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Shedding Light on Myopia: Promoting Awareness and Control

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Welcome to Myopia Awareness Week! From May 22 to May 26, we join the global community in raising awareness about myopia, a common eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In this blog post, we will delve into the definition of myopia, its prevalence, and the risks it poses later in life. We will also share valuable tips on reducing the risk of myopia and its rapid progression. Moreover, we will shed light on the importance of myopia control and discuss the three mainstays of myopia control.

Understanding Myopia:

Myopia, often referred to as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that causes distant objects to appear blurry while nearby objects remain clear. This condition occurs when the eyeball is slightly longer than normal, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. Myopia can develop during childhood and may progressively worsen until early adulthood.

Prevalence and Risks:

The prevalence of myopia has been steadily increasing over the past few decades, making it a global concern.  It is estimated that nearly 30% of the world's population is affected by myopia, and this number is projected to rise to 50% by 2050.  Alongside the growing prevalence, myopia poses potential risks later in life.  Individuals with high myopia have an increased risk of developing glaucoma as well as retinal diseases, such as maculopathy and retinal detachments.  These conditions can lead to severe vision impairment and, if left untreated, may even result in blindness.

Reducing the Risk of Myopia:

While genetics play a role in the development of myopia, there are several lifestyle modifications that can help reduce the risk of myopia and slow down its progression:

  • Outdoor Time: Encourage children and adults to spend more time outdoors, as studies suggest that natural light and spending time in nature can help protect against myopia development.
  • Limit Screen Time: Excessive screen time, particularly during early childhood, has been associated with an increased risk of myopia. Encourage regular breaks and maintain a healthy distance from screens.
  • Eye-Friendly Habits: Encourage good reading posture, proper lighting, and regular eye breaks during activities that require prolonged near work, such as reading or using electronic devices.
The Importance of Myopia Control:

Myopia control aims to slow down the progression of myopia, reducing the risks associated with high myopia in later life. Early intervention and proper management can significantly impact the long-term ocular health of individuals.

    1. Spectacle Therapy: Prescription glasses with specially designed lenses can correct refractive errors and provide clear vision. Additionally, certain specialty lenses, such as Hoya's Miyosmart lenses, have been shown to slow down myopia progression by up to 60%.
    2. Contact Lenses:  There are two main options when it comes to utilizing contact lenses for myopia control, the first is orthokeratology (Ortho-K), these specially designed rigid contact lenses are worn overnight, gently reshaping the cornea. Upon waking, the lenses are removed, providing clear vision throughout the day. Ortho-K has been found to effectively slow down myopia progression.  The second option is a soft disposable contact lenses, such as the Acuvue Abiliti 1-day Lens, this innovative contact lens offers myopia management with unique built-in optics to assist with reducing eye elongation and the risk of myopic progression.
    3. Low-Dose Atropine Therapy: Low-dose atropine eye drops, when prescribed by an eye care professional, can help slow down the progression of myopia. This treatment is safe and has shown promising results in reducing the rate of myopia progression.

As the prevalence of myopia increases, it is important to stay informed about myopia and its potential risks.  By understanding the prevalence, risks, and methods of myopia control, we can take proactive steps to safeguard our eye health.  Remember to promote outdoor time, adopt healthy eye habits, and consult with eye care professionals for personalized myopia control solutions.  Together, we can raise awareness, protect our vision, and ensure a brighter future for generations to come.