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Posted on 10-22-2018

Myopia is one of the most common forms of reduced vision worldwide. Myopia, or near sightedness, current affects over 30% of the worlds population and will increase to 50% by 2050 (that’s 5 BILLION people) according to Holden et al (2016). 

That is a LOT of people. The main reason why this is important is because myopia and myopic-related visual complications such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachments can cause severe and sometimes permanent vision loss (www.myopiainstitute.org, www.allaboutvision.com). Not to mention potentially very thick corrective lenses that need to be worn constantly throughout the day!

Although we know a great deal about myopia, we do not have a cure for nearsightedness. Lots more research is currently being done all over the world and we know more about it than we ever have before. 

Most who have myopia are usually able to be corrected with glasses and/or contact lenses. Myopia that progresses too fast and too far can be a problem. 

Currently, there are several ways that we have to help with this progression. One way is with special rigid (hard) contact lenses that are worn overnight to temporarily correct nearsightedness during the day. This process is technique is called ortho keratology (ortho-k) or corneal refractive therapy (CRT).

Another option is a medication eye drop called atropine. This medication is specifically used to alter the focusing system of the eye to slow the progression of myopia. 

Yet other options include multifocal contact lenses or multifocal glasses. Multifocal contact lenses have shown more promise in recent research studies than multifocal glasses. The advantages with these options are that both can be easily implemented after a comprehensive eye examination and/or contact lens evaluation. 

All of these options should be discussed with your eye care professional if you have children or adolescents who have an increasing trend in their nearsightedness from year to year. 

Eugene Kim, O.D

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