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Featured Health & Fitness July 23, 2018

Myopia Management | Controlling the Epidemic | Mortimer Hirst

Is your prescription increasing every year?
Are you tired of wearing glasses?
Do you want to be glasses and contact lens free during the day?

 

Specialised methods are available at Mortimer Hirst for correcting and slowing the progression of myopia (short-sightedness).

 

What is Myopia?

Myopia, or ‘short-sightedness’, is a condition that most people consider inconvenient rather than sight-threatening. Often arising in adolescent years, myopia is noticed as the blurring of far away objects such as the whiteboard or street signs. The eyeball is too long in myopia, and your optometrist may prescribe glasses or contact lenses to achieve clear vision.

 

Why do Individuals get Myopia?

Anyone can become short-sighted. There are of course some main risk factors including genetics; those with two short-sighted parents are several times more likely to develop myopia than those with none. Possibly the most worrying risk factor is near work and lack of time spent outdoors in natural light, a common occurrence among children in today’s digital age.   

 

Why Worry About Myopia?

Myopia is reaching a global epidemic. As the eyeball grows, the risk of associated sight-threatening conditions increases. Conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachments are more common in those with any level of myopia, and significantly more so in those with uncontrolled higher levels.

 

What can be done to reduce this potentially sight-threatening condition?

Traditional glasses and contact lenses create clear vision, however they do not slow the progression of myopia on their own. Fortunately, over more recent years, a number of methods to slow the progression have been developed, including glasses, contact lenses and eye drops, or in some instances, combinations of these. 

The optometrists at Mortimer Hirst have vast experience in each of these areas of myopia management at both an evidence based clinical and research level. They utilise the most up to date, innovative methods for myopia control, and are constantly expanding and adapting their knowledge base in this area. All myopia control patients are monitored very closely, and treatments are designed specifically for each patient. 

 

Overnight Orthokeratology:

OrthoK provides clear vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses during waking hours. It also helps to slow the progression of myopia, so is often a safe and convenient method for children and teenagers. Adults can wear OrthoK lenses too, for a variety of prescriptions. Specially designed contact lenses are worn only during sleeping hours where they temporarily reshape the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye). Precise measurements using the latest instruments and software can be performed by your Mortimer Hirst optometrist, which are used to calculate the exact lens suitable for the shape and prescription of your unique eye. The specific design of these lenses allows a ‘myopia control’ ring to be shaped into the cornea. Contact Mortimer Hirst if you are interested in seeing if you may be a suitable OrthoK candidate, or visit orthok.co.nz for further information.

 

Dual Focus Soft Contact Lenses:

Some patients may not qualify for Ortho-K, however still wish to wear contact lenses. Myopia control ‘dual focus’ soft daily wear contact lenses are available at Mortimer Hirst. Like traditional soft contact lenses, these provide clear vision, however they are modified to create a ‘myopia control’ effect. Research has suggested that these are as effective in controlling myopia as Ortho-K. 

 

Low Dose Atropine Eye Drops:

Some patients may not be suitable or ready for contact lens wear, or may prefer to wear glasses. Low dose atropine eye drops in combination with glasses may help to slow the progression of myopia, used once a day usually near bedtime. These can be prescribed by your therapeutically qualified optometrist at Mortimer Hirst. Atropine eye drops may also be used as an additional level of control to the other therapies. They are very effective in slowing the progression of myopia, and as they are only used at very low doses, they are safe.

Mortimer Hirst is dedicated to providing tailored myopia control options and reducing the prevalence of this condition one patient at a time.

 


Words: Oliver Munro, Optometrist & Contact Lens Specialist
mortimerhirst.co.nz

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