Why is it a problem and why do we need to try & control it?
Myopia will affect more than 50% of the global population by 2050
You may not have been aware of it but there is a developing epidemic of myopia (shortsightedness).
Myopia is characterised by an elongation of the eyeball as a child grows, making distance vision blurry and potentially leading to problems with eye health later in life. There is a worrying increase in the prevalence of this condition.
Optometrists, ophthalmologists and other health care professionals have puzzled over this for many years, and there is still no clear reason why myopic development occurs, or why the numbers are increasing so much.
It would appear that it is a combination of nature and nurture.
There is certainly a genetic link, in that children of myopic parents are significantly more likely to become myopic, but that does not explain every case of myopia, nor does it explain why it is increasing so rapidly.
There is much finger pointing at the amount of close work that we do now, and the amount of time spent indoors glued to screens, and this is believed to have some effect as time outdoors has been shown in some studies to slow the onset of myopia. The amount of time spent outdoors does not however seem to slow the progression of myopia once it has started.
The truth is that we still don’t have all the answers and research is continuing. What we do know is that it would be wrong to do nothing when we could potentially do something.
So, what’s the problem?
Isn’t Myopia solved by glasses, contact lenses or laser surgery?
The blurred vison is corrected by glasses, standard contact lenses or surgery but that doesn’t solve the underlying problem; the elongation of the eyeball that means the image is not focussed on the retina.
The higher the level of Myopia, the greater the risk of underlying medical problems that potentially accompany myopia over a person’s lifetime. These include structural abnormalities such as glaucoma, retinal degeneration, retinal tears and detachments, as well as the possibility of loss of central vision by myopic macular degeneration.
By aiming to slow down the progressive elongation of the eyeball that causes you to be myopic, and therefore reducing the overall level of Myopia as an adult, we hope to reduce the risk of developing problems later in life.
Myopia Control Options
There are 2 contact lens options currently available in the UK to try and slow down the progression of Myopia once it has been diagnosed.
OrthoKeratology or Overnight Vision Correction, usually known as OrthoK.
OrthoK lenses are large diameter Rigid Gas permeable Contact Lenses that are worn overnight to gently reshape the front surface of the eye. At Sarah Gibson Optometrist we use Eyedream lenses from No7. Click HERE for more information.
MiSight Daily Disposable soft contact lenses.
Specialist daily disposable soft contact lenses from Coopervision designed to slow the progression of Myopia. Click HERE for more information.