Serving Alpha, NJ
Myopia Signs and Symptoms
People with myopia are usually able to see well up close but have difficulty seeing objects at a distance. Due to the fact that they may be straining or squinting to see into the distance, they may develop headaches, eye fatigue or eye strain.
Myopia is a refractive error caused by an irregular shaped cornea that affects the way light is focused on the retina. For clear vision, light should come to a focus point directly onto the retina. In myopia, the cornea is longer than usual, resulting in a focus point that falls in front of the retina, causing distant objects to appear blurry, while close objects can be seen normally.
Myopia typically has a genetic component as it often appears in multiple members of a family and it usually begins to show signs during childhood, often getting progressively worse until stabilizing around age 20. There may also be environmental factors that contribute to myopia such as work that requires focusing on close objects for an extended period of time and spending too much time indoors.
Myopia Control May Include:
- Orthokeratology (“ortho-k”) or Corneal Refractive Therapy
- Atropine Drops
- Multifocal contact lenses & eyeglasses
Levels of Myopia:
- Mild myopia: -0.25 to -3.00 D
- Moderate myopia: Between -3.00 to -6.00 D
- High myopia: More than -6.00 D
Myopia Control Prevents Risk of Ocular Disease
The rate of progression of myopia has been linked to the development of cataracts. The higher the level of myopia in a child, the faster the rate cataracts can develop when they get older.
Glaucoma is when the eye develops an unusually high pressure, where this pressure can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss. Nearsighted people have a 2-3x greater risk at Glaucoma.
Levels of myopia also have a correlation to detached retinas. A detached retina is when the retina pulls away from the eyes tissue, often resulting in permanent vision loss.
Much like multifocal glasses, multifocal contacts are designed with different levels of magnification in different areas of the lens. These lenses are effective as a means of myopia control because they allow a child to see clearly at all distances rather than magnifying distant objects while simultaneously making close objects more difficult to see. This goes a long way towards eliminating strain which contributes to the progression of myopia.
Atropine ophthalmic solution is an eye drop that relaxes the muscles in the eye and widens the pupil. 1% atropine is commonly used in routine eye exams, during eye surgery, to treat patients with inflammatory conditions, and in babies and young children for the treatment of lazy eye. However, studies have investigated the off-label use of atropine eye-drops in lower concentrations (0.01%) for myopia control. Atropine 0.01% drops are now being prescribed for myopia control by ophthalmologists.
Some doctors place a patch over the more functional eye, which forces the less functional eye to work harder and become stronger. The patch is generally worn for a few hours a day. Treatment can last for weeks or months.
Myopia Control Starts with You – The Parent
Your child’s eyes are his/her gateway into the world of learning. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Children are not likely to recognize vision problems like myopia, and it is, therefore, the responsibility of parents and teachers to recognize signs of visual problems in their children.
Children’s Eyesight May Change, Less Often With Myopia Control
Because changes in your child’s vision can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the eye doctor every year or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. Myopia control attempts to reduce the number of changes that may occur in your child’s vision. With a successful myopia control program, an eye doctor can provide your child with amazing vision, track your child’s rate of myopia, and provide a clear road to healthy eyesight and a successful future.