Advanced Myopia Solutions From Our Leawood Eye Doctor
Often called nearsightedness, myopia can develop in children to adults. This eye condition is much more common in children, and it continues to be, according to the National Eye Institute.
The organization found that myopia cases were up from 1999 to 2004, increasing to 41.6 percent in children and adults (12 – 54 years old). Compare that to data from 1971 to 1972, where only 25 percent of the same age group had the condition.
If left untreated, myopia can lead to other eye issues. That makes it especially important that parents be on the lookout for symptoms of myopia in their children. If you think your child has myopia, we recommend you bring them in to our clinic, the Vision Professionals of Leawood. It is possible to slow down this condition, but only if caught early.
Myopia is a significant problem, not only because it causes eye strain and vision difficulties it causes because it can make people more prone to other eye problems. If your child is showing signs of myopia, you'll be happy to learn that your Leawood eye doctor at Vision Professionals of Leawood can provide options that not only correct myopia but can also slow in progression in kids.
What Is Myopia?
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition in which you can see close-up objects clearly but more distant objects appear blurry. It's an extremely common problem, afflicting over 41 percent of Americans. Myopia is characterized by an eyeball that is elongated instead of spherical, which affects the way incoming light is refracted.
Some cases may be caused by elongation of the cornea instead of the eyeball. While the condition runs in families, it may also be aggravated by constant, concentrated use of near vision. To make matters worse, myopia may also be a contributing factor in serious eye problems, from cataracts and glaucoma to retinal detachment.
This condition changes the shape of the eye, leading to increased lens and eyeball thickness and rounded corneas. With a normal eye, the way the light moves determines how well you see. The retina is a key part of this equation.
Any item has light rays. These bounce back from the item to the cornea towards the retina. By changing the shape of the cornea, this process does not occur like it should, which causes the blurry vision.
What Are the Symptoms?
The main symptom of myopia is blurred vision. Most patients mention having difficulty with reading and watching TV. Using one’s smartphone or computer causes no vision difficulties because these items are closer in distance.
What Causes Myopia?
As we mentioned above, the main cause of myopia is a misshapen eye. The lens or eye itself may be too big. The cornea may be too rounded.
Unfortunately, eye doctors and medical professionals don’t know much about why some people develop larger eyes and rounded corneas compared to others. That said, these professionals have a few indicators.
This condition is hereditary, so if you or your spouse have it, you could pass it on to your children.
Conditions like one’s environment, ethnicity, age, and gender may also cause myopia, but more research must be done before this can be confirmed.
That said, then, the biggest indicator seems to be family history. If you or anyone in your family has myopia, be aware of the symptoms in your children.
How Is Myopia Diagnosed?
A standard comprehensive eye exam can catch most cases of myopia. The eye doctor may recommend a visual acuity test, where the patient will have to put their hand over one eye and then read from an eye chart. The chart has random strings of letters at differing sizes. The goal is to see how much small text a patient can accurately read.
Then the patient will put their hand over their other eye and repeat. By this point, the eye doctor will have a pretty good idea if the patient is nearsighted. They’ll likely finish the appointment by testing retina light reflection with a retinoscope.
The eye doctor may also test with a phoropter at some point during the appointment. This is a lens test that indicates whether the patient would be a better candidate for contacts or glasses.
Ortho-K and Other Myopia Control Options
Myopia has traditionally been corrected with glasses or contacts, although adults with myopia occasionally opt for LASIK surgery instead. While corrective lenses can clarify myopic vision nicely, however, they do nothing to impede the progression of the disorder, which primarily occurs during childhood. That's why Vision Professionals of Leawood is so excited to offer pediatric myopia control methods such as:
- Atropine eye drops - Atropine eye drops relax the focusing mechanism of the eye, reducing myopia in children by up to 81 percent in some studies. This treatment may be more effective as a short-term treatment than as a long-term answer to myopia.
- Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) - This treatment involves the use of specialized contact lenses that are designed to act as "molds" for the corneas, effectively reshaping the cornea for clear daytime vision. Studies have shown that the rate of eye elongation actually slows in children who wear Ortho-K lenses regularly. This means your Leawood optometrist on our team may be able to reduce the amount of myopia that develops in your child's eyes during these formative years.
- Multifocal contact lenses - Specialized multifocal contact lenses can help control myopia. Multifocal contacts contain more than one field or zone of vision correction. Our myopia-control soft multi-focals have a "softer" corrective prescription toward the outer rim than at the center. Studies in multiple countries have shown that they provide significant slowing of myopia progression.
How Can a Leawood Eye Doctor Treat Myopia?
Myopia is easily treated. For most patients, contact lenses or glasses can reduce the blurriness. In the cases of patients developing myopia in later age, they may need refractive surgery such as Lasik.
For those who don’t want to go under the knife but still want to treat their myopia, there’s another treatment called Orthokeratology or Ortho-K. This is also used to stop myopia from developing further in younger patients.
Ortho-K contact lenses are not meant for permanent use. Over time, corneal shape changes with these contacts. This allows young patients to discontinue use of standard contacts or glasses.
At Vision Professionals of Leawood, we also offer multifocal contacts. These soft lenses may also be able to prevent myopia from developing further. Lastly, ask about our atropine eye drops, which are 81 percent effective in treating younger patients’ myopia symptoms. These eye drops allow the eye’s focusing mechanism to stop overworking, which may reduce blurriness.
About Vision Professionals of Leawood
To learn more about myopia, Ortho-K, or our other treatments for nearsightedness, give us a call at (913) 239-9446 or visit us on 5020 West 135th Street.