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What Is Myopia?

June 3, 2024

Myopia, or nearsightedness, occurs when light does not focus correctly onto the retina due to the eye’s length being longer than normal. This causes blurry vision when viewing distant objects.

Genetics play a role in the development of myopia. If one parent is myopic, there is a 1 in 3 chance a child will also be myopic. If both parents are myopic, the risk increases to 1 in 2. However, if neither parent is myopic, there is still a 1 in 4 chance of developing myopia.

Lifestyle factors also influence the eye’s development. Studies show that children who spend more time indoors and more time with near vision activities, such as reading and screen use, tend to develop myopia earlier in life and to a greater extent.

What is Progressive High Myopia?

When the eye’s length grows excessively, this is called high myopia or pathologic myopia. The higher the myopia, the blurrier the vision becomes which can impact one’s quality of life. The abnormal elongation of the eye can also weaken the retina and increase the risk of sight-threatening eye disorders later in life such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and, myopic maculopathy.

What is the Myopia Epidemic?

The myopia epidemic refers to the exponential increase in prevalence of myopia. In the 1970s, about 25% of the US population was nearsighted. Fast forward to today, about 40% of the US population is now nearsighted. This is only expected to increase further. By 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population – almost 5 billion people – will be myopic.

What are the Treatment Options for Progressive Myopia?

Myopia is commonly treated with spectacles and contact lenses. While these help to provide clear vision, they do not aid in slowing down the progression of myopia. Myopia is typically diagnosed in childhood and can progress until the early 20s, which is when eyes normally stop growing.

New and exciting clinical research has shown that specialty soft contact lenses and prescription eye drops can significantly reduce the amount of myopia a child may develop over time. This is important, as reducing the progression of myopia can reduce the risk of developing certain eye diseases later in life.

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