The worldwide prevalence of myopia, also known as nearsightedness, has been increasing at an alarming rate. Not only are more people impacted by this vision disorder, but the degree of nearsightedness is also increasing. For this reason, eye care professionals have developed ways to slow down, or even halt, the progression of myopia; myopia control is a way to correct vision and provide hope for a clearer future.
Methods of Myopia Control
The goal of myopia control is to correct the current visual status, and also prevent future progression of nearsightedness. This is accomplished in a couple different ways. One of the newest methods of myopia control is the daily use of multifocal contact lenses. These soft lenses are specially designed to provide clear vision both close up, and far away. Additionally, studies have shown that the optical design of the lens bends light in a way that prevents myopia from progressing. Multifocal soft contact lenses are a popular option for myopia control because of their comfort and effectiveness.
Perhaps the most popular approach to myopia control is orthokeratology, or ortho-k. This method involves wearing gas permeable contact lenses overnight, and removing the lenses in the morning, providing the patient with clear vision during the day without glasses or contacts. Ortho-k is also effective in both correcting vision and slowing myopic progression.
Other methods of myopia control include atropine eye drops, which paralyze the eye’s focusing system for a short amount of time, or bifocal glasses. While these approaches are less commonly used now, they have still shown potential for effective slowing of myopia, and may become more prevalent treatments in the future.
Public Health Concern
Myopia can be more than a nuisance that requires glasses or contacts; it can have serious implication for ocular health. Those with highly myopic prescriptions are at a much higher risk for several sight-threatening eye conditions, such as retinal detachments or macular holes. Myopia control aims not only to help with current visual demands, but also prevent future complications due to high amounts of nearsightedness.