What is Myopia (Nearsightedness)?
Myopia causes trouble seeing things in the distance. Far away objects look blurry and out of focus. Those who have myopia may experience eyestrain, headaches, or squint due to trouble clearly seeing images or words on a blackboard, movie screen, or television. But those with myopia can still see things near or close to their face.
Most nearsightedness is caused by a natural change in the shape of the eyeball that makes the eye elongated and oval (egg shaped) rather than round. This causes light rays that enter the eye to focus in front of the retina rather than directly on it.
What causes Myopia?
Multiple risk factors may contribute to the development of myopia and its progression, including:
1. Family history: children with myopic parents have a greater risk of becoming myopic and it occurs more in certain ancestries (Asian and Middle Eastern).
2. Excessive time spent doing close work such as reading, tablet, or working at a computer.
3. Limited exposure to sunlight.
Why is it important to manage Myopia as soon as it is detected?
People with high myopia have an increased risk of myopic maculopathy, retinal detachments, cataracts, and glaucoma. Myopia can be categorized as mild (> -0.25D to –3.00D), moderate (-3.25D to –6.00D), or high severity (-6.00D or higher) depending on the amount of correction needed. Some children who develop myopia have a continual progression throughout their lives, making them high myopes, meaning they require a lens of -6.00 diopters or more to see clearly in the distance.
The prevalence of myopia is dramatically increasing worldwide. In the United States, the percentage of myopic individuals increased from 25% to 46% from 1972 to 2002 and has been growing since then! By the year 2050 over 50% of the world’s population is predicted to be myopic. Even more concerning is the fact that the prevalence of higher levels of myopia is increasing at an even faster rate.
What are some ways to immediately slow down myopia progression?
Send Kids Outside to Play: Spend 2 hours/day or 14 hours/week outdoors, which must be done prior to significant myopic development for effect.
Minimize Screen Time and Excessive Reading: Data from 145 studies covering 2.1 million participants revealed that increases in myopia are driven principally by lifestyle.
Maintain a Near Working Distance of 13-16 inches or more: Encourage your child not to hold books or tablets to close to their eyes. This includes while they are writing and drawing; encourage your child not to write or draw too close to the page.
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule with Reading and Computer Use: After 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
What treatments are available for Myopia Management?
Corneal Refractive Therapy: CRT or orthokeratology are gentle molding lenses worn overnight. This treatment option offers freedom from daytime contacts or glasses and is great for patients with dry eyes or who are active in sports.
MiSight FDA Approved for Myopia Control or other Multifocal Soft Contacts: Worn during the day and removed before sleeping like typical contact lenses.
Atropine Medicated Drops: One drop is used in the effected eye(s) just before bedtime. Often used in young patients or those who cannot tolerate contact lenses.
Multifocal Spectacles: Executive bifocal or progressive add-lens glasses are the least effective option, so they are used in conjunction with other treatments.
Efficient Binocular Vision (eye teaming) and Accommodative (focusing) Skills: A Vision Therapy Treatment program may be prescribed to help stabilize myopia.
Dr. Bailey takes myopia very seriously. She prescribes the most appropriate interventions based upon the individual’s needs and stays up to date with the latest science related to myopia management.