What is myopia?
Myopia (short-sightedness) is difficulty with seeing far-away objects.
What causes myopia?
Myopia is caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors:
Genetic factors – A family history of myopia in either parent will increase the risk of the child developing myopia.
Environmental factors – Extended periods of reading and use of electronic devices up close, as well as low vitamin D levels and lack of time spent outdoors.
For details on the nature-nurture debate on the causes of myopia, read
Morgan IG, Rose KA. Myopia: is the nature‐nurture debate finally over?. Clinical and Experimental Optometry. 2019 Jan;102(1):3-17.
What types of myopia are there?
- Pathological myopia – begins before the age of 6, tends to be most severe.
- Child-onset myopia – occurs between 6-18 years of age, associated with more time spent reading and less time spent outdoors
- Adult-onset myopia – associated with desk-based jobs and occupations requiring prolonged work up close
What are the consequences of worsening myopia?
- 4-15 times higher risk of retinal detachments
- 2-5 times higher risk of cataracts
- 2-3 times higher risk of glaucoma
- Increased risk of myopic macular degeneration with worsening myopia
What are my options of slowing down the progression of myopia?
1. Specialty Glasses
Ordinary single vision spectacle lenses do not provide any protection from the effects of prolonged near work on myopia progression. Fortunately, there are several different types of spectacle designs that can work to reduce myopia progression by reducing eyestrain when working up close:
- Multifocal options
- Bifocal options such as Executive Bifocals.
- Peripheral defocus options such as Nikon Relax-See lenses.
2. Contact Lenses
Research has shown that specialty contact lenses that create an area of soft focus in our peripheral vision can act to slow down the progression of myopia. Traditionally, the primary form of myopia control involved the use of overnight ortho-K lenses, however recent advances in technology has allowed the use of soft daily disposable contact lenses that can achieve reduction in myopia progression.
- Soft daily myopia control lenses such as MiSight 1-Day
- Multifocal lenses such as Biofinity Multifocals
- Ortho-K options such as Paragon CRT
3. Prescription eye drops
Prescription anti-cholinergic eye drops act to reduce the progression of myopia by reducing over-focusing of the eyes when working up close. Recently the most appropriate dosage for such eye drops is the topic of intensive research, with a need to balance the myopia control effects and unwanted side effects of these medicated eye drops such as light sensitivity and blurry vision.
How effective is myopia control?
The effect of each option in slowing down myopia can vary dramatically depending on the individual. According to the Brien Holden Vision Institute Myopia Calculator:
- Specialty glasses can reduce myopia progression by up to 51%.
- Specialty contact lenses can reduce myopia progression by up to 72%.
- Compounded myopia control eye drops can reduce myopia progression by up to 100%.
Can we keep the prescription weak to control myopia?
Under-correction of myopia has been demonstrated to worsen the speed of myopia progression. In a 2-year study, children prescribed with weaker glasses showed a 30% greater increase in myopia.
See us to start myopia control
At Eyecare Plus Corrimal, our optometrists Yang Wang and Roland Mak are both therapeutically qualified and experienced in the assessment of children’s vision and prescribing of all forms of myopia control options.