Myopia: If you can see objects nearby with no problem, but reading road signs or making out the writing on the board at school is more difficult, you have nearsightedness or myopia. Myopia most often occurs because the eyeball is too long and light rays from a distant point are focused at a place in front of the retina, forming a blurred image on the retina.
Progressive Myopia: a type of nearsightedness that typically affects children and teens. Myopia in which the correction to clear vision increases over time periods less than one year and in amounts greater than ½ diopter of power.
What causes it?
Until recently, the most common causes of progressive myopia have been thought to be:
- Excessive close up tasks such as reading, desk work, computer work and hand held video devices.
- The genetic component of parents who themselves are nearsighted.
- Patients who are of Asian descent.
- Recent research at the University of Houston has shown progressive myopia to be linked with the poor focusing of light on the back of the eye (the retina) in areas near the area responsible for 20/20 vision (the macula).
What can be done about it?
- Good “visual habits” such as:
- Reading and other close tasks only in good light
- Reading and other close tasks at a distance equal to the length of one’s forearm
- Frequent rest breaks: every 20 minutes—look 20 feet away—for 20 seconds when performing reading or other close tasks
- Television viewing at a distance of at least 10 feet or more
- Outdoor play of at least 60 minutes per day
- Prescribing Orthokeratology molds for children with progressive myopia
What should you do next?
Orthokeratology: uses computer designed vision molds to gently and gradually reshape the front surface of the eye (the cornea) to eliminate or reduce nearsightedness and slow the rapid prescription changes those kids with progressive myopia experience. These molds are worn only at nighttime during sleep. They are then removed upon awakening to provide clear vision without using glasses or contact lenses during the day! The molds are comfortable, easy to care for, and offer relief from the problems sometimes associated with full time contact lens wear like dryness and things getting on or under the lenses. Ask your eye doctor to recommend an Orthokeratology Academy of America practitioner (http://www.orthokacademy.com/find/) to evaluate your child’s myopia.
Robert Gerowitz, Optometrist-Orthokeratologist