Myopia Management and Treatment/Control
What is Myopia Management and Treatment/Control?
- Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a condition where distant objects appear blurry while near objects can be seen clearly. The prevalence of myopia is increasing worldwide, and high levels of myopia can increase the risk of serious eye conditions like retinal detachments, glaucoma, and cataracts. Myopia control aims to slow or halt the progression of myopia in children and young adults.
What Does Myopia Management Involve?
- Comprehensive Eye Examination: Regular check-ups to monitor the progression of myopia.
- Axial Length Measurement: The axial length (distance from the front to the back of the eye) is a critical measurment in tracking myopia progression. A longer axial length often correlates with higher myopia.
- Prescription Eyewear: Specialized glasses or contact lenses can be prescribed to help control the progression of myopia.
- Pharmacological Interventions: Eye drops, like low-dose atropine, have been shown to slow myopia progression in some individuals.
- Behavioral Changes: Recommendations for outdoor activities and reduced screen time, as increased outdoor time has been associated with reduced myopia progression.
How Does an Optometrist Help by Taking Axial Length?
- Monitoring Progression: Regularly measuring axial length provides a quantitative method to track the progression of myopia. A rapidly increasing axial length can indicate fast myopia progression, which may require intervention.
- Tailoring Treatment: Axial length can guide the optometrist in deciding the most appropriate treatment strategy for the patient.
- Evaluating Treatment Efficacy: By monitoring changes in axial length, the optometrist can assess the effectiveness of the prescribed myopia control methods and make necessary adjustments.
Why Should an Optometrist Be Involved?
- Expertise: Optometrists are trained to diagnose, manage, and treat various visual conditions, including myopia.
- Early Intervention: Regular visits to an optometrist allow for early detection of myopia and timely intervention, which can be crucial in managing its progression.
- Personalized Care: Optometrists can tailor myopia management strategies based on individual patient needs, taking into account factors like age, lifestyle, and the degree of myopia.
- Education: They can educate patients and their families about the importance of myopia control, potential risks associated with high myopia, and behavioral strategies to manage it.
- Options of Specialty Glasses and Contact Lenses:
- Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) Lenses: These are specially designed rigid contact lenses worn overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea, providing clear vision during the day. They have been shown to slow myopia progression in some individuals.
- Multifocal Contact Lenses: Designed with multiple prescriptions in one lens, multifocal contacts may slow the progression of myopia. In children, it has been found that the outer near vision area on these lenses focus peripheral light rays in front of the retina, which has been found to slow the progression of myopia.
- Multifocal Eyeglasses: Like the contact lenses, these glasses have multiple prescriptions and can reduce myopia progression.
- Myopia Control Soft Contact Lenses: Special designs, like the concentric ring design, aim to reduce peripheral hyperopic defocus, a factor believed to contribute to myopia progression.
In summary, myopia management is an evolving field, with ongoing research aimed at better understanding and controlling its progression. Optometrists play a pivotal role in monitoring, managing, and educating patients about myopia, ensuring optimal visual health outcomes.