Myopia Control/Management in Greenwood
Myopia, also called nearsightedness or shortsightedness, is the inability to see things clearly unless they’re situated close to your eyes. It is the most common refractive error among children and young adults. Most patients with this condition wear eyeglasses or contacts to correct their vision.
However, myopia is more than an inconvenience; it can pose a serious risk to your child’s long-term vision. As a child develops and the myopia rapidly progresses, the child is at a higher risk of developing dangerous eye diseases later in life. Namely, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts. Thankfully, Myopia Management can help.
Myopia Management solutions include eye drops, specific contact lenses, and glasses, which can help slow down the rapid visual deterioration that occurs with myopia. Contact Vision Care Specialists Myopia Control Center and see how Myopia Management can help your child experience clearer, sharper vision and a higher quality of life.
The Growing Prevalence of Myopia
Myopia is becoming increasingly prevalent around the world, with a recent study showing that close to 30% of the world’s population is currently myopic. Alarmingly, by 2050, close to 50% of the global population will be myopic. That’s a staggering 5 billion people!
Myopia rates have shot up in the last 20 years. In China, between 10-20 % of primary school children are myopic. This number increases to 50% for high school students, and by the time they reach university, 90% of the student body is nearsighted.
The good news is that thanks to Myopia Management, you can protect your children from landing on the wrong side of this statistic.
Myopia Control Starts with an Eye Exam
Regular comprehensive eye exams for your child at all stages of their development is extremely important to ensure a child’s vision will develop as it should and to diagnose any eye conditions that may be affecting your child. There are many eye conditions, such as strabismus and amblyopia that can be corrected easily if caught early but can do irreversible damage that will affect a child into adulthood if left undiagnosed and untreated for too long. However, one of the leading causes of ocular disease in adults that continues to progress is myopia or nearsightedness.
Myopia Management May Include:
Slow or Stop Myopia
While nearsightedness, or myopia, for many has been corrected through glasses or contact lenses, a modern concept has developed called Myopia Management. Myopia management is designed to slow down or stop the progression of myopia. Unfortunately, the percentage of moderate to high myopia has grown in number and myopia management is becoming a major consideration for parents & their child’s eye health.
Levels of Myopia:
Mild myopia: -0.25 to -3.00 D
Moderate myopia: Between -3.00 to -6.00 D
High myopia: More than -6.00 D
Myopia Control Prevents Risk of Ocular Disease
The rate of progression of myopia has been linked to the development of cataracts. The higher the level of myopia in a child, the faster the rate cataracts can develop when they get older.
Glaucoma is when the eye develops an unusually high pressure, where this pressure can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss. Studies have shown that nearsighted people have a 2-3x greater risk of Glaucoma.
Levels of myopia also have a correlation to detached retinas. A detached retina is when the retina pulls away from the eyes tissue, often resulting in permanent vision loss.
Myopia Control Starts with You – The Parent
Your child’s eyes are his/her gateway into the world of learning. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Children are not likely to recognize vision problems like myopia, and it is, therefore, the responsibility of parents and teachers to recognize signs of visual problems in their children.
Children’s Eyesight May Change Less Often With Myopia Control
Because changes in your child’s vision can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the eye doctor every year or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. Myopia management attempts to reduce the number of changes that may occur in your child’s vision. With a successful myopia management program, an eye doctor can provide your child with amazing vision, track your child’s rate of myopia, and provide a clear road to healthy eyesight and a successful future.
Myopia Management In Adults
One of the factors that contributes to myopia progression is growth. Childhood myopia tends to get worse partially due to the way the eyes grow as the child gets older.
Once a person reaches adulthood, their eyes do not grow or change as much, meaning their myopia will most likely stabilize. Because adult myopia cases are not typically progressive, Myopia Management is not always necessary or useful for adults.
What are Orthokeratology
(Ortho-k) Contact Lenses?
The Orthokeratology (Ortho-k) uses specially designed vision retainers to gently and gradually reshape the front surface of the eye (the cornea) to eliminate or reduce nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism. The principle is similar to the use of a dental retainer used by an orthodontist to realign crooked teeth. The vision retainers are similar to contact lenses and are only worn at night while sleeping. They are then removed upon awakening to provide clear vision without using glasses or contact lenses! The retainers are comfortable and very easy to care for.
