What is Myopia?
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness or short-sightedness, is the result of light (visual stimuli) entering the eye and instead of being focused directly on the retina (the inner layer of the eye responsible for processing vision), it is focused in front of the retina. This defocus is what leads to blurry vision, similar to a camera lens being out of focus and producing a blurry picture. It is for this reason, it became known as “short-sightedness” or nearsightedness because the light entering the eye is “short” or “near” of the retina and not directly focused on it. Only when light is focused precisely on the retina, will the image be processed in a clear and focused manner. Luckily, spectacle lenses (i.e glasses) or contact lenses can refocus light on to the retina and produce a clear image for us to enjoy clear vision all day long. But this is only a visual aid and does not address the physical condition of the eye.
What is Myopia Control?
Myopia Control is a customized program for your child to slow down or stop their vision from getting worse. Utilizing customized lens retainers (Ortho-K), specialty soft contact lenses, and eye drops, there are clinically proven ways to minimize your child’s vision from worsening.
Having myopia is not only a matter of inconvenience, but it puts you at greater risk for future medical eye diseases such as retinal detachments, cataracts, glaucoma, and myopic retinopathy.
Why is Myopia Control Important?
Myopia is much more than the result of blurry images and the need for glasses or contact lenses. Myopic eyes are typically longer than non-myopic eyes, and this elongation leads to stretching of the retinal tissue inside the eyeball, which can lead to long term eye health issues, including blindness. It is precisely for this reason that myopia is viewed as a medical condition with risks and consequences if untreated.
Myopia control/management is a safe, science-based, treatment plan that targets the progression of myopia and aims to slow down or stop progression of myopia development. Myopia control utilizes custom contact retainer lenses, enhanced multifocal soft contact lenses, and eye drops to slow the abnormal elongation of the eye. Studies have shown that with myopia control we can stop progression by more than 50% in developing eyes.
What causes myopia?
There has been extensive research over the last 100 years to determine what causes myopia, and to this day scientist and researchers do not fully understand the root cause of myopia. There are however, several risk factors that put us at risk of developing myopia. The most accepted risk factors found in research are genetics and near activities. Say for example, both of your parents have myopia, the chances of you having myopia are much greater (45% prevalence versus 7.3% when no parents have myopia). The other risk factor, near activities, has been implicated as a risk factor due to the visual strain on our eyes when focusing at a close distance. This visual strain is thought to send signals for the eye to grow and elongate in length, thereby increasing the myopia. Many studies have demonstrated a direct correlation between myopia and time spent outdoors, and consequently they found that children who spend more time outdoors, are less likely to be myopic.
How common is myopia?
Current studies show that the global prevalence of myopia is 30%, but there is an alarming trend and it is predicted that by 2050, nearly 50% of the population, or 5 billion people will be myopic. It precisely for this reason that we now have a Myopia Epidemic.