Understanding Myopia

Myopia: Understanding the Risks and What to Do About It

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common focussing problem that is traditionally corrected with simple single focus glasses. People with myopia can see nearby objects clearly but struggle to see objects that are far away because that’s when light is focussed in front of the retina because the eyeball is too long. Myopia typically develops during childhood and can worsen because as our kids get older their eyes get bigger.

What are the risks of myopia?

While myopia itself is not typically a serious condition, it can increase the risk of more serious eye problems like cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic maculopathy, depending on the severity of myopia (or the strength of your glasses) or more accurately, the length of the eyeball.

Myopia can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life. People with myopia may struggle to perform daily activities such as driving, reading, and watching television. They may also experience social and emotional challenges related to their vision loss because it can be frustrating being dependent on prescription glasses to function.
What can you do?

It is not possible to shrink an eyeball. We can help you reduce your child’s lifetime risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts and myopic macular degeneration using proven techniques which control eyeball growth, however most eyeball growth occurs in primary school years and so the earlier we start, the better the outcome.

While myopia itself cannot be cured, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of complications. Here are some tips:

  1. Schedule regular eye exams

Regular eye exams can help detect myopia and other eye problems early when they are most treatable. Your optometrist can also identify any changes in your vision, look for signs of complications and provide guidance on how to manage your condition of myopia. Early detection and intervention are crucial and we recommend that developing kids be reviewed annually, and myopic kids reviewed every six months unless otherwise advised by your optometrist.

  1. Consider myopia control treatments

There are several myopia control treatments available that can help slow the progression of myopia. These include orthokeratology, which involves wearing special contact lenses overnight to reshape the cornea, and atropine eye drops, which can help reduce the growth of the eye.

To slow the progression of myopia, also known as nearsightedness, you can consider the following strategies:

  1. Practice good eye hygiene: Spend more time outdoors, as studies have shown that increased exposure to natural light and the outdoor environment may help reduce the progression of myopia, especially in children.  Spending a minimum of two hours daily in natural daylight, reading in well-lit environments, and taking frequent breaks from close work, can effectively decrease eye strain and inhibit the progression of myopia.

2. Reduce Near Work and Digital Device Usage: Take regular breaks from near work activities such as reading, writing, or extended periods of screen time. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet (or even metres!) away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break; and the elbow rule: don’t hold anything that you’re looking at (devices, books, writing materials) closer than your elbow.

3. Proper Distance and Lighting: Maintain an appropriate reading distance (elbow rule) and ensure proper lighting (daylight, daylight bulbs, or warm white bulbs) when engaging in near tasks to reduce eye strain and potential progression of myopia.

4. Use Corrective Lenses: Wear glasses or contact lenses prescribed by an optometrist to reduce myopia progression. There are advanced new corrective lenses that help provide clear vision and have reduce the progression of myopia.

5. Orthokeratology (Ortho-K): Consider orthokeratology, a specialized contact lens fitting procedure where specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses are worn overnight to reshape the cornea temporarily. This technique can provide clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses and has shown some effectiveness in slowing the progression of myopia.

6. Multifocal Contact Lenses: Discuss with your optometrist the option of multifocal contact lenses, which have different power zones for near and distance vision. These lenses have shown promising results in slowing the progression of myopia, particularly in children and young adults.

7. Pharmacological Treatments: In some cases, your optometrist may prescribe specific eye drops (e.g., low-dose atropine) that have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia. These eye drops require careful monitoring and should be used under professional supervision.

It's important to remember that the effectiveness of these strategies may vary from person to person, and it's essential to consult with an optometrist who can assess your specific condition and recommend the most appropriate approaches for managing and slowing the progression of your myopia.


Make an Appointment

Contact the team at Heron Eyecare in Toowoomba to book in for your next eye examination.

07 4639 2378

Location 147 Russell Street, Toowoomba with convenient off-street parking