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Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition where near objects are clear and distance objects are blurry. This is caused by the eye being too long for the visual system. Having both parents who have myopia increases the chance that the child will have myopia as well. The eye can become longer very rapidly in the childhood years which can increase risks of retinal problems in the future. Research shows there are methods to slow down/prevent the progression of myopia. If left uncontrolled, myopia results in a higher incidence of complications such as retinal tears and detachments, glaucoma, cataracts, and a reduced quality of life. (Flitcroft 2012)
Orthokeratology is the use of specially designed gas permeable lenses to reshape the cornea. This is a nonsurgical procedure to improve vision during the day and prevent progression of myopia. A study published in 2014 in the journal Ophthalmology found no eye growth over one year in eyes wearing the overnight orthokeratology lenses. In the study the participants used traditional daytime-wear GP lenses in one eye which did exhibit growth during the study period and orthokeratology lens in the other.
A five-year study initiated in 2009 evaluated the effect of ortho-k on myopia progression in 138 patients. At one-year follow-up, subjects wearing ortho-k lenses exhibited a mean progression of 0.00D, compared to an average myopia progression of 0.50D in the control group (Walline, Jones, and Sinnott 2009)
Multifocal contact lenses also provide similar effect of providing myopic defocus to slow down progression. Certain multifocal lenses provide concentric rings, that have a plus power that have been proven to slow progression. Patients must be compliant and have good hygiene to prevent infection with use of soft lenses. (Smith and Walline 2015)
Glasses with an addition or a different prescription at the bottom of the lens also have shown to slow down progression. In this setup patient use the bottom portion of the lens to read and top portion for distance. Though clinically the amount of reduction is not as significant as other designs, this setup is good for patient who are not compliant with contact lens use / hygiene.
In some studies atropine has shown to be one of the most effective way of controlling myopia. Low dose (0.01% or 0.02%) are popular formulations that have less rebound effect than 1%. Also it does not come with as drastic of side effects as the higher concentration. There is less compliance issues given it is an eye drop, but it is also the most invasive method given the side effects. Atropine for this use is considered an off label treatment.(Smith and Walline 2015)
Ask your doctor for further information at your next visit.
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