Why Does Myopia Need to Be Managed?
Myopia (nearsightedness) is reaching epidemic proportions. By 2050, half of the world’s population is expected to have myopia. That’s worrying, as having myopia significantly raises the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and macular degeneration.
The level of myopia a child has is directly correlated to their risk of eye disease — the higher the myopia, the greater the risk. A child between -0.75D and -3.00 is more than 3 times more likely to develop retinal detachment in the future. That number triples for individuals with high myopia (-5.00 and above).
If you’re concerned that your child’s vision is deteriorating, contact Southern Optical today. We can help.
Did You Know Myopia Is Caused By Abnormal Eye Growth?
Myopia is the most common refractive error among children and young adults. It occurs when the eye elongates, causing rays of light to focus in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it. This causes distant objects to appear blurred while nearby objects remain clear.
The degree of myopia can progress gradually or rapidly, especially from ages 8-18. This is not just a matter of inconvenience or needing stronger glasses; if the myopia continues to progress, the child is at a higher risk of developing dangerous eye diseases later in life that can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness.
Although glasses and standard contact lenses can correct a person’s vision, they do not treat the underlying cause of myopia or slow its progression.
Treatment Options For Myopia
Myopia or short-sightedness occurs when the eye is too long relative to its focusing system. This causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina. This myopic defocus will typically make distant objects difficult to see.
Myopia is the most common focusing error of the eye, and it has become more prevalent in recent years. Rates of the condition have doubled in recent decades and it is estimated that 55% of Australians will be myopic in 2050. High myopia has long been associated with sight-threatening conditions including myopic maculopathy, retinal detachment, cataract and glaucoma. Increasingly it is being recognised that even low to moderate degrees of myopia can increase the risk of such comorbidities.
Myopia control aims to slow the progression of myopia to decrease the likelihood of sight-threatening conditions developing. Current evidence-based myopia control options are:
- Multifocal soft contact lenses
- Atropine eye drops
- Time spent outdoors
Involves the fitting of specially designed contact lenses that are worn when sleeping overnight. These lenses gently reshape the front surface of the eye (cornea). The reshaping changes the contour of the cornea allowing for clear vision the following day after the lenses are removed. Ortho-k is also used for myopia control. Studies have shown significant reduction in myopic progression when comparing children wearing ortho-k contact lenses to those wearing conventional glasses.
Atropine Eye Drops
Studies show atropine is effective in controlling myopic progression, however it hasn’t been commonly used due to adverse effects including light sensitivity and blurred near vision. Recent studies report that low dose atropine (typically prescribed as 0.01 per cent) has significantly less side effects, and although less efficacious than high dose atropine, still significantly reduces myopia progression compared with controls.
Time Spent Outdoors
Recent studies show that increasing exposure to outdoor light is the key to reducing myopia in children. It is thought that children need to spend more than one hour and preferably at least two hours per day outside to prevent myopia from developing and progressing. Children who spent less than one hour in bright outdoor light were found to show significantly faster myopic progression than those who spent more time in bright outdoor light.
At Southern Optical we fit both Ortho-k lenses and soft multifocal lenses. Both Peter and Glen are therapeutically endorsed so they are able to prescribe atropine eye drops.
Myopia increases the risk of serious, sight threatening complications.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs Myopia Management?
If you are concerned about your child’s myopia, call our practice today. Our team of eye care professionals will help you understand more about your child's nearsightedness and will determine whether your child is a candidate for myopia management.
Book an eye test to find out whether your child could benefit from this life-changing treatment.
Myopia Management Offers a Brighter Future | FAQ
If you’ve been wearing glasses or contacts for many years without much concern, it may seem unnecessary to manage your child’s myopia. However, it’s a worthwhile and important investment, as rapidly progressing myopia may lead to more severe eye complications and sight-threatening conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.
In fact, the longer the eyeball length, the greater the risk of ocular complications down the line.
Myopia management has been shown to effectively help reduce the rate of growth of the eyeball in children and teens by slowing its progression. Offer your child a brighter future with myopia management.
Can Myopia Lead to Blindness?
In extreme circumstances, myopia can lead to serious vision-threatening complications, including blindness. This occurs primarily in cases where high myopia has reached an advanced stage called degenerative myopia.
What is Progressive Myopia?
Progressive myopia is nearsightedness that continues to worsen year after year. This progression can result in severe myopia, also called high myopia, that may be associated with potentially serious side effects.
Can Myopia Be Cured?
Currently, there is no cure for myopia. But myopia management methods like Ortho-K, multifocal contact lenses and atropine eye drops can slow its progression.