What is Myopia?

Myopia What is it?
What is Myopia?

Are your children short-sighted?
> > >The modern epidemic of Myopia.

Myopia, near-sightedness or short-sightedness, is characterised by blurred vision at far, and is normally caused by a longer than normal eyeball. This increase in length is very small, in thousands of millimetres or microns.

The eyeball normally grows in length as a child grows taller, and especially during puberty. But if it grows too long, then the eye cannot focus at the far distance.

There have always been myopic people, so why is it a problem now? Because of extended time spent at the near distance (since computers arrived), the eye has to work harder in order to maintain focus at near. This costs energy, so as an adaptation, the eye becomes more myopic so that it can now focus at near in a more economical way.  But with increased myopia, the eye is at greater risk for diseases later in the long term.
[Research shows that every 1.00D increase in myopia increases lifetime risk of maculopathy by 67%. There is also a greater risk of cataract & retinal detachment].

It is estimated that half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.

And it’s not environmental factors alone; if one parent is myopic then the child is six times more likely to also be myopic. If both parents are, then the probability jumps to twelve times more likely.

Fortunately we have the means to manage the myopia. Myopia management can significantly slow down the progression of myopia during puberty, and in many cases stops it altogether. These methods are all safe and have other benefits too.

The success of any myopia management program depends on parents making sure their children are tested once a year regardless if they are myopic or not. And school screenings aren’t enough, they need a thorough exam at the optometrist’s rooms.

There are guidelines for screen & sunlight exposure which will be covered in the next article, as well as special contact lenses that are worn overnight (Ortho-K), which all yield excellent results.

Look out for the next article titled Myopia Management-The How.

Myopia Management Part 2 – THE HOW

Optometrist Paul Moldovanos, Myopia
Myopia Control Article by Paul Moldovanos Optometrist

As promised:


In the first article which introduces Myopia Management (also called Myopia Control), we discussed what myopia is and why the need to manage or control it.  In that article, an increase in myopia or short-sightedness, was equated to an increase in the length of the eyeball from front to back. It makes sense therefore, that controlling this deterioration must involve slowing down (or stopping) the eye from growing longer.
And that’s exactly what we do. We don’t stop it in an active or forceful way, rather we take away the reasons for it to want to grow longer.

Going back to the first article again, you will read that if we focus at near for too long, the eye uses a lot of energy, and so by becoming more myopic (by making the eye grow longer), allows the eye to focus at near without using as much energy.

Research has shown that of all the methods available to manage myopia, Orthokeratology overnight lenses (Ortho-K), is the most effective by a significant margin. Ortho-K involves wearing a special contact lens that is custom designed & manufactured for each individual eye, while you sleep. The lens exerts a gentle pressure which moulds the eye into a particular shape that does two things: in the medium to long term, it significantly slows down the progression of myopia by slowing down the rate by which the eye grows. And in the short term it corrects the myopia so that the wearer can see clearly all day without having to wear specs or contact lenses.  A safe alternative to LASIK.

For more information on Ortho-K, see our website www.paulmoldovanos.co.za

There are also ways to reduce eye-strain, like taking regular breaks, switching screens off 2 hours before bedtime and many more. These are are discussed during a normal eye exam appointment, and apply to adults & young people alike.