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Myopia (Short-Sightedness) Progression

Myopia progression, that is, continued worsening of Myopia, has become all too common in today's society. We do not fully know why, but the increase of screen based devices and visual stress may be contributing factors. We do know that Myopia progression has both genetic and environmental factors. The genetic component is the inbuilt code that governs our traits. How we use ourselves, our bodies, is the environmental component. For example, continued near work, at a computer, nine hours a day is an environmental stress.

We know that it is important to take breaks when performing near work. This break should involve looking up from the screen or page every half an hour or so. If possible, get up and walk around.

It is important to make sure that our reading and screen use distance is no closer than the relative distance between the eyes and the elbows. That is, if you are holding your phone and you bring it 20cm to your eyes, this is causing your eyes to strain and overwork. Please make sure you take the screen further away.

There is currently no cure for Myopia progression. There are many ways to 'try' and help patients who are progressing including Atropine penalization, Ortho-K, Reading glasses or Multifocal lenses, Myovision lenses and Vision Therapy.

Atropine penalization involves putting a drop in the eyes that stops the lens inside the eye from focusing (accommodation). It also causes the pupils to dilate for the time that treatment is used.

Ortho-K is a corneal reshaping procedure, based on trying to alter the focus of light going onto the retina, specifically the peripheral retina. There have been some positive results with this treatment and it is a viable option for some families. It does mean sleeping in contact lenses on most nights to keep the cornea in a certain shape.

Myovision lenses were produced with similar design to help reduce progression by changing the way lenses focus light on the peripheral retina.

Reading glasses or multifocal lenses can be used to reduce visual stress. This on its own is usually not sufficient to 'help' enough with myopia progression.

Vision therapy can be used to help the individual open up their understanding of the visual system. Patients with Myopia can often be very good at focusing on detail, but shut out some peripheral cues. We can also address any visual stress to the focusing system (accommodation) that may be causing some of the distance blur.