What are the risks associated with myopia? How is myopia corrected? How can the progression of myopia be prevented?
Myopia is a refractive defect that causes difficulty to see distant objects clearly. From Institut de la Màcula our coordinator of clinical and optometrist trials, Miriam Garcia, analyses the risks associated with myopia, how it is corrected and how the myopia progression can be predicted
What are the risks associated with myopia?
In myopia, it is important to properly monitor the back of the eye in short-sighted patients to prevent possible associated complications. The increase in axial length, can trigger complications such as:
- Detached retina
- Myopic macular degeneration
- Choroidal neovascularisation
- Ocular motility disorders
How is myopia corrected?
There are various ways of correcting myopia which can be classified as temporary or permanent.
- Contact lenses
How can the progression of myopia be prevented?
In contrast to what used to be said some years ago, studies show that the proper correction of myopia is necessary to control its progression. The importance of halting the progression of myopia lies in the fact that an increase in the axial length causes deterioration of the retina and, with it, a series of associated disorders.
Due to the epidemic of myopia in Asia in particular, and in urbanised areas in general, research is focusing on finding out why this is happening and how we can halt its progression.
The most effective methods for controlling myopia today are:
- Atropine. This is a drug administered in the form of eye drops. Its protective effects against the progression of myopia have been known for years, but the adverse effects were very unpleasant (photophobia, difficulty in reading, etc.).
Clinical trials are being carried out to find the minimum effective dose with the fewest adverse effects, with hopeful results.
- Ortho-K. Inverse orthokeratology lenses are designed to temporarily model the cornea during the night, allowing good vision during the day. The mechanical action of the lens on the eye can reduce the increase in its axial length, reducing the progression of the myopia.
- Peripheral defocus lenses. These are hydrogel contact lenses based on the theory that defocusing the periphery of a short-sighted eye stops it becoming worse, preventing the elongation of the ocular globe and therefore any increase in the number of dioptres.
- More time in the open air. Various studies have looked at the protective role that an increase in time in the open air has on preventing the onset of myopia.
A systematic review and meta-analysis carried out by researchers from the Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Center and the Brien Holden Vision Institute analysed 25 recently published studies and found that an increase in time spent in the open air was effective in preventing the onset of myopia. An increase of 1.25 hours/day in the open air reduced the risk of the onset of myopia by 50%.
Author: Míriam Garcia
Miriam Garcia, coordinator of clinical and optometrist trials of the Institut de la Màcula, also explains what myopia is, who is affected by and what causes myopia in a previous article.