We asked Dr. Lewis about Myopia Control in Vancouver and we will be publishing the answers to this over the next several weeks. Here's part 1.
What is Myopia? What is the progression?
Myopia, which is also referred to as being nearsighted, is a condition where images that are far away come into focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina. This causes distance vision blur. Myopia is often progressive. This means that children that are diagnosed with myopia often need stronger and stronger glasses or contact lenses over time.
What age does it begin and when does it stop progressing?
Myopia can begin at any age, but often it begins in childhood. Having two nearsighted parents makes a child 5 times as likely to become myopic themselves. Myopia progresses most rapidly during the teenage years and often into the 20s. Myopic progression usually slows down into the late 20s and 30s, but does not always completely stop.
Why is the progression of Myopia a health concern?
Research has shown that myopia significantly increases the likelihood of developing numerous eye health diseases. Myopic patients have a higher risk of developing glaucoma, retinal detachments, and myopic macular degeneration. The most severe forms of these diseases can lead to blindness.
At what age should you start controlling the progression of Myopia?
Myopic children should be seen annually because they can progress quickly. Early onset of myopia is correlated with higher degrees of myopia development. Higher myopia leads to higher risks of sight threatening disease, so myopia control measures should be considered at early ages. Ultimately, the decision of when to initiate myopia control measures is made on a case by case basis between the doctor, patient, and their parents/guardians.