Myopia (Short-Sightedness) Management
Are you short-sighted? How can we stop it getting worse?
Myopia, also known as ‘short-sightedness’ or ‘near-sightedness’, causes people to have difficulty seeing distant objects clearly. It is estimated that half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050. Growing levels of high myopia are increasing the risks of serious eye conditions, which may lead to permanent blindness (see table graphic). These eye diseases include cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration or maculopathy. Research has found multiple contributors towards this ‘myopia epidemic’ including less time outdoors and near digital device usage.
Myopia management involves strategies to reduce myopia progression to reduce the risks of myopic related eye diseases. Currently the three most effective strategies are:
- low dose atropine eye drops,
- Orthokeratology contact lenses, and…
- daily wear soft multi-focal contact lenses.
There are also spectacle lens designs which do reduce myopia progression but less effectively.
Orthokeratology are custom designed rigid contact lenses which when worn while sleeping gently mold the corneal shape to correct myopia. We have known about the possible myopia management benefits for around 20 years but only in the past decade has research studies proved orthokeratology’s average of around 50% reduction of myopia progression. Other benefits of orthokeratology are that neither contact lenses or glasses are needed to see clearly during the day. This is ideal for all sports and people who have dry eye problems with daily wear contact lenses.
Orthokeratology is also a temporary treatment and completely reversible so lenses are required to be worn most nights to maintain the molding effect. Modern orthokeratology lens designs have allowed the correction of astigmatism and hyperopia (long sightedness) as well.
Heron Eyecare are strong advocates of myopia management and can advise and implement all treatment strategies.