Unsure about the best myopia treatment for you (or your child)? Read on.
Conventional myopia treatment
Chances are pretty high that if you have myopia, you'll be prescribed a pair of distance glasses. And that's it.
The problem is that these glasses, while making your distance vision crystal clear again, will not to anything to slow your myopia progression (or, how quickly you become more short-sighted).
Depending on genetic and environmental factors, you are likely to become more short-sighted throughout your teens (and even your early twenties) before your vision stabilises. By this stage, you are likely to be quite a bit more short-sighted than when you got your first pair of glasses.
Myopia control - a modern treatment for myopia
Over the past decade or so, more optometrists are offering myopia control therapies, rather than just distance glasses. There are a number of successful strategies to choose from, including atropine therapy, orthokeratology, multifocal contact lenses and multifocal / bifocal glasses. These different strategies offer differing degrees of myopia control, depending on which clinical studies you look at. Myopia research centres provide a Myopia Calculator which allows you to work out how much less myopia you will end up with using these strategies.
The most effective way of slowing or halting your myopia progression is often a combination of these therapies. For example, you may be prescribed a pair of multifocal glasses to correct your short-sightedness, while at the same time starting on low-dose atropine eye drops (used once a day before sleep). Alternatively, a combination of ortho k and atropine or multifocals and atropine may be more appropriate.
Multifocals for children?
Yes! Multifocal glasses (and contact lenses) have traditionally been the go to solution for presbyopia - the reading problems that occur in middle age. But children can also be given multifocal glasses or contact lenses to help control their myopia. This is because the multifocal design allows them to read through a blank part of the lens, rather than looking through their distance correction to read (which they often do if they wear distance only glasses).
What does the future hold for myopia treatment?
There's no one-size-fits all strategy for myopia treatment or control. In the near future, everything will be tailored to your unique needs. Even multifocal contact lenses will evolve to be customised to the individual, rather than off-the-shelf. For now, however, the best approach is to make sure you're talking to an optometrist who offers a range of strategies for the treatment of myopia and not just distance glasses.