What is Myopia?
Myopia (or short-sightedness) typically presents with the inability to see far objects clearly. Close up objects remain clear. Myopia is caused by the eye growing too long. This results in objects coming into focus in front of – rather than on – the back surface of the eye.
In recent years we have seen rates of myopia increase at exponential proportions. According to the Brien Holden Vision Institute, over half of the world’s population will be short sighted by 2050.
Myopia can be a slowly progressive condition. However in a number of cases, particularly in younger children, myopia can increase rapidly and have long-term effects on the mature eye. In advanced cases myopia can increase the risk of certain conditions such as:
- Myopic maculopathy
- Retinal detachment
Certain groups may have a higher risk of myopia. These include:
- Having one or both parents with myopia
- Increased time doing near work
- Less time in outdoor natural lighting
- A low level of longsight at a young age. This one of the reasons we recommend regular exams, even in young children
What can we do about myopia?
Myopia Control is a relatively modern and exciting area within optometry. Myopia control describes techniques used to slow the progression and increase in myopia over time.
As this is a new area within Optometry, not all Optometrists are qualified to provide all methods of myopia control. At Wanganui Eyecare, our Optometrists are committed to providing the most advanced and science based treatments for myopia.
By reducing the rate of progression, we aim to reduce the risks associated with higher levels of myopia. If short-sightedness doesn’t worsen rapidly, this should also mean fewer changes in prescription glasses over time. When vision eventually stabilises, people may be less dependent on thick lenses to help them see.
What treatments are available for Myopia?
Some techniques are used in isolation, though often in combination with others for greater effect.
- Atropine 0.01% Eye Drops are a relatively new agent used for myopia control. This method is generally very successful, with research so far suggesting a positive impact with little to no risk of side effects. The reduced concentration of Atropine is not commercially available. This means you cannot buy Atropine 0.01% off the shelf. Atropine is prepared and formulated for you by a specialised Pharmacist in a Compounding Pharmacy, and delivered to your home.
- MiSight© is a soft contact lens that gives clear vision while slowing down myopic progression. As a disposable lens, these are replaced every day. This hygienic regime can reduce the occurrence of eye infections and symptoms related to ocular allergies. For more information see: https://coopervision.com.my/contact-lenses/misight
- Spectacle lenses designed in Australia have been specifically designed to reduce myopic progression. These lenses have been shown to reduce progression by 30% in some groups.
- Orthokeratology describes specialised contact lenses are worn each night while you sleep. These lenses are made from rigid (RGP) materials. Overnight, these reshape the window to the eye called the cornea. This allows for clear vision, and means there is no need for glasses or contact lenses on the following day. Orthokeratology lenses are considered one of the most successful myopia control agents, and have been used to great effect for many years.
For more information and to see our fee structure, click below to download our brochure.
For technical information on Atropine and Myopia Control, click below to download and read the main scientific studies carried out in this area.