What Is Myopia?
If your child’s prescription for nearsightedness is getting worse all the time, it’s more than an inconvenience. Myopia can be aggressive. As incidence rates of myopia drastically rise, it’s also the case that aggressive or progressive myopia is rapidly increasing too. This situation is much worse than needing stronger and stronger corrective lenses, glasses or contacts. Myopia puts your child at risk for a wide range of serious and potentially devastating eye conditions later in life. These risks include:
- Macular Degeneration
- Retinal detachment
The more advanced the progression, the greater the risks associated with the Myopia. However, the research is now showing that any amount of myopia is dangerous.
At Advanced Eyecare Myopia Control Center, we specialize in providing the greater Irvine and Dana Point areas with effective, specialized treatment to control the progression of myopia. By stopping or even halting the progression of myopia, we reduce these long-term risks to best ensure that your child enjoys seeing the world with healthy eyes throughout his or her life.
Myopia, also commonly referred to as being “nearsighted” is a condition where light from objects in the distance focus in the front of the eye, instead of where it’s supposed to focus on―the retina. This causes distance vision to distort and become blurry. Myopia starts in childhood and progressively deteriorates into young adulthood.
Myopic vision is caused when the eye becomes elongated and and overly-curved in the front. This causes the objects we see to become blurry at a distance. In short, the signals to our eyes get distorted.
The exact cause of myopia is not entirely clear, although it seems to be a combination of genetics and environment. More and more, the evidence is pointing to two factors which seem to greatly affect the incidence rates around the world: greatly reduced time outdoors and rapidly increasing time spent in front of digital devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.
Why Are Rates of Myopia Increasing? Is Myopia An Epidemic?
While the exact causes of Myopia are not entirely certain, what is certain is that rates of myopia are drastically on the rise throughout the world. In fact, over 10 million American children have myopia, nearly double the incidence rate of myopia as compared to only a 2 decades ago. Incidence of myopia in children is enough for it to be considered an epidemic, with the number expected to jump 40% worldwide by 2050. Myopia is currently the 6th leading cause of blindness worldwide, with that figure expected to rise.
You Treat Nearsightedness With Glasses Or Contact Lenses, Isn’t That Enough?
Corrective lenses such as regular glasses or contact lenses refocus the light to compensate for the myopia. This is what allows someone with myopia to see more clearly. However, Lenses DO NOT address the myopia itself: the elongated eyeball or overly curved front of the eye and the risks associated with it. Wearing Glasses or Contact Lenses for myopia issues would be analogous to taking Tylenol for the short-term management of a fever's symptoms, while not taking the antibiotics necessary to cure the actual infection.
How Is Myopia Dangerous? Isn’t Myopia Just Inconvenient?
What many people don’t know is that myopia is dangerous. Over recent years, the research has conclusively shown that myopia significantly increases the likelihood of a number of serious conditions which can rob your child of sight as he or she ages. This includes: Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, and Retinal Detachment.
- Cataracts and Myopia
A child with medium to high myopia is 5 times more likely to develop cataracts in his or her lifetime.
Cataracts is condition where the lens of the eye clouds over and makes vision difficult or even impossible.
- Glaucoma and Myopia
Rates of glaucoma increase dramatically in children with myopia. A child with myopia is medium-high 3 times more likely to develop this serious condition, which occurs when fluid build up puts pressure on the eye causing irreversible damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness.
- Retinal Detachment: Even Mild Myopia is Dangerous
New research is showing that medium and high myopia significantly increases the risk of retinal detachment. A child with mild myopia, -4 to -7, is 21 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, while children with high myopia, worse than -7, are 44 times more likely to develop this serious vision condition.Retinal Detachment is a condition where the retina literally detaches from the layers beneath it. This causes lost fields of visions, flashes of light, floaters, and even total loss of your child’s eyesight.
- Myopic Macular Degeneration
Myopia occurs because the eyeball becomes increasingly elongated. When the progression of myopia is extremely high, or, malignant, it can cause the retina to be stretched, causing tears to form in the macula and bleeding in the areas beneath the retina. This can cause irreversible vision loss and blindness. Children with -5 to -7 have a 44 time greater increased risk, and 126 time greater for children with high myopia.
Control The Progression Of Your Child’s Myopia.
Book a Myopia Control Appointment in Irvine
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What Is Myopia Control?
