Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is when distance vision begins to blur because the eyeball is growing too long. It is mainly caused by genetics and lifestyle.
More than 40% of Americans aged 12 – 54 are nearsighted, and this rate is increasing rapidly. At the current rate of increase, half of the world’s population will be nearsighted by the year 2050. A child with one nearsighted parent is 3 times more likely to be nearsighted, and if both parents are myopic that number increases to 6 times. Children who are nearsighted before the age of 16 almost always become more nearsighted over time.
Some Troubling Facts
While the blurred vision caused by myopia can typically be corrected adequately with glasses or contacts, higher amounts of myopia greatly increase a person’s risk of certain eye conditions such as:
Cataracts – This clouding of the lens inside the eye affects myopic people at a younger age.
Glaucoma – Caused by optic nerve damage. This can cause permanent vision loss and is 2-3x more likely in people who are highly myopic.
Retinal Detachment – An emergency situation where the retina (thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye) pulls away from its supportive blood vessels, this is up to 44x more likely in people who are highly myopic.
Myopic Macular Degeneration – This deterioration of the central vision is up to 126x more likely in people who are highly myopic
These increased risks are caused by the eye being longer than it should be, so even if refractive surgery such as LASIK is performed as an adult, this increased risk persists.
Atropine eye drops – Studies show that a low dose of atropine, given as eye drops in the evening, has the potential to significantly slow the progression of myopia in children, helping to prevent severe nearsightedness.
Specialized contact lenses – There are now some contacts that have been shown to not only correct vision, but also slow myopia progression by slowing eye growth.
Treatment option - atropine
What is atropine?
Atropine eye drops (also known as topical atropine) have been used for centuries to dilate the pupil and temporarily relax the eyes’ focusing mechanism. For myopia control, atropine is given at a very low dosage or concentration, in the form of a special eye drop made by a compounding pharmacy. Because it is at such a low dose, it typically does not sting or cause any adverse effects on the quality of life in regard to vision or light sensitivity.
Research has suggested that increasing nearsightedness in children may be linked to focusing fatigue, so atropine (which relaxes the eyes’ focusing mechanism) can help to slow down the progression of myopia. Recent research has also shown that atropine interacts directly with certain ocular tissues in a way that reduces myopia-inducing eye growth. The recent ophthalmology LAMP (Low-Concentration Atropine for Myopia Progression) study determined that 0.05% was the ideal atropine concentration to use for long-term myopia control.
Treatment option - Specialized Contact Lenses
What is MiSight?
MiSight 1 Day are the first and only soft contact lens FDA-approved to slow the progression of myopia in children, aged 8-12 at the initiation of treatment.
Coopervision’s MiSight 1 day is the first and only contact lens FDA-approved to slow the progression of myopia in children. Children can insert the soft, daily wear, single use contact lenses in their eyes in the morning, wear them for at least 10 hours during the day, then dispose of them in the evening.
The FDA-approved lens is available as part of a comprehensive myopia management program offered by The Doctors at Hofacre Optometric.
How It Works:
MiSight 1-day is an award-winning dual focus soft contact lens to slow the elongation of the eyeball. The technology in MiSight 1-day utilizes an optic zone concentric ring design with alternating vision correction and treatment zones. Two zones are vision correction zones with the label power of the contact lens, and the alternating two zones are treatment zones that defocus to slow the progression of myopia.
This design allows the child to see clearly while benefiting from the treatment effect.