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Slowing Down Myopia
Myopia, or near-sightedness, is a common form of refractive error that leads to blurry vision in the distance. It typically starts to develop in the early adolescent years and progresses throughout our early 20s. For years, the only treatment plan available was to prescribe stronger glasses and contact lenses. Year after year, patients with near-sightedness progressed and doctors prescribed stronger and stronger glasses. While it is easy to correct this progression with stronger glasses and contacts, the development of myopia is not without risk. As the eye becomes more myopic, it begins to stretch out and elongate, leading to an increased risk for developing retinal holes, tears, detachments, and blinding conditions such as Glaucoma!
Due to the recent development of myopia at younger and younger ages, many studies have been launched to look at viable options to slow down this progression, and protect the future of our children's vision. For a General reference on Myopia control, check out this great information link: http://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/myopia.htm
At North Shore Eye Health and Wellness, we primarily use a tried and true method, Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) sometimes called, Orthokeratology, to slow down the progression of myopia in children. Using this method, we fit a specialty contact lens mold on the cornea, to gently flatten the front surface of the eye -- like braces or a retainer! This lens is worn only at night while you sleep. In the morning, the mold is removed and you see 20/20 without glasses or contacts all day long.
This custom treatment is excellent for myopia control and can be fit at any age. Further, it can also be very useful as an alternative to LASIK and is great for active patients, athletes, and those who cannot wear contact lenses. For more information on Corneal Refractive Therapy, go to our CRT page, here!
Lastly, it is important to know that the science of Myopia control is relatively new. There are many ways that we are looking at to slow down myopia progression. The technology we use in our clinic, CRT, has demonstrated significant reduction in myopia progression through recent studies. For your reference we have included a few abstracts below:
“Stabilizing Myopia by Accelerated Reshaping Technique”
SMART, a five-year study initiated in 2009, is currently evaluating the effect of corneal reshaping on myopia progression in 138 patients. At one-year follow-up, subjects wearing corneal reshaping lenses exhibited a mean progression of 0.00D, compared to an average of 0.50D in the control group.
The SMART study revealed in 2011 at the Global Specialty Lens Symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada (GSLS), that both the test group and the control group of soft contact lens wearers had the same safety findings.
Source: Daniels K. Consider OrthoK for Myopia Control. Review of Optometry. 2012 July 15.
“Corneal Reshaping and Yearly Observation of Nearsightedness”
The Corneal Reshaping and Yearly Observation of Nearsightedness (CRAYON) study of two years confirmed that corneal reshaping can slow eye growth in myopic children after one year of treatment. Researchers also confirmed that patients who were fitted with corneal reshaping lenses experienced significantly less annual change in axial length and vitreous chamber depth than patients fitted with soft contact lenses.
Source: Walline JJ, Jones LA, Sinnott LT. Corneal reshaping and myopia progression. Br J Ophthalmol. 2009 Sep;93(9):1181-5.
“Children’s Overnight Orthokeratology Investigation”
In 2004, the results from the first report on corneal reshaping (Orthokeratology) for myopia control – the Children’s Overnight Orthokeratology Investigation (COOKI) pilot study – were published. COOKI researchers evaluated refractive error, visual changes and ocular health for six months in myopic children who were fit with overnight corneal reshaping lenses. The researchers determined that overnight corneal reshaping lenses were both a safe and effective treatment for curtailing myopia progression.
Source: Walline JJ, Rah MJ, Jones LA. The Children’s Overnight Orthokeratology Investigation (COOKI) pilot study. Optom Vis Sci. 2004 Jun;81(6):407-13.