• Dr. Patrick Cheung, Optometrist

A New Way To Keep Your Eyes From Getting Worse (For Near Sighted People)

If you need to wear glasses to see far away, there is a good chance you are near-sighted, or myopic. This article will be for you. There are many other reasons people need to wear glasses, but these solutions will only apply if you or your child is near-sighted.

What Is Myopia?

People with myopia have poor vision for things in the distance, but usually vision for up close if not affected. This will lead to difficulties seeing things far away, such as the board at school, watching TV and driving. Myopia can be easily corrected with options such as glasses, contact lenses and surgery.

Nearsightedness (myopia) is a condition that affects 30% of the population worldwide. This number is constantly increasing, and it is estimated that in 2050, about 50% of the world's population will be nearsighted.

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Myopia happens when light entering the eye doesn't focus properly on the back, or the retina. The reason why light doesn't get to the back of the eye usually means the eyeball itself is too long, and the eye is growing too quickly. This is why myopia usually starts between 9 or 10 years old, as children are in a growing stage. This accelerated growth of the eye can lead to eye health problems later on in life, such as retinal detachments, cataracts and glaucoma.

The reason why some people develop myopia and some don't is not completely understood, but there is a genetic correlation to it. Your lifestyle, such as time spent outside and time spent reading and focusing, are related to myopia progression as well.

What To Do When Myopia Has Started

Myopia starting in childhood will usually progress more than if it starts in adulthood. These methods will be especially effective for children between the ages of 8 to 16.

Traditionally, what has been done to fix myopia is to correct the vision with glasses and contact lenses. This is important in order to be able to see, but it does not help to slow down or stop these changes. This can lead to having a higher prescription in adulthood and also having a higher risk of eye health issues. There are now different methods that can be used to slow down myopic changes. Dr. Patrick Cheung and his team at York Medical Eye Care can go over these options with you and prescribe the best course of treatment.

There have been numerous studies done on ways to prevent or slow the increase of myopia. Here are some simple, passive strategies we can use to slow down vision changes after glasses or contacts have been used.

[if !supportLists]1. [endif]Time spent outdoors has is known to prevent or slow the onset of myopia. Playing a sport or having an outdoor hobby can be a great thing. Remember to wear sunglasses to prevent sun damage to the eyes.

[if !supportLists]2. [endif]Having blurry vision, even with glasses or contacts on, can actually make your eyes worse even faster. Some people believe that giving a slightly lower prescription than is needed can slow down changes in the eye. In actual fact, this will make your eyes worse faster. If there are changes in the prescription, having an up to date set of glasses to give the sharpest possible vision is helpful. For children, this usually happens about once a year. Ask about our Children's Packages to help address these prescription changes.

[if !supportLists]3. [endif]Spending lots of time reading or doing near focused work can make your myopia worse as well. It is recommended that you take a break after 20 minutes of near work in order give your eyes a chance to relax, as well as to use some of the peripheral vision.

There are two safe and effective active strategies we can use at York Medical Eye Care to slow the increase of myopia to a greater extent. These strategies have been shown to slow myopia progression about 40%-60%, or more in some cases.

[if !supportLists]1. [endif]Multifocal contact lenses/Ortho K - Using a special type of contact lens can help stabilize the changes in myopia. They work by changing some of the focal points in the peripheral vision. There are different types of lenses that can be used, some that are worn during the day and some that are worn overnight. Contact lenses are best used for people that plan on wearing contact lenses the majority of the time. These require a fitting appointment to be used properly.

[if !supportLists]2. [endif]Atropine 0.01% - This is an prescription eyedrop that is used once a day before bedtime. They are made from Atropine only at a compounding pharmacy. Atropine 1% is a type of dilating drop that is used for different medical reasons. The strength of Atropine being used for myopia control is diluted 100 times compared to the original strength, so no visual effects are seen for the majority of people. This eye drop will slow or stop the changes in the eye as long as it is being used.

For more information about myopia control, Dr. Patrick Cheung and the team at York Medical Eye Care can be contacted at (905) 836-1112 or info@yorkmedicaleyecare.com

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