In recent years, a number of advanced methods have been developed to control myopia. Unlike glasses or regular contact lenses, the goal of myopia control is to slow or even halt the progression of myopia entirely. At the Advanced Eyecare Myopia Control Center, Dr. Matthew Wang will begin with a full assessment of your child’s myopia. We will then recommend a personalized treatment plan to slow or even stop your child’s myopia from getting worse. This is what will minimize the risks to your child’s long-term vision.
The more advanced the myopia is, the greater the risks. Therefore, our Irvine and Dana Point Myopia Control Experts recommend starting Myopia Control as soon as myopia is detected. It’s important to halt the progression of myopia before your child’s vision deteriorates any further. This is the only way to minimize the risks. It also has the significant benefit of keeping your child from needing stronger and stronger lenses over time.
What Treatments Are There For Myopia? How Does Myopia Control Work?
There are three main treatments that are used for effective Myopia Control. These are:
- Orthokeratology (Ortho-k), also known as GVSS (Gentle Vision Shaping System) and CRT
- Specialized soft multifocal contact lenses
- Atropine Therapy
Each treatment option has its advantages and disadvantages. After we assess your child’s myopia, we will talk through all the options and develop a treatment plan that works best for your family.
Ortho-K, or, orthokeratology goes by many names.
- Gentle Shaping Vision System (GVSS)
- Corneal Reshaping Therapy (CRT)
- Vision Shaping Therapy (VST)
- Corneal Molding (CM)
All of these treatment names are more or less the same thing. A rigid contact lens is custom-made for your child’s eyes by our Irvine Myopia Control experts. These special lenses are worn at night by your child. As your child sleeps, the lenses gently reshape the cornea of the eyes. This reshaping corrects the elongation of the eye which causes the myopia. What this means is that the wearer won’t need glasses or contact lenses during the day at all — an especially appealing option for kids who don’t want to wear glasses or young athletes. What’s more, ortho-k has been proven to be highly effective at slowing and halting the progression of myopia, so it also is protecting your child’s adult vision while freeing them from glasses in the here and now.
Ortho-k allows adults and children alike to wake up with their vision adjusted, without the need to wear glasses or contacts during the day. For children, Ortho-k has been proven effective at slowing and even halting the progression of Myopia.
Ortho-k for Adults: A Safe Vision Correction Alternative to LASIK Surgery
Because corneal reshaping allows the wearer to see without glasses or contacts during the day, more and more adults are also being fitted for ortho-k. This could be for social or lifestyle reasons. Ortho-k is also appealing to certain professions such as:
- Construction workers
- Law Enforcement
- Long-distance drivers
Ortho-k is an effective and non-surgical alternative to LASIK, and will often work for people who, for whatever reason, don’t want or don’t qualify for LASIK surgery.
Another way myopia can be controlled is by using soft, multifocal contact lenses, which your child wears during the day. By altering the near, middle, and peripheral focus, in addition to correcting distance vision, the eyes are forced to adjust. This slows down the elongation in the eye overtime and is an effective means to control myopia.
Atropine is a medicated drop, the very same which is used to dilate the eyes for an exam. In micro-doses (around 0.01%), atropine has been found to be highly effective at reducing myopia with no discernable side effects. Atropine Therapy is safe, and an ideal choice for children who are too young to begin ortho-k. What’s more, atropine can be effectively combined with other methods of myopia control. Newer research is even indicating success at reducing risk with pre-myopic patients.
Links to further research
High myopia as a risk factor in primary open angle glaucoma.
Time outdoors and the prevention of Myopia.
Myopia and associated pathological complications.
The complex interactions of retinal, optical and environmental factors in myopia aetiology.
Five-Year Clinical Trial on Atropine for the Treatment of MyopiaMyopia Control with Atropine 0.01% Eyedrops.
Outdoor Activity during Class Recess Reduces Myopia Onset and Progression in School Children.
Orthokeratology to control myopia progression: a meta-analysis.
Misight presented at BCLA 2017 | myopia care.
Defocus Incorporated Soft Contact (DISC) lens slows myopia progression in Hong Kong Chinese schoolchildren: a 2-year randomised clinical trial.
Effect of Dual-Focus Soft Contact Lens Wear on Axial Myopia Progression in Children.
Multifocal Contact Lens Myopia Control.
Book a Myopia Control Appointment in Irvine
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