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Myopia Control

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 36% of Australians will be myopic in 2020. 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:

  1. Orthokeratology
  2. Multifocal soft contact lenses
  3. Atropine eye drops
  4. Time spent outdoors
ortho-k lens
Boy putting on CLens

Orthokeratology (ortho-k)

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.

Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses

These contact lenses have a special dual-focus design that provide the full corrective power in the centre of the lens and a lower power towards the periphery. This creates a relative peripheral myopic defocus (image plane in front of the retina) which slows axial elongation and myopia development.


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.

Orthokeratology (ortho-k)

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.

Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses

These contact lenses have a special dual-focus design that provide the full corrective power in the centre of the lens and a lower power towards the periphery. This creates a relative peripheral myopic defocus (image plane in front of the retina) which slows axial elongation and myopia development.


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.

Boy putting on CLens