"Why think about Ortho-K? Why not just wear eyeglasses or contact lenses?"
The main purpose of Ortho-K is to be free from both contact lenses and eyeglasses during waking hours. While this is ideal for sports enthusiasts or those who work in dusty or dirty environments, for others Ortho-K offers the appeal of being free from corrective lenses during the day. Ortho-K also offers relief from the problems sometimes associated with full time contact lens wear like drying and things getting on or under the lenses. Additionally, ongoing research is showing that for most patients, the progression of nearsightedness can be stopped or significantly slowed down by using Ortho-K retainers. This makes it a great alternative for children, particularly those with nearsighted parents. Neither eyeglasses nor conventional contact lenses have been shown to have as strong a tendency towards controlling myopia as Ortho-K.
"Does Ortho-K have any advantages over Laser Surgery?"
There are several. Ortho-K is less than half the cost of Refractive Laser Surgery (LASIK). It does not involve any post-operative pain. Also, the hazy post-operative vision that can be associated with laser surgery does not occur with Ortho-K. Both eyes can easily be done at the same time with Ortho-K. Also, prescription changes are easy to deal with using Ortho-K. Strong steroid or antibiotic drugs are not needed with Ortho-K, as is during the post-operative period for laser surgery. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Ortho-K is reversible. Laser surgery is not.
"Is everyone suitable for Ortho-K and can any doctor perform it?"
The answer to both questions is no. It does not work on every patient and needs to be performed in a very exact and meticulous manner. We have received special training and have the necessary diagnostic equipment, computer software and expertise to perform Ortho-K. The procedure works best on mild to moderate amounts of nearsightedness or astigmatism. More severe cases can have their vision improved, but will still need some vision correction. The procedure also does not work well on certain shaped corneas, and there are several incalculable factors for each patient - most notably the cornea’s rigidity. Thus the speed of Ortho-K varies with each patient. Generally, but not always, less nearsighted patients respond faster than more nearsighted ones. There are no age barriers for Ortho-K. It is safe for children and adults and is an excellent alternative for children who are just becoming nearsighted, because as mentioned above, Ortho-K can prevent any further nearsightedness from occurring! Also, while success rates are very high, success cannot be guaranteed due to factors like the inability to wear the vision retainer for physiological reasons or other systemic health problems that may reduce wearing time.
"What does the Ortho-K procedure involve?"
A comprehensive eye health examination is performed first. Then, a corneal topographer is used to obtain a very precise computerized “map” of the cornea’s shape. This information is placed into the Ortho-K computer software and a diagnostic retainer is fit in the office. If, at that time, it is determined that you are a good candidate for Ortho-K, your own vision retainers will be ordered. It takes about one week for the retainers to be made and delivered. When you pick up your retainers, you will be instructed on how to use and care for them. The maintenance is very easy and involves only one bottle of solution. If the retainers fit properly, you will wear them that first night. Your vision should be clear with the retainers on. We will see you the next morning. You should come to the office wearing your vision retainers. We will remove them for you. Of course, should you experience any problems while at home with your retainers, simply remove them.
Most of the visual changes occur rapidly over the first few days. As the cornea changes shape and vision improves, we will supply you with any needed contact lenses to be worn during these first few days, at no charge. The majority of patients achieve excellent vision in only a few days. Even after you are seeing well, we will continue to see you a while longer to ensure your cornea is adapting to the retainers. Most patients are done with their follow up care in one month although some may take more or less time. When the treatment is completed, the retainer will continue to be used on a nightly basis. Some patients are able to use the retainers every other night.
"I’ve never heard of Ortho-K. Is it new?"
Attempts to re-shape the cornea have been tried since contact lenses were first fit. The clinical- scientific name for Ortho-K is orthokeratology. When orthokeratology was first attempted in the 1960’s, it would often take over a year to complete and the results were not nearly as favorable as Ortho-K. For this reason, many doctors and patients elected not to participate in conventional orthokeratology. With the newer diagnostic technology used to measure the corneal shape and the newer materials being used for vision retainers, Ortho-K is now a viable alternative for many nearsighted or astigmatism patients.