Myopia - Associated Eye Care

Myopia

What Is Myopia?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is when you can see things clearly up close (like reading a book or using your phone), but faraway things (like the chalkboard in school) appear blurry. It’s like when a camera focuses well on close objects but struggles with far objects.

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia happens when the shape of your eye causes light to focus in front of your retina, instead of directly on it. For example, if your eye is a bit too long, or if the curvature of your cornea (front of your eye) is a bit too steep, these can lead to myopia. Both genetic and environmental factors can contribute to the development and the progression of myopia. If many of your family members have myopia, there is a higher-than-average chance you will develop it as well.

What is Myopia Control?

Myopia control is a bit like taking care of plants to help them grow just right. It means doing things to slow down how much your eyes grow and keeping your vision from getting blurrier. Slowing progression of myopia also reduces the risk of certain eye diseases later in life, such as macular degeneration, retinal detachments, and glaucoma.

Non-medical Treatments for Myopia

There are things you can do to help keep your eyes healthy and reduce your myopia risk:

  • Spend time outdoors – Increased time outdoors with exposure to sunlight has been shown to reduce risk of myopia.
  • Take regular breaks from screens and near work – Follow the 20/20/20 rule, every 20 minutes look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep things at the right distance – Hold books and screens at a comfortable distance from your eyes.
  • Limit screen time when possible.

Medical Treatments for Myopia

A licensed eye doctor can prescribe the following options:

  • Glasses or Single Vision Contact Lenses – Glasses or contact lenses help your child’s eyes focus better, so they can see clearly without straining. 
  • Low-dose Atropine Eye Drops – These are drops you put in your child’s eyes before bedtime. A variety of studies have demonstrated that these drops, in varying strengths, can slow the progression of myopia. Your provider can discuss what strength may be appropriate for your child.
  • Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses – These special contacts bend light in a way to help relax the focusing system and create peripheral defocus – studies have shown that wearing these can slow progression of myopia in some children.
  • Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) – These are rigid contacts that are worn while sleeping to reshape the eye and can be effective for a select group of children. This method of treatment is not currently offered at Associated Eye Care. If your child is a good candidate for this treatment option, your provider may refer you to an outside location.

The Pediatric Eye Care providers at Associated Eye Care are experts in evaluating your child for myopia and making customized treatment recommendations.

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