Q. What is Myopia? What is the progression?
A. Commonly known as nearsightedness, myopia occurs when the eye grows too long from front to back. Instead of focusing images on the retina—the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye—the lens of the eye focuses the image in front of the retina. People with myopia tend to have a good near vision but poor distance vision.
People with myopia can typically see well enough to read a book or computer screen but struggle to see objects farther away. Sometimes people with undiagnosed myopia have headaches and eyestrain from struggling to clearly see things in the distance.
Very Commonly the initial amount of myopia tends to increase over the first 10 to 15 years of initial onset. This increase is known as myopia progression.
Q. What age does it begin and when does it stop progressing?
A. The typical age of onset is about 10 years old give or take 2 years. However, it can occur somewhat sooner or later depending on the patient. In fact, my field worldwide has seen the onset shift younger over the past few years as we look at the worldwide data. Myopia tends to stop progressing in a patient’s mid 20’s.
Q. Why is the progression of Myopia a health concern?
A. Not only is myopia a visual concern, with higher degrees of myopia needing more and more correction (thicker/heavier glasses or contact lenses), as the eye elongates as it gets more myopic, the patient is more at risk for structural problems in the eye as well such as Retinal tears/detachments and macular scarring, among others.
Q. At what age should you start controlling the progression of Myopia?
A. As soon as we see an unwanted progression of myopia the relative to its onset, and the patient is ready for the responsibility that comes with wearing contact lenses, we can start managing it.
Q. What is Ortho K/Contact Lenses and how does it control Myopia?
A. Orthokeratology or “Ortho-K” is the fitting of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that you wear overnight. While you are asleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up. Studies have shown that this treatment is one of three methods that are effective in our goal of stagnating the progression of myopia.