Nearsightedness, technically known as myopia, is a condition which causes difficulty focusing on objects at a distance, while near vision remains normal. Myopia is one of the most common vision problems worldwide and it is on the rise.
Myopia Signs and Symptoms
People with myopia are usually able to see well up close but have difficulty seeing objects at a distance. Due to the fact that they may be straining or squinting to see into the distance, they may develop headaches, eye fatigue or eye strain.
Myopia is a refractive error caused by an irregular shaped cornea that affects the way light is focused on the retina. For clear vision, light should come to a focus point directly onto the retina. In myopia, the cornea is longer than usual, resulting in a focus point that falls in front of the retina, causing distant objects to appear blurry, while close objects can be seen normally.
Myopia typically has a genetic component as it often appears in multiple members of a family and it usually begins to show signs during childhood, often getting progressively worse until stabilizing around age 20. There may also be environmental factors that contribute to myopia such as work that requires focusing on close objects for an extended period of time and spending too much time indoors.
Diagnosis of Myopia
Myopia is diagnosed by an eye examination with a qualified optometrist. During the exam, the optometrist will determine the visual acuity of the eye to prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses. A prescription for myopia will be a negative number such as -1.75.
Treatment for Myopia At Our Eye Care Center Near Boerne & Helotes
Myopia is typically treated with corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses and in certain cases, refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK is an option. Surgery is the riskiest treatment as it requires permanently changing the shape of the cornea. Other treatments involve implanting a lens that reshapes the cornea called a phakic intra-ocular lens or vision therapy.
While some people require vision correction throughout the day, others may only need it only during certain tasks such as driving, watching television or viewing a whiteboard in school. The type of treatment depends on the overall health of your eye and your eye and vision needs.
Orthokeratology, commonly called ortho-k, is a method used to correct myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism by wearing rigid gas permeable contact lenses overnight so that no corrective lenses are needed during daytime hours.
Gas permeable (GP) lenses specialized for ortho-k are inserted at bedtime and worn as you sleep. Throughout the night, the lenses reshape your cornea gently so that your vision becomes clear on the following morning. The correction is temporary, and ideally, no eyeglasses or contact lenses will be needed on the next day or two. In order to maintain sharp visual acuity on a daily basis, you need to wear the ortho-k reshaping lenses every night.
At present, three brands of orthokeratology contact lenses are approved for use by the FDA. Euclid Emerald, usually prescribed for myopia control, Paragon Vision Sciences, who produces “Corneal Refractive Therapy” (CRT), and Bausch and Lomb, who manufactures “Vision Shaping Treatment” (VST).
Multifocal Contact Lenses
Much like multifocal glasses, multifocal contacts are designed with different levels of magnification in different areas of the lens. These lenses are effective as a means of myopia control because they allow a child to see clearly at all distances rather than magnifying distant objects while simultaneously making close objects more difficult to see. This goes a long way towards eliminating strain which contributes to the progression of myopia.
Atropine ophthalmic solution is an eye drop that relaxes the muscles in the eye and widens the pupil. 1% atropine is commonly used in routine eye exams, during eye surgery, to treat patients with inflammatory conditions, and in babies and young children for the treatment of lazy eye. However, studies have investigated the off-label use of atropine eye-drops in lower concentrations (0.01%) for myopia control. Atropine 0.01% drops are now being prescribed for myopia control by ophthalmologists.