Myopia Control (Short Sightedness)
Myopia control is the use of lenses or eye drops to prevent the condition occurring or slowing it down. Myopia, or short sightedness, is on the increase world wide. With increased educational demands and increased screen time, myopia is becoming an epidemic.
9 out of 10 children in Asia and 4 out of 10 children in Australia will be myopic by age 18. There is a useful tool for parents to help assess the risk of their children developing myopia, which can be found at www.mykidsvision.org
The condition generally becomes worse over time. The traditional approach has been to keep making a patient’s lenses stronger. We approach myopia differently. By focusing on the causes and finding solutions to them, we aim to reduce the progress of myopia.
Some patients ask. “Why is reducing myopia important when I’m wearing glasses anyway?” The process of myopia involves the eye stretching. Stretched eyes do not age well. The efforts we make to reduce myopia now, pay off in later life. Retinopathy (damage to the retina of the eye) of myopia is on the increase, and greatly reduces vision.
Whilst we do not have a cure, we have numerous strategies to reduce the progression of myopia. We aim to keep up with the latest science to deliver the best care to our patients.
Once myopia begins, it is normal for it to progress and become worse. This is why we try to start treating it, before it begins, while the patient still thinks they are normal. We look for clues as to who will be myopic in the future. For example, children of short sighted parents or people who read or use screens a lot. Early assessment and monitoring is important to catch the problem at the right time.
There are a variety of methods used to help patients. Including the use of contact lenses, eye drops and bifocals.
- Vitale S, Ferris RD, et al. Increased prevalence of myopia in the United States between 1971-1972 and 1999-2004. Archives of Ophthamology. 2009.
- Dolgin, E. The Myopia Boom. Nature. 2015.
- Seo-Wei L, Young TL. An evidence-based update on myopia and interventions to retard its progression. J AAPOS. 2011 Apr; 15(2): 181–189.