Myopia Awareness Week

Today marks the first day of Myopia Awareness Week. It is time to focus our attention on a condition that affects a significant portion of the population: nearsightedness, also known as myopia. Myopia is more than just needing glasses to see distant objects clearly; it is a prevalent refractive error that demands our attention, particularly in the context of children’s eye health. 

Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a refractive error in which close objects appear clear but distant objects appear blurred. Almost 40% of people in the United States are nearsighted.

What is Myopia?

Nearsightedness is a refractive error in which close objects appear clear but distant objects appear blurred. According to the NIH, almost 40% of people in the United States are nearsighted. The development is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Children with one or both nearsighted parents are at a higher risk of developing nearsightedness. Additionally, lifestyle habits such as spending less time outdoors and engaging in prolonged near work activities, like reading or using digital screens, contribute to its onset. 

Can Myopia Be Reversed?

While myopia progression can be managed and corrected, it cannot be reversed. Treatment strategies may vary for each child, but early intervention and consistent management can help maintain optimal vision into adulthood. 

Controlling Myopia Progression

Slowing progression is vital for long-term eye health. While glasses or regular contacts help with blurry vision, they do not stop myopia from worsening. As nearsightedness worsens, the risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration, retinal detachments, glaucoma, and cataracts increases, especially with age. Mitigating myopia reduces the likelihood of severe vision-threatening conditions. 

Fortunately, there are measures we can take to slow the progression of myopia, especially in children: 

  • Outdoor Time: Encourage children to spend at least an hour outdoors each day. Natural sunlight has been shown to reduce the risk of development.
  • 20/20/20 Rule: Implement the 20/20/20 rule, reminding children to take regular breaks from near work to focus on distant objects every 20 minutes.
  • Maintain a Good Working Distance: Ensure children hold books or digital devices at an appropriate distance from their eyes to reduce strain. 

Can LASIK cure Myopia?

LASIK can help correct nearsightedness (myopia). In nearsightedness, the curve of the cornea is too steep or the eye itself is somewhat elongated. This results in images being focused in front of the retina. LASIK corrects this condition by flattening the curvature of the cornea so that images are focused exactly on the retina. 

Managing Myopia

At Thomas Eye Group, we have contact lens and eye drop options available to manage nearsightedness (myopia) 

  • Low Dose Atropine Eye Drops: These drops, available through online compounding pharmacies, can slow eye growth and myopia progression.
  • Dual-Focus Contact Lenses: Specifically designed contact lenses, like MiSight by CooperVision, can help manage myopia by bending light and creating peripheral defocus.
  • Corneal Reshaping (Ortho-K) Contact Lenses: These rigid lenses are worn overnight to reshape the cornea, providing unclouded vision during the day without glasses or contacts. 

If you suspect you or your child might have nearsightedness, please schedule an appointment today!

By raising awareness and taking the right steps, we can safeguard the vision and eye health of future generations. If you have been experiencing symptoms or are looking for a treatment, consult with your optometrist to learn more about our options and what might be right for you. 

Click here to schedule a routine exam with one of our optometrists. 

Thomas Eye Group