leading cause of people being reliant on glasses or contact lenses.
Myopia control is the term used to describe specific treatments that are used with the intention of slowing the progression of near-sightedness. Myopia control is usually used in reference to children. This is because a diagnosis of myopia in childhood has been shown to increase a child’s risk of developing severe myopia and experiencing other ocular problems once they become an adult. This includes:
- Needing extremely thick lenses
- Being unsuitable for contact lenses
- A higher risk of developing glaucoma
- A significantly higher risk of developing macular degeneration
- A higher risk of cataracts
- A higher risk of retinal detachment
By getting your child’s myopia under control early on in their life, you can considerably reduce the likelihood that they will experience serious eye health and vision problems in the future.
Fortunately, there are a few options that can help limit the progression of myopia in both adults and children.
Screen time is believed to be a significant factor in the development of myopia and experts have stated that cutting back on screen time, or at least taking regular breaks from the screen, can help to slow down the progression of myopia, particularly in childhood. It also reduces your risk of developing dry eye disease, eye strain and similar conditions caused by a prolonged period of intense visual focus.
Natural light is very important for developing healthy eyes. This is because natural sunlight contains vitamin D which is needed for eye function. We have to focus much harder when we are in dimly lit spaces too – something which can expedite the progression of myopia. Try and work in natural light as much as possible to reduce your risk.
Atropine eyedrops relax the eye’s focusing mechanism to help reduce focus fatigue, which is a common problem amongst patients with myopia.
Orthokeratology is a cutting-edge new treatment that can be utilized by patients of all ages – even children. It involves the use of bespoke corneal reshaping lenses that work whilst you sleep, molding the cornea into a more spherical shape that enables light to be refracted correctly. When you wake up the next day, you can remove the lenses and your eyes will retain their shape throughout the day. Orthokeratology – or Ortho-K as it is sometimes known – is completely reversible. This means that if you stop wearing the reshaping lenses, your vision will quickly return to what it was before you began treatment.
As you can see, there are a number of options available when it comes to myopia control. If you would like to discuss any of these in more detail, our expert team would be happy to help. Please contact our offices today to schedule an appointment.