What is Myopia?
Affecting nearly 40% of Americans and growing, Myopia is the clinical term for nearsightedness, or blurry vision at a distance. Myopia is caused when your eye grows too long and, in children, tends to worsen with age. As the eye becomes longer, patients are often more dependent on glasses or contacts. In severe cases, the eye can get so long that the risk of retinal complications become a concern.
How can be it corrected?
Vision can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery depending on a patient’s age and the health of their eyes.
Parents often ask us what they can do to prevent their child’s myopia from worsening. Dr. Silbert and the Conestoga Eye team have been involved actively in studies with the National Institute of Health, researching and testing ways to treat Myopia. Based on our research and the vast research of others, the following treatments are promising:
Using an eye drop called Atropine has been shown in some clinical studies to slow down the progression of Myopia. Recent studies have shown that Atropine eye drops can be used in a very low concentration (0.01%) for treatment in both eyes daily. In the studies referenced, this concentration was used on a daily basis for years (2-5 depending on the study) and had minimal side effects in most patients. The commonly quoted time frame for results was a use period of at least 2 years.
The Atropine eye drop is not commercially available, but it can be compounded at a compounding pharmacy (for example Custom Prescriptions Lancaster, PA, 717-393-0518). For more information see the links below. If you wish to start these eye drops please contact our office.
Spending more than 2 hours a day outside has been shown to help slow down the progression of Myopia. No strenuous activity needed! Just more time out in the good old sunshine. While there is no strong evidence that reading, watching television up close, or playing an iPad an extended amount of time has any deleterious effect on your eyes, these activities tend to be done inside and therefore away from the sun. So take that iPad or book outside and spend sometime enjoying the outdoors.
Other Treatments and Alternative Therapies
Many other treatments for Myopia have been suggested, however, the scientific literature on these treatments has not shown success in slowing down the progression of the condition. For example, leaving a child without glasses and with blurred distance vision, or the wearing of bifocals, or eye exercises have not improved study outcomes. Some studies suggest that diet could be a factor in Myopia progression, specifically too much refined sugar, but more research needs to be done to provide conclusive evidence.
Links for more information
Learn more about Myopia and its treatments at the links below. This information has been curated by the experienced Conestoga Eye team just for you.