Myopia Treatment Options: Can you prevent my prescription from getting worse?

Chic is one of the leading practices in Auckland offering diverse methods to slow down prescription changes due to myopia. Myopia is a medical term for shortsightedness or difficulty in seeing distant objects.

The prevalence of myopia is increasing at an alarming rate worldwide and for this reason it is not unusual to see high levels of myopia in school children.

Myopia: When does it usually start?

It commonly starts in childhood and distance vision may become blurred so gradually that the child is unaware that he or she does not see as clearly as other people do. Once the child starts to develop myopia, it will usually continue to increase during childhood and into the teenage years and levels off in the mid-twenties. Some people, especially those in professions that require a lot of close work such as reading, can develop myopia as adults and experience progression of myopia well into their working life – even if they have not experienced difficulties with vision during their childhood.

Myopia: How did I get it?

Myopia can be inherited but can also occur when no one else in the family has it. There is no easily predictable way to determine the chances of myopia developing in a child who has a parent with myopia. Recent epidemiological studies show a strong association between prolonged close work such as reading and progression of myopia.

Myopia: an epidemic with serious consequences

Due to the possible structural changes associated with myopia, myopic eyes have an increased risk of cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachments and retinal degenerations. As a result, myopia is a leading cause of permanent visual impairment and it is imperative that we find solutions to slow down myopia progression.

Recent research shows that not only the genetic factors, but also the environmental factors may play a role in the development of myopia. There is a strong support for myopia being linked to excessive near vision activities such as reading and studying.

Myopia has traditionally been managed with single vision glasses or contact lenses, but these may not be the best solutions if we want to halt the progression of myopia.

Why do traditional eyewear and contact lenses make things worse?

One reasoning for increasing myopia with traditional lenses is that although they keep the central retinal image clear, they make the peripheral retinal image sit behind the peripheral retina that can provide a strong signal for myopia progression by axial elongation. Fig. 3 shows that when myopic eyes are corrected with traditional spectacle or contact lenses, the retinal image is in focus at the central retina (dark purple line), but the images are projected behind the retina peripherally (light blue and light purple lines), which sends a strong signal for increasing myopia by axial elongation of the eye. Our goal is to provide treatment modalities that project images on or in front of the peripheral retina, and send a stop signal to the eye to manage eye elongation (see Figure 4). The eye simply stops growing, thanks to this Peripheral Management technology.

001Fig. 1 A normal eye where the image is projected on the retina, both centrally and peripherally
002Fig. 2 A myopic eye where the image is projected in front of the retina (due to eye elongation)
003Fig. 3 A corrected myopic eye with a flat-form lens. The image is projected on the retina centrally, BUT behind the retina peripherally
004Fig. 4 A corrected myopic eye using Peripheral Management Technology. The image is projected on the retina centrally, BUT in front of (or on) the retina peripherally

We have many effective options available for myopia correction and prevention

Various methods of stopping or slowing myopia have emerged from research labs, and we are able to offer these treatments to our patients while maintaining good vision. As a patient of our practice, you will have access to the latest technologies for preventing myopia. Some of the services we offer to slow down myopia include prescribing specialized anti-myopia spectacle lenses, multifocal contact lenses, atropine eyedrops as well as behaviour and environment modification.

Call us today on (09) 522 8996 or click the button below to book online for an eye examination with our friendly optometrist.