What can I do to protect my vision?
Myopia is a growing problem and wearing glasses alone will not stop it from getting worse. We know that getting contacts or laser eye surgery will lead to clear vision, but that once the eye permanently elongates it is irreversible and leads to increased risk of eye disease. So what do we do about it?!
We always counsel our patients first about proper visual hygiene. Daily outdoor activity and exercise is extremely helpful and multiple studies among different countries have supported this. In a sense, one of the best eye doctors you’ll ever have is natural sunlight. Staying indoors in dim lit rooms can contribute to myopia progression and poor visual development. When working intensely on a near task such as studying or working on the computer, we recommend the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break by looking far away at an object 20 feet away.
Secondly, some doctors prescribe a mild form of the eye drop atropine (a dilating medication) to try to slow down the progression of myopia. This option needs to be considered carefully however because atropine can cause side effects such as red eyes, light sensitivity, and difficulty focusing up close. If your doctor recommends this approach, we recommend trialing it for a week or so to make sure your child does not experience any adverse effects from the atropine.
Fortunately, one of the biggest breakthroughs in controlling myopia is a process called orthokeratology. This is the most exciting thing we do at our office! It is a revolutionary system that will correct your vision overnight while you sleep. During the day, you can see clearly without having to wear glasses, contacts, or go through laser eye surgery.
With orthokeratology, the peripheral focal points now contour the retina much better. For this reason it leads to a better image on the eye. This protects the eye from elongating which helps stop the myopia progression. We highly recommend orthokeratology for nearly every myopic child. We have a saying around our office, “Want better vision? How about you sleep on it!”
Orthokeratology, or ortho-k for short, is safe and FDA approved for all ages. Studies have shown that it will help to slow down or stop the progression of myopia. The beauty is that you can achieve 20/20 vision without having to wear glasses or daytime contacts. For those swimmers, hiking enthusiasts, and heavy computer and tablet users, this is truly the ideal solution.
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