Myopia Control
and Management

What is Myopia?

What is Myopia

Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness or short sightedness, is a vision condition caused by a refractive error. If you or your child is myopic, the ability to see objects or images from a distance is affected. Common myopia symptoms include:

Here at E Eye Place, we perform various tests to check your eye health and vision:

  • Blurry vision, specifically when looking at details in the distance.
  • Seeing clearly often requires squinting or partially closing the eyelids.
  • Headaches due to eye strain.

Some people also experience difficulty in seeing at night and whilst driving a vehicle.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015 survey, one in four Australians is myopic. This number is expected to climb 55% more come 2050. In younger Aussies, nearsightedness is the second most reported long-term condition, following allergic rhinitis or hay fever (source).

Myopic vision can start and progress in early adulthood. However, the most significant risk involves young children, especially during the age bracket between 6 to 12 years old, when high levels of shortsightedness are most likely to develop. Unfortunately, there is still no treatment that can effectively cure nearsightedness. But the good news is that it can be controlled or managed.

What is Myopia

Myopia Control for Progressing Symptoms

Nearsightedness can continually progress upon its onset in children. That means your child’s nearsightedness can get worse over time. Myopia management can help slow it down. The integration of managing nearsightedness and vision correction to address blurry distance vision can be done through;

  • Spectacle lenses
  • Contact lenses and,
  • Atropine eye drops.

Atropine eye drops vary in concentration, ranging from 0.01% to 1%. Some people require a higher concentration, but they should be aware of the increased side effects like enlarged or dilated pupils that cause greater light sensitivity and difficulty in reading up close. On the other hand, lower dosages have minimal side effects but may also have a lesser effect on myopic progression. Our optometrists are therapeutically qualified and trained to determine the ideal concentration to be dispensed for each child managing symptoms.

Myopia Management for Progressing Myopia
Myopia Management for Progressing Myopia

Myopia control contact lenses come in different forms. Some children are prescribed contact lenses, such as MiSight daily disposable soft contact lenses or OrthoKeratology, in combination with low-dose atropine eye drops. Ortho-K is a special type of rigid contact lenses, which can reshape the cornea. Reshaping the eye’s surface involves flattening the cornea to restore vision clarity and steepening of the mid-peripheral area. The latter helps control the worsening of nearsightedness by modifying how the image falls on the retina. Ortho-Klenses are worn overnight, working to correct the vision while the wearer sleeps.

Current evidence reveal Ortho-K and soft contact lenses such as MiSight to help slow progressive myopia when worn consistently* (efficacy of control vary from individual to individual). Some children, though, may not suitable for contact lenses. Different types of spectacles for managing myopic symptoms are available, including peripheral defocus lenses such as MiyoSmart and myopia control bifocals (Myopilux Max). At E Eye Place, our optometrists will guide you through the options and help you determine the best solution.

When to Start and Stop Myopia Control?

You should begin IMMEDIATELY! Research evidence shows that the younger the child becomes myopic, the faster their vision condition worsens. To have the best outcome, parents should act quickly.

Start and Stop Myopia Management

Some parents can be reluctant because they think their child may be too young for the treatment. It’s true that certain children may find it hard to wear contact lenses, but some spectacles may be suitable for them. Regular eyeglasses are not the answer. Contact lenses that can stop or at least delay myopic progression are safe to wear, even for young children aged 8 to 12.

As proactive eye care practitioners, we at E Eye Place can help parents understand their child’s risk factors for developing myopia. If your child shows signs of being less long-sighted than other kids their age, with eye muscle coordination issues, and/or you have a family history of nearsightedness, it’s time for a consultation.

Now, when does myopia control stop? When the child is an adult, it may be time to halt the treatment. About half of the kids who undergo myopia control become more stable around 16 years old. This means, though, that the other 50% of patients can continue to worsen. Research shows that by age 18, three-quarters of myopic patients stop progressing and 90% experience stability by age 21. Factors such as heredity (family history or genetic predilection) and environmental factors can affect the rate of progression and duration of progression.

