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Childhood Myopia

 

What is Myopia?

Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a condition in which one sees blurry at a distance and clearer up close. This is due to an image focusing in front of the retina instead of right on the retina. Therefore, a myopic patient sees a blurred distant object.

 

What Causes Myopia?

The increase in myopia is partly due to the increase "near point" tasks, such as extensive reading and writing, watching television, using the computer, surfing the internet or playing video games and other up close activities.

The eyes of today's children have no time to relax. Some clinical evidence indicates that the constant eye stress from near work causes the ciliary muscle of the eye to pull too strong on the retina and causes the slow elongation of the eye.

 

Can anything slow or stop the progression of myopia?

Not surprisingly, almost half of our primary school children are nearsighted, and 60% of college graduates in the U.S. are myopic. The prevalence of myopia is even greater among Asian population. Myopia usually starts in childhood and gets progressively worse through adolescence. It normally stops increasing by late teens, but it can sometimes continue to get worse into mid-twenties.

But there's good news, childhood myopia control can be controlled through with orthokeratology. Recent research suggests Ortho-K may also reduce the lengthening of the eye itself, indicating that wearing Ortho-K lenses during childhood may actually cause a permanent reduction in myopia, even if the lenses are discontinued in adulthood.

In a 2005 landmark case study, Longitudinal Orthokeratology Research in Children (LORIC), conclusively showed nightwear Ortho-K lenses slowed down prescription increases in a large test group of children over a 2 year period. Most recently, the Corneal Reshaping and Yearly Observation of Nearsightedness done in the Ohio State University further confirmed Ortho-K's benefit of slowing down myopia. Preliminary results of this study showed an astounding 60% reduction of axial length growth among children who underwent Ortho-K myopia control program.

It is generally believed that it is important to start the myopia control program with ortho-k treatment as early as possible in children to ensure the lowest prescription throughout their lives.

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