What is Myopia Control/Myopia Management?

Dec 21, 2022

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Today we will discuss what myopia control is, the methods employed, and why is it important.

Hello, today we will explore myopia control or myopia management. Perhaps, you may have already heard of the term and wondered what it is and if it is something relevant to you. Before we fully dive into myopia control, we need to first go over myopia.

What is myopia?

The National Eye Institute, which is part of the government body National Institutes of Health, defines myopia, or nearsightedness, as the following from their webpage:

“Nearsightedness is a refractive error that makes far-away objects look blurry. It happens when the shape of the eye makes light focus in front of the retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye), instead of on it.”

So basically, someone with myopia cannot see things clearly at distance without some type of vision correction. The most common ways to correct myopia are glasses and contact lenses. Some patients even opt for eye surgery to correct vision because they do not want to wear any glasses or contacts and we will explore refraction surgery in future articles.

There are many factors for myopic development such as genetics and habits. When someone sees things up close, the eyes have to do something called “accommodation” which basically means that the eyes must work to see up close. Part of the reason why people feel eye strain after seeing something up close for a while is in part due to accommodating. Frequent accommodation during developing years has been shown to contribute to myopia development although the reasons are unclear.

So, is myopia something that just develops and there is nothing we can do about it? No! In comes myopia control.

What is myopia control?

Myopia control is the method that optometrists employ to help children slow down the progression of myopia. This is not to be confused with saying that it helps the eyes get “better” or “fix” myopia. Unfortunately, once myopia develops, there is little chance that it will regress naturally hence surgical need to correct it. However, there are various methods to slow the progression of myopia: atropine drops, contact lenses, glasses, and orthokeratology lenses.

What are the different methods of myopia control?

Here are the methods listed alphabetically:

  1. Atropine drops – Atropine drops are prescription eye drops that are put in the eyes daily in the morning. These drops make the eyes dilate very slightly so that the eyes will not accommodate as much when reading up close.
  2. Contact lens – There are specialty contact lenses with specialized prescriptions in the lenses that help the eyes not accommodate as much as when seeing things up close. These are worn daily during the day and taken off before going to sleep.
  3. Glasses – There are glasses lenses such as Essilor’s Eyezen series which includes specialized prescriptions in the lenses that help the eyes not accommodate as much as when seeing things up close.
  4. Orthokeratology Lens – Orthokeratology Lens, or Ortho K for short, are specialty hard contact lenses designed to be worn while sleeping. These lenses press down on the cornea during sleep time and the patient takes them off in the morning. The great added benefit is that patients do not need to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day for vision correction.

At this point, perhaps you might be asking, “If I am totally ok with glasses and contact lenses, why is this relevant to me?” And that is the question that closes out our article for today.

Why is myopia control important?

Myopia control can be employed only during developing years when the eyes are also developing and changing. For adults, myopia can only be corrected via glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. This procedure is relevant for children. However, our end goal for myopia control is not just to make sure the eyes don’t get worse prescription-wise. There are eye diseases that are more likely to develop in people with high myopia such as retinal detachment or glaucoma. Having high myopia prescription is not just about getting thick glasses lenses but also the eye health risks that are associated with it. With myopia control, we not only slow down myopia progression but also prevent possible eye diseases.

If you are interested or want more information for your child, please schedule an appointment with our doctor!


Resources referenced in this article are from the following: