Myopia Control in Amarillo, TX
Refractive eye errors are very common and the leading reason why people need to wear corrective eyewear. Myopia, also known as near-sightedness, is the most common type of refractive eye error, with the number of patients diagnosed with this condition expected to continue to rise over the next decade. Myopia occurs when you are able to see objects close to you clearly but those that are further away appear blurred. Prescription lenses can then be used to temporarily improve your vision when you need to see at distances, although some patients opt for laser vision correction, which offers a permanent solution, instead.
Unfortunately, if myopia isn’t managed, your ability to see distant objects clearly can get progressively worse. If this happens, you will find you increasingly rely on prescription lenses to see clearly, and the strength of the lenses needed to correct your vision will also become far stronger.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do that can control your myopia and prevent it from worsening. Our experienced and dedicated eye care team is happy to advise you on all aspects of myopia, including myopia control.
What causes myopia?
Myopia occurs either when the eyes grow slightly longer than normal, or when the cornea, which is the transparent lens of the eye, is steeper than is ideal. Both of these issues cause the light that enters your eye to be focused in front of rather than on the retina. As a result, the message that the retina sends to the brain is garbled and your vision appears blurred.
There are some factors that are believed to make a person at greater risk of experiencing myopia during their lifetime. These include:
- A family history of myopia
- Spending too little time outdoors in natural light
- Spending too much time focusing on nearby objects such as a computer screen or hand-held device
Options for myopia control
With so many people being diagnosed with myopia than ever before, it is little wonder that the last decade has seen increasing time and financial investment in finding ways to control it and limit how quickly it progresses. Fortunately, experts have found a variety of ways to do just this. These include the following:
Cutting back on screen time
This may not be simple for patients whose work largely revolves around using a computer screen, but cutting back on screen time, or at least taking regular breaks from looking at screens, can have a very positive effect on myopia. Not only that, but it can also help to control unpleasant visual symptoms such as eye fatigue, headaches, and dry eye.
Enjoy natural light
Vitamin D has been shown to play an important role in developing healthy eyes. However, most people don’t get enough vitamin D day to day, which can mean that the condition and function of their eyes suffer. Our bodies create vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin when we are outdoors, so spending more time in natural light can help to control and even prevent myopia.
Medical treatments to control myopia
Whilst you can certainly try to control your myopia using the methods listed above, many patients are referred to medical treatments that have been proven to help with myopia control. These include the following:
Atropine eye drops. These relax the eye’s focusing mechanism to help reduce focus fatigue – a common symptom amongst patients with myopia.
Bifocal glasses, sometimes coupled with base-in prisms, can be effective. However, getting children to wear, use appropriately, and keep up with these bifocals can often prove difficult.
Anticholinergic eye drops such as Atropine have shown significant benefits as well, but potentially come along with some side effects like light sensitivity, and blurred vision at near. These are reduced with lower concentrations of the medications and have been shown to help decrease Myopic Progression.
Multifocal contact lenses or glasses. These special lenses have different prescription powers in different parts of the lens, enabling patients to see clearly at different distances. They have also been found to be an effective tool in controlling the progression of myopia.
Orthokeratology. Better known as ortho-k, this highly effective and popular treatment involves wearing bespoke permeable contact lenses overnight. These work by temporarily reshaping the cornea so that it is a more regular shape and the refractive error is corrected. By wearing them overnight, the correction persists during the day so that no prescription eyewear is needed. The treatment is completely reversible should the patient wish to stop at any time. However, the desire to be able to live without needing glasses or contact lenses during the day means that ortho-k is becoming increasingly popular, particularly amongst patients for whom other refractive solutions such as laser vision correction are not suitable.
The future holds many promising new myopia prevention methods that are currently being researched. Here at EyeCare Plus, we make it our duty to ensure that our patients always have access to the best and newest treatments available.
If you would like more information about myopia control, contact our experienced eye care team today. They will be happy to answer any questions that you have or schedule you an appointment to discuss your myopia diagnosis.