What is Myopia and How is it Managed?

You have probably heard of myopia before, but you may have also heard it referred to as short- or near-sightedness. This is because people who have the condition can see nearby objects clearly without any issues, but struggle to see things further away clearly.


 

Myopia is the most common refractive eye condition in the United States, and indeed, the world. Estimates suggest that around 30% of the global population is currently affected and that this could grow to 50% by 2050. Fortunately, it can be treated using corrective lenses.


 

Let’s find out more about myopia, its causes, and how it can be managed.


 

Understanding Myopia


 

Myopia is a refractive condition. This means that it occurs due to a problem with the way that light is refracted by our eyes. When light enters the eye, a clear, domed covering all the cornea is responsible for angling it so that it passes through our eyes and onto an area of cells at the back called the retina. By focusing light fully onto the retina, it enables the messages transmitted by the retina to the brain to be identified correctly and our vision appears clear at all distances. However, when the light isn’t refracted perfectly onto the retina and instead falls in front of it, objects that are further away appear blurred.

 


Myopia happens when the curve of the cornea doesn’t enable the light to be refracted onto the retina. It’s not always clear why this happens. Some people think it is because the eye is over-stimulated and grows too long in comparison to the focusing power of the lens. The condition has also been linked to spending long periods of time focusing on nearby objects, such as computers and cell phone screens, and not getting enough time outside. It tends to run in families too, and if you have myopia, it’s likely that a child you have will have it too.


 

Why is it Important to Manage Myopia?

 


Myopia is a progressive condition so unless the affected person gets treatment, they will find that their eyesight gets worse over time. Myopia is being increasingly diagnosed in children, particularly between the ages of 8 and 12. The trouble is that the earlier myopia is diagnosed, the longer it has to get progressively worse – unless it’s properly managed.


 

Myopia management is important to prevent the development of high myopia. This is where myopia is particularly bad and requires high prescriptions to correct it. Unfortunately, studies have found that people with high myopia are much more likely to experience other complications with their vision as they get older, and some of these can have permanent consequences. People with high myopia are at greater risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment. The sooner myopia management begins, the more effective it should be in keeping the condition under control and limiting the likelihood of later complications.


 

What is Myopia Management?


 

Myopia management refers to the use of different treatments and techniques to keep your prescription steady and your myopia under control for as long as possible. In most cases, myopia management is recommended to start early, often as soon as someone is diagnosed. For this reason, myopia management often commences in childhood.


 

There are a few different treatments that can slow the progression of myopia. These include:


 

Atropine Eyedrops


 

Atropine eyedrops work by making the pupil of your eye larger and relaxing the focusing power of the eyes. They have been shown to be successful in slowing down myopia progression. However, they do cause sensitivity to light, and you may experience blurred vision while they are working.


 

MiSight Contact Lenses


 

These daily disposable contact lenses are clinically proven to slow down short-sightedness in children. They work by focusing peripheral light in front of the retina, reducing the stimuli that cause the eye to grow longer.


 

Orthokeratology


 

Also known as ortho-k, orthokeratology also uses contact lenses to slow or halt the progression of myopia. However, these bespoke lenses are designed to be worn overnight where they work with natural tear film to gradually reshape the cornea so that light can be refracted correctly. They are made from gas permeable material which makes them safe to be worn while sleeping. The following day, the eye is able to retain its natural shape so that it’s possible to see clearly without using any prescription glasses or contact lenses.

 

 

 

If you would like to learn more about myopia and myopia management, or to schedule an appointment to discuss either, please call Spectacles F.Y.Eye in State College, Pennsylvania at (814) 234-7788 today.