Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a refractive condition where the eye is unable to focus images clearly without glasses or contact lenses. During myopia progression, the eye grows longer. A longer eye, may be at higher risks for eye diseases including:
- Retinal Detachment
- Retinal Atrophy
- Retinal tears and breaks
Prevention of high myopia reduces the risk of future complications
So what can you do? There are four main treatments that studies show work to reduce myopia progression. They are listed below in order of decreasing efficacy:
- Low dose atropine eye drops (59% Reduction)
- Soft multifocal contact lenses (49% Reduction)
- Orthokeratology (43% Reduction)
- Increased sun exposure (23% Reduction)
What do we do in our office?
During our vision exams, we determine if the patient is at risk for myopia progression. We use a number of factors, including refractive state, changes in vision, family history, age as well as others to decide if treatment is appropriate. If we decide to treat, with contact lenses or eye drops, it is customary to see the patient every 3 months to follow up and adjust treatment as necessary.
While contact lenses and atropine are the most effective, regardless of if we decide to treat, we recommend everyone gets at least 7 hours per week outside. Studies have shown that uv and violate light may help slow myopia progression. Of course the downside to sun exposure is the risk of skin cancer and cataracts. For this reason we recommend the use of sun screen and sunglasses. It is not known if sun protection negates the effects on myopia prevention, but should not be ignored.