Myopia is the most common type of vision impairment in the world. At our Odessa, FL location, we see clients for this condition every day. Patients may be more familiar with its common name, nearsightedness. For people with this condition, the world can seem pretty blurry. When someone with myopia holds a book close to their face, the letters are clear. However, if it is further away, it becomes unreadable.
This condition is the result of the physiology of the eye. In most myopia cases, the eyeball is not perfectly round. It has an oblong shape and is stretched from front to back. An extra-thick lens or an overly-curved cornea can also be factors. Due to these physical issues, light that enters the eyeball does not land properly on the retina. Instead, the focal point is in front of the rear eyeball surface. The final result is a blurry image.
Nearsightedness is a chronic condition that will not improve on its own. For an optometrist, the goals in treating a patient with myopia are correcting the vision problem and slowing its progression.
The technology for vision correction has been around for many years. Glasses or contact lenses move the focal point of light to its proper position on the retina. However, as the shape of the eye changes, the vision correction prescription will also change.
Myopia can progress quickly as a child grows to physical maturity. Newer vision technology offers treatments that can slow the eye-lengthening process and reduce the effects of nearsightedness. Adults may be eligible for corrective procedures like refractive surgery once their vision stabilizes.
Many children receive a myopia diagnosis when they start going to school. If they are not directly in front of the board, they may need to squint to see words at a distance. This extra effort leads to eye fatigue and headaches. If the problem seems to resolve when the student sits at the front of the class, myopia may be the cause.
The number of children with myopia is growing. The reason for this change is unclear. However, less time outdoors and more time spent with a screen held close to the face may be factors. As a preventative measure, optometrists suggest minimizing screen time and increasing outdoor play for young children.
It is important to address childhood nearsightedness as soon as possible to prevent further vision problems in adulthood. Several treatments can slow the progression of myopia. When looking for myopia control near me, you want to seek an optometrist who can offer different options.
The drops that optometrists use to dilate your pupils may also help prevent myopia in children. A low dose of atropine applied daily for two to three years seems to slow the progress of eye lengthening.
Orthokeratology lenses are specially designed contacts that children wear when they are sleeping. These devices put pressure on the cornea to reshape it so that it focuses light on the retina. The effects of these lenses are temporary, and blurry vision will return if the child stops wearing them. However, regular use of Ortho-K lenses may slow the progression of nearsightedness in children and teens.
Eye-lengthening during the childhood and teen years can be the result of how patients focus their eyes. Peripheral defocus lenses blur a patient’s side vision while correcting distance vision issues. This combination will help maintain the shape of the eye and prevent myopia from becoming worse.