Understanding myopia and its implications is the first step to learning about the potential for teenage myopia control. No parent wants their child to be destined to the inconvenience of eyeglasses. The information described below will help you to be more proactive about controlling the advancement of myopia in your teenagers.
What is myopia?
Myopia is an extremely common refractive error that occurs in the eye. People with myopic vision find it difficult to focus on objects in the distance. Because they can see objects at short (versus long) distances clearly, people with myopic vision are known as “shortsighted”. This is in contrast to people with hyperopia, who only see objects far away (or at long distances) clearly – that’s why they’re called longsighted or farsighted.
Myopia is generally caused by having a longer-than-average eyeball. Because we can’t control the natural shape of our eye, myopia can’t be prevented outright. This naturally occurring vision-related issue is often genetic, although a child can suffer from myopia without having parents with the condition.
How is myopia control in teenagers possible?
Myopia is not preventable, but an ophthalmologist’s diagnosis of your child’s myopia is not always as bad as it may seem. Parents of shortsighted children can be proactive in managing their child’s eyesight in order to prevent it from deteriorating further, which would require them to wear increasingly strong eyeglasses. The good news is that myopia starts at a young age and generally gets worse during teenagehood, after which it tends to remain at a stable level as a young adult and into later life.
While there are no scientifically proven “cures” for myopia, medical studies do suggest that slowing the progression of myopia in children and teenagers is both possible and achievable.
The series of techniques and treatments that can be followed to prevent one’s myopia from deteriorating further are known as “myopia control”.
There are two accepted methods for teenage myopia control:
- – Administering atropine eye drops, and
– Orthokeratology (also known as “ortho-k”) which refers to the wearing of custom-fitted gas permeable contact lenses that can temporarily reshape the cornea while you sleep
Both of these methods work by bringing about structural changes in the eye, and improving the eye’s focusing power. The goal is to decrease the effects of shortsightedness and its steady advancement, which can include eyestrain and eye fatigue. In the long term, these methods seek to prevent eye complaints such as cataracts (which are commonly associated with myopic vision), as well as far more serious problems including a detached retina.