The “myopia epidemic.” Yes, you read that right.
Myopia (nearsightedness) has become an increasingly prominent issue in the past few decades. It is predicted that one-third of the world’s population, a staggering 2.5 billion people, will be nearsighted by 2020.
People with myopia experience elongated growth of the eye, which causes light rays to focus in front of the retina located at the back of the eye, rather than directly on it. Consequently, a blurred image is formed especially at far distances.
What Can Cause Myopia to Worsen?
While myopia is partially due to genetics, heredity cannot account for the whole story. You may have heard of the dichotomy between nature vs. nurture. As is true for many things, myopia is the result of nature AND nurture. Environmental effects and society’s ever-changing lifestyle also come into play.
So what environmental factors could be the cause of the myopia epidemic? Could it be watching too much television? Playing too many video games? Spending hours upon hours on social media?
While possible, the relationship might be more correlative than causative..
Researchers have found that the development of myopia is actually connected to the sun and natural light. Studies conducted in countries like the United States, China, and Australia have shown that children who spend more time outside in the sun are less likely to develop myopia than those who spend less time outside. Don’t worry though, parents; this does not mean that children should spend time playing outside instead of studying indoors.).
Alternative Solution To The Myopia Epidemic
Unfortunately, there is no outright cure for myopia, but there are different treatments that can slow the progression of nearsightedness. While many people with myopia believe that their only options are glasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery, there is another option – orthokeratology!
At our office, we employ the use of unique retainer lenses that non-invasively reshape the cornea while you sleep. While this may sound a bit scary, it is safe for patients of all ages!
Orthokeratology is reversible, allowing the cornea to readjust itself to its original shape when the lenses are not worn; in a way, these lenses are like retainers, but for your eyes, with each lens made specifically for your eyes. Fortunately, the change of the cornea is so slow that during the day, you are able to see clearly without any visual aid! Furthermore, it is not necessary that you have worn any type of contact lens before. You can easily be taught how to insert and remove orthokeratology lenses and how to properly care for them.
Because the eye grows throughout childhood, children are especially good candidates for orthokeratology. Imagine how great it would be if your child could see 20/20 without glasses or contact lenses. No more worrying about losing a frame, breaking a lens, or not properly caring for soft contact lenses. School and activities like sports become hassle-free. Let’s not forget that in addition to being more convenient, orthokeratology is also actually very beneficial to your child’s eye health as well. By slowing the progression of myopia and the elongation of the eye, your child will be at lower risk for retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma, and even blindness.
If you or anyone you know is myopic, be sure to ask our optometrists Dr. Thanh Mai and Dr. Valerie Lam about orthokeratology! Although the lenses work their magic while you sleep at night, the real difference will be your clear vision during the day.
Where is Insight Vision Center Optometry?
Serving the communities of Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach, Tustin, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, and Fountain Valley. Schedule a visit with Dr. Valerie Lam or Dr. Thanh Mai to learn more. Our optometry practice is located in Costa Mesa at 3151 Airway Ave. Suite J2, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.