Myopia management ( Nearsighted progression in Children treatment)
What is Myopia?
Myopia, also commonly known as near-sightedness, results in a person not being able to see distance objects without the use of glasses or contact lenses. The largest concern about myopia is the rapidly increasing number of people suffering from this condition and the increasing number of patients with high myopia (> -5.00 Diopters).
The theories behind why we are seeing such a dramatic increase in prevalence and severity of myopia is multi-factorial; family history, ethnicity, diet, time outdoors, near work, and current vision correcting options have been shown to contribute.
Why is this important?
The more myopic (near-sighted) an eye progresses, the more dependent on vision correction (glasses and contact lenses) a person becomes. Even more importantly, as an eye becomes more near-sighted, the axial length or size of the eye increases. As an eye becomes larger, the structural and sensory components of the eye (sclera, retina) are forced to stretch to accommodate this increased surface area. This stretching can result in weakening of the ocular tissue and the risk of serious ocular health complications greatly increases later in life.
What can be done ?
For many years, the only treatment offered for patients becoming more and more near-sighted was to prescribe stronger prescription glasses and contact lenses and hope that one day the progression will stop. Myopia tends to progress most rapidly through our adolescent and teenage years. This happens as our bodies are rapidly growing over this time period and the eye is growing as well (increasing axial length). The last decade has shown a concerted effort by researchers to identify evidence-based treatment options to slow or halt myopia progression. Current treatment options that have been shown to slow myopia progression include:
- Orthokeratology (night time contact lens wear)
- Daily contact lenses
- Eye drops (Atropine)
- Multi-focus glasses
The rate of success of these treatment options has varied from patient to patient, with a range of slowing from 30-80% depending on specific treatments and patient characteristics in each of the studies.