Although there is no fool-proof plan to cure myopia (short-sightedness), there are options that may slow down its progressive state. Myopia in children and adults has reached a point of serious concern over the past decade.
This period of “myopia boom” is likely to worsen over time, so much so that by 2050 nearly half the world is anticipated to be nearsighted. One major contributing factor main is the high amount of time we spend in front of digital screens. Less time in the open is also a factor.
Myopia signs and symptoms
Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness or shortsightedness, is a condition of the eye when far away objects are blurred but objects that are at a short distance are clear. The light focuses in front of the retina, instead of on the retina: this is a refractive error of the eye.
If you are shortsighted, you will have a difficulty seeing faraway objects clearly. But reading a book, or using a laptop may not be troublesome at all. Other signs may include headaches, eye strain, and squinting. The fatigued feeling after playing sports may be an undetected case of myopia.
Night myopia is a common occurrence, where we feel difficulty driving a vehicle. Common cases of myopia are mostly detected in the early teen years and childhood. A child may continuously squint and also try to sit closer to the television.
If this rings a bell for either you or your child, schedule a complete eye examination appointment and find out if uncorrected myopia is the cause.
At what age should you be tested for myopia?
Children are typically screened at these intervals:
- When the child is born.
- When the child reaches a school going age.
It is also recommended to have regular eye tests throughout the school-going years.
Adults that are at a high genetic risk of developing certain eye diseases are advised to get an eye checkup every 2 years up until age 40, and every 1-2 years from age 40-54, and every year after age 55.
What is myopia control?
Myopia control is a treatment that will slow down or halt the progressive changes in the eye that lead to worsening myopia.
Four types of treatment have shown great potential:
- Atropine eye drops
Atropine eye drops have been used for many years, with potent short-term results. There were some drawbacks, though. The eye drops temporarily decreased the pupil size, stopped accommodation in the eye, and relaxed the focusing mechanism. Current Atropine therapy is much more promising. It involves using the eye drops at very low concentrations and appears to have little or no effect on the pupil or accommodation process.
Custom-made contact lenses are worn during sleep hours, to temporarily correct vision problems to avoid contact lenses/glasses during the daytime. Short-sighted children who undergo orthokeratology for several years, in comparison to those who wear eyeglasses, are likely to end up with less myopia. The peak years for myopia progression are in childhood and early adolescence.
Treatment with ortho-k lenses is also called corneal refractive therapy (CRT).
- Multifocal contact lenses
These are special lenses that have varying powers in different zones to correct short-sightedness, long-sightedness and presbyopia.
- Multifocal eyeglasses
The effectiveness of multifocal eyeglasses is far less than multifocal contacts. Multifocal eyeglasses are proven to be far less significant in reducing progressive myopia.
Myopia should be detected early
The best way to utilise myopia control methods is to detect it early on. Even is a child does not complain about his problems, a scheduled appointment should be made at regular periods. Most of the time, children may not feel a problem, due to the nature of their daily activities. Most activities involve reading/schoolwork or using technology.
In the case that one or both parents have had eye problems (especially myopia), testing the child becomes even more important.
Will myopia control be effective in adults?
It is commonly known that myopia develops and progresses from a young age, and studies that are carried out to test myopia control involve children. However, young adults who attend university are more likely to become short-sighted than those who do not attend. Myopia control measures such as ortho-k can be very effective at slowing or halting the progression of their myopia.
Is there a natural way to cure myopia?
There are many advertisements out there that claim to know the natural way to cure eyesight problems. Research has shown, however, that eye exercises do not cure myopia.
Ortho-k and lenses, in general, are the best treatment options for myopia patients.
With ever expanding treatment options today, there is a lot to look out for in the future.