What is myopia? Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a fairly common eye focusing disorder, not an eye disease. This means people with myopia do not necessarily have unhealthy eyes, but rather, their distance vision is blurry because their eyes don’t focus light directly on the retina.
When the eye is longer than normal or has a cornea that is too steep, light rays focus in front of the retina instead of on it, and myopia results. The retina is the back surface of the eye and is where light rays are converted into electrical signals your brain can understand.
In the case of myopia, light is not focused directly on the retina, so your brain perceives blurry vision.
Does myopia increase the risk of eye diseases? Unfortunately, high degrees of myopia are associated with several eye diseases. 4x increased risk of glaucoma 2-5x increased risk of cataract 4-16x increased risk of retinal detachment
These are some of the reasons why it is important to have an annual comprehensive eye exam, especially for children.
At Optometrics of Chatsworth, we can test visual acuity of young children even before they can read by using pictures. Infant eye exams between 6-12 months are recommended, and comprehensive eye exams for ALL CHILDREN should begin at ages 3 to 4. Any child who hasn’t had a full eye exam from an optometrist is due to one! Give us a call at (818) 882-9300 to ask any questions! If needed, our experienced optometrists will consult with parents and children about specific myopic risks and discuss myopia management options.
Who gets myopia?Myopia is commonly inherited, which means children of myopic parents may have myopia as well.
For children, myopia is often discovered between ages 8 to 12 years old, and their degree of myopia may worsen during teenage years when the body grows rapidly. Between ages 20 to 40, there is usually little change, but myopia can also occur in adults.
Other factors including use of digital devices and frequent, prolonged near work can also contribute to developing myopia. Is myopia management effective?There have been several advancements in myopia management technology, including orthokeratology (ortho-k)
According to the American Ophthalmology Association, “MiSight lenses are the first FDA-approved contact lenses for controlling myopia progression in children. These soft, disposable lenses can be prescribed to children as young as 8 years old. The lenses are worn during the day and discarded at night.”
To get the full benefit, children must wear their MiSight lenses six days a week, for 10 hours a day, until they are teenagers. The lenses are hard to handle, though, and young children with small eyes can sometimes find it difficult to insert and remove them.Like all contact lenses, MiSight lenses pose a risk for infection. Good contact lens hygiene can lower this risk.”
Orthokeratology (aka GVSS aka Gentle Gentle Vision Shaping System, aka Overnight Vision Correction) Similarly to how braces re-position teeth, ortho-k uses a rigid, gas-permeable contact lens to reshape the cornea (the front part of the eye). These lenses are worn while you sleep, and for some people, it reshapes the cornea enough to correct their vision for the next day, eliminating the need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
According to the AAO, “Multiple studies suggest that Ortho-K lenses may also slow the eye’s growth. That’s why they are frequently prescribed off-label for pausing myopia’s progression. Larger clinical trials are underway to gain FDA approval for this use.”
In conclusion, about 42% of Americans now have myopia, so the growing myopic epidemic is not leaving anytime soon. If you live in Northridge, Chatsworth, or surrounding Valley areas, call (818) 882-9300 to schedule an appointment with our eye doctors, who are happy help with any eye care needs (including myopia management!)