Myopia or “nearsightedness” is when the eye grows too long so that light does not focus on the retina, but instead focuses in front of the retina. This results in distant objects appearing blurry.
The exact cause of myopia is currently unknown; however, several factors seem to play a role. Some of these factors are environmental, such as a limited exposure to outdoor sunlight or an increased amount of reading or near work. There also appears to be a genetic component because children of parents with myopia are more likely to develop myopia.
Myopia is becoming increasingly common worldwide. It is predicted that 50% of the population will have myopia by 2050.
Causes of Myopia Progression
The amount of myopia that a child has often increases each year. This increase is typically seen between 9 and 18 years of age. Some children develop myopia at an earlier age and some progress more quickly than the expected rate.
Risks Associated with Myopia
Myopia is associated with an increased risk of eye diseases, such as retinal detachments, cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Typically, the higher the myopia, the greater the risk of developing these conditions, which is why there is a strong interest in attempting to control the progression of myopia.
Myopia Control Options at Ketchum Health
Atropine Eye Drops
An eye drop called atropine is placed in both eyes just before bedtime. The drops used for myopia control are a lower concentration than those used for other purposes by eye doctors.
Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses
These lenses are special soft contact lenses that have different powers within the same lens. They are worn during the day and are removed for sleeping.
Ortho-K is the process of gently reshaping the front surface of the eye using specially designed customized gas permeable contact lenses that are worn only when sleeping. The contact lenses are removed in the morning and glasses and contact lenses are not needed during the day.