Our optometrists will guide you to the appropriate period to stop.

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What is Different During
Myopia Control Consultations?

Checking for myopia is not the same as your regular eye check-ups. It involves several procedures to determine how the eyes focus, along with determining how much power of lenses is required to correct blurry vision.

Different During Myopia Management Consultations

Some evaluations include questions about:

  • Family History: If one or both parents are myopic, the child’s risk of becoming nearsighted is higher.
  • Ocular Health: Practitioners will ask about previous treatments or blurry eyesight corrections.
  • General Health: Those with certain health conditions like diabetes can develop myopic symptoms, even during adulthood.
  • Habits: Spending less time outdoors, using devices for several hours each day, and reading books can increase risk.

In managing nearsightedness, the most important thing to do is to figure out the level of discomfort correctly and accurately. Vision acuity is measured with the present correction and later with the updated refraction. Retinoscopy is an excellent objective tool to screen for refractive errors in children.

Different During Myopia Management Consultations

Binocular vision may also be assessed since many children with binocular vision disorders have symptoms that develop earlier and faster. Other tests that may be performed for myopia control are for:

  • Anterior Eye Health is often required when considering contact lenses.
    • Corneal Topography is part of evaluating anterior eye health. Using Ortho-K is only possible when there’s a good topography scan to find the existence of corneal problems, astigmatism, or retinoscopy reflexes. The exam may also include a dry eye assessment.
  • Posterior Eye Health should be done annually for those with high myopic levels.
    • Axial Length is part of the posterior eye health exam that aids in monitoring outcomes. It also tells the eye doctor whether there is a risk for any related eye disease.

Schedule your next visit with E Eye Place today to begin myopia control and reduce its progression before it gets worse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Children with myopic symptoms can find distant objects blurry or hazy. Therefore, parents and guardians need to watch for signs that include sitting too close to the TV and squinting. Nearsightedness is often one of the leading causes of poor performance in school because children cannot see and read what’s written on the board. You will notice that they read and write too close to their faces.

Myopia also causes children to have “tired eyes,” which can often lead to headaches. Typically, headaches occur when kids constantly exert efforts to see something far away. Other signs to look for are excessive eye-watering and eye rubbing.

There are many ways to help slow down the progression in kids. Parents should encourage them to spend more time outdoors instead of staying indoors to watch TV or use mobile phones. Natural sunlight is vital but make sure the child’s eyes are protected against dangerous UV light by wearing hats and sunglasses.

Keeping a good distance when holding a book or a device can also help preserve their eyesight. Provide good lighting so that your child can read or do their homework without straining their eyes.
Lastly, but most importantly, seek the help of an optometrist who can provide therapy and suitable eyewear solution to help manage the symptoms.

Nearsightedness often progresses when left untreated. It’s not a vision disorder you should ignore in hopes that it will get better eventually. The unfortunate truth is that it rarely stops worsening on its own. People with progressing myopic symptoms can develop various other eye diseases. If no proper treatment is provided, the eyes will suffer and may even lead to blindness.

Early treatment is always the key to helping stop nearsightedness in its tracks. Without the help of an eye doctor, it’s impossible to manage myopia. As you grow older, like many things, it can become worse and increase your chance of glaucoma, cataracts, detached retina, and macular degeneration.

A common misconception about wearing eyeglasses is that they can weaken the eyes. It is one reason why some people avoid wearing them, believing that they help preserve their vision. This is, of course, not true. However, it’s also important to understand that eyeglasses, particularly the traditional ones, will not solve the cause of nearsightedness.

Eyeglasses simply assist in correcting vision for those who are myopic or nearsighted, where the vision disorder is caused by refractive errors. Specialised treatment can help people with that suffer, especially children. This treatment is important to ensure that it does not progress as they get older.