Why Is There No Cure for Myopia? What Are the Treatments to Slow Progression?
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a vision condition in which the patient sees close objects clearly, but more distant objects appear blurred. This condition is common, affecting 30% of the population of the US. Unfortunately, while there are treatments for myopia, there is no cure—largely because we don’t know exactly what causes myopia.
What causes myopia?
Myopia is a refractive error in which either the eye is too long, the cornea is too curved, or both, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it.
We have identified certain risk factors for myopia. First, we know that it tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. Your risk of being nearsighted is higher if one of your parents is nearsighted; it’s even higher if they both are. Another possible risk factor is environmental conditions. For example, there may be a link between not spending enough time outdoors and a higher risk of developing myopia. Those who spend a lot of time doing near tasks (using digital devices or reading) may have a higher risk of developing myopia.
It is not currently possible to identify the exact cause of myopia, and there is no cure. Eyeglasses and regular contact lenses can correct the vision, but they cannot slow the progression of myopia.
Related resources: How Can One Correct Myopia?
Treatments to slow progression
While we cannot cure myopia, one critical thing that we can do now is help to slow its progression. This step is vital, particularly for kids with myopia, because nearsightedness connects to a wide range of complications, such as other eye problems. Severe myopia increases the risk of long-term eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment.
The good news is that we can do a lot to slow the progression of myopia in children and help lower the risk of these issues. Our Myopia Management Clinic offers a range of treatments that are proven to slow the progression of myopia, including:
- Distance Center Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses: These lenses are designed to be worn just like regular soft contact lenses. However, they have different “zones” throughout the lens that essentially trick the eye to slow myopia.
- Orthokeratology lenses: Orthokeratology lenses, or Ortho-K, are custom-fitted to each patient and worn overnight. Upon removing the lenses in the morning, the patient experiences clear vision all day without wearing eyeglasses or contacts. The lenses slow the growth of the eye.
- Atropine drops: Atropine is an eye drop medication that subtly relaxes the focus of the eye. A low dose of this medication can help to slow the progression of myopia.
If you or your child exhibit signs of nearsightedness, or you would like to explore treatment options for slowing the progression of their condition, contact us. We’ll schedule a consultation at the Weston contact lens institute, perform a thorough eye exam, and recommend treatments to give you the best possible quality of life.