Nearsightedness, know as Myopia, is one of the most common vision problems, affecting 42% of Americans. In the United States, as well as worldwide, myopia has increased and is expected to continue increasing
In the US, the rate of myopia rose from 25 percent in the 1970's to 41.6 percent. As this number increases, researchers are developing methods to slow down the progression of myopia.
Myopia Signs and Symptoms
Myopia usually beings during childhood. Nearsighted people have difficulty seeing distant objects, for example reading street signs, but they can see up close just fine. Nearsighted people report headaches or eyestrain more often, and they may squint their eyes to see better.
If the symptoms persist even while wearing glasses or contact lenses, it may mean the prescription needs to be adjusted. It is common for myopia to increase every year, or sooner, and require stronger glasses or contact lens prescriptions.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia occurs when the eyeball is slightly longer than usual, from front to back. This causes light rays to be out of focus. As the eye grows longer, the risk for eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachments increases.
Nearsightedness may run in families however it is clear that genetics alone cannot account for the overall increase in myopia worldwide.
Traditionally, treatments for nearsightedness provide clear distance vision. This is accomplished by glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. Depending on the degree of myopia, you may need eyeglasses or lenses all the time.
Refractive surgery is a more “permanent” option for correcting myopia. This includes laser procedures such as LASIK and PRK, or non-laser options such as corneal inserts and implantable lenses.
Modern treatments for nearsightedness are more preventative; they attempt to reduce the yearly progression of myopia. The two most common treatments are: Orthokeratology and Multifocal contact lenses.
Orthokeratology is a non-surgical procedure where special rigid gas permeable (GP) contact lenses are used to reshape the cornea during sleep. After the lenses are removed the cornea retains the new shape. The patient can see clearly during the day without wearing glasses or contact lenses.
Multifocal Contact Lenses are soft contact lenses that are specially designed to alter the focus point of the eye.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation for help with your or your child's myopia.