Myopia management is the name given to a specific type of treatment that is designed to target the most common refractive eye condition in the world – myopia.
Myopia, aka nearsightedness, is characterized by the ability to see nearby objects like a book easily and without prescription eyewear, but objects further away appear increasingly blurred. Myopia is a refractive eye condition. This means that it’s caused by problems with the way that light is refracted by the cornea. Instead of hitting the retina directly, it falls in front of it, causing the images sent from the retina to the brain to appear blurred.
The number of people developing myopia is on the rise, with studies estimating that around 50% of the world’s population will suffer from the condition by 2050. Myopia management – which involves the use of prescription glasses and a specially-designed contact lens technique called orthokeratology – can help to keep myopia levels under control.
You could be forgiven for thinking that myopia is no big deal. After all, it’s not unusual to wear glasses or contact lenses. However, many people don’t realize that myopia is a progressive condition which means that it will often get worse without treatment. Additionally, people who develop high myopia are thought to be at increased risk for a number of eye health problems. These include:
Glaucoma: A condition characterized by increased pressure inside the eyes. It develops slowly, often without symptoms, but any vision lost as a result of glaucoma is permanent.
Retinal Detachment: This is where the retina pulls away from the back surface of the eye. Without urgent treatment, there is a very real threat to your vision.
Macular degeneration: This condition occurs when the cells in the center of the retina that are responsible for central vision and fine detail start to degenerate early. Macular degeneration doesn’t cause total vision loss, but it can make many day-to-day activities – like watching tv, driving, and even recognizing people - harder than they should be.
Myopia management can help to keep myopia at mild to moderate levels, reducing the risk of many of these problems occurring. In fact, it can even reduce your need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
Many people are surprised to learn that myopia management should ideally start as early as possible – preferably in childhood. Children’s eyes grow at a fairly regular rate until they reach around 10/12 years old. However, some children will find that their eyes grow too quickly, or that they continue to grow past this age. If this is the case, excessive growth can cause the retina at the back of the eye to stretch, increasing the likelihood of myopia.
Children can usually start myopia management as young as 7 or 8 years of old. However, this really depends on your individual child, their eyes, and their maturity level. For this reason, we recommend that you speak to your eye doctor about myopia management and if your child is a suitable candidate for treatment at this time.
For more information about myopia management, or to schedule an appointment to discuss it, please contact iCare Vision Center LLC in Seattle, Washington at (206) 502-2800 today.