Myopia, or nearsightedness, is increasing in the world’s population. As the rate of myopia increases, so do risks of ocular diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and cataracts. As young children and adolescents grow, so does the overall length of the eye (insert image). This increases the growth, or axial elongation, of the eye and is the core cause of the increase of myopia. Current demands on school age children have led to an increase in digital device use and less time outside which accelerate the progression! It is estimated that 50% of the world’s population will have myopia by 2050.
Soft, multifocal contact lenses
These specialized contact lenses work by altering the way light focuses on the retina, thereby reducing the progression of myopia. The dual focus design of the contacts signal for the eye to stop growing, reducing the progression of myopia.
The risks of wearing soft multifocal contacts are the same risks that come with wearing any soft contact lens. Infection and irritation can occur but the risks are greatly reduced when contact lenses are cleaned/ discarded daily. Avoiding sleeping, showering and swimming in your contacts helps to lower the risks of infections.
Atropine Eye Drops
Atropine is a medication that has been used for many years to dilate the pupils and relax the focusing muscles of the eye. In recent years, it has gained attention for its potential role in myopia control.
When used for myopia control, atropine eye drops are typically prescribed at a low concentration to be instilled in the eyes once daily.
Several studies have shown that low-dose atropine can be effective in slowing down the progression of myopia in children and adolescents. It has been found to reduce the axial elongation of the eye, which is associated with the progression of myopia.
Atropine may cause certain side effects but is greatly reduced due to the lower concentration. Side effects can include sensitivity to light, blurry near vision, and dryness of the eyes. However, at the low concentrations used for myopia control, the occurrence of these side effects is generally reduced.