What is myopia?
Myopia, also known as “nearsightedness,” causes the eye to grow longer and have difficulty seeing distant objects clearly. The prevalence rate of myopia is increasing not only worldwide, but also in the United States. In the last 20 years, myopia rates have increased 50% in the U.S.; in areas of Asia, rates are approaching 100%. While glasses correction can improve vision, it does not prevent worsening of vision over time. As myopia increases, so does the risk of developing serious, potentially blinding eye conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachments, and myopic degeneration.
How can I keep my or my child’s nearsightedness from progressing?
There are thousands of clinical studies supporting alternative treatment options to help slow the progression of myopia. At Puget Sound Eye Care, our doctors recommend the safest and most effective options, which may include:
- Prescription low-dose atropine eye drops
- Atropine eye drops at full strength are traditionally used to dilate the pupils and relax the eyes’ focusing system. Studies have shown that atropine eye drops can slow myopia progression even at low concentrations, which minimizes side effects such as light sensitivity and near blur. Drops are instilled every night before bedtime.
- Multifocal/bifocal contact lenses
- Specially designed soft contact lenses worn during the day create a unique image for the eye to slow myopic growth.
- Orthokeratology “Ortho-K” contact lenses
- Ortho-K refers to rigid contact lenses that are worn while sleeping to gently reshape the eye’s surface, such as a retainer. This method provides freedom from glasses/contacts and clear vision during the day, as well as slowing myopia.
There are alternatives, among others, such as vision therapy and bifocal glasses. No myopia control methods are FDA approved. In addition, results are not guaranteed, and are currently considered off-label. This is also typically why myopia control treatments are not covered by insurance.
Who is eligible for myopia control treatment options?
- 3 years and older
- Myopia in both eyes or at least one eye predominantly myopic
- No history of strabismus or amblyopia
- No history of complications from dilation drops or contact lens use
- No history of ocular disease
How do I schedule a myopia control treatment?
If you are interested in discussing your myopia control options, please schedule a complimentary Myopia Consultation. During the consultation, your doctor will discuss in detail your myopia control options and customize a treatment plan for you.