What Is The Best Treatment For Nearsightedness & What Is Its Prognosis?
Nearsightedness is also known as myopia and it is the most common eye disorder. In this condition, the rays of light are focused in front of the retina during refraction and as a result, people have difficulty in seeing objects that are distant. According to studies, the prevalence of nearsightedness is increasing to more than 70% of the children aged 12 to 15 years. Myopia (severe or high grade) is also one of the leading causes of blindness. The people with nearsightedness have longer axial lengths along with the thinner lens, flatter corneas and deeper vitreous chambers as compared to a normal eye structure.(1)
What Is The Best Treatment For Nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness should be controlled in the early stages to prevent the progression and worsening of the eyesight. The best treatment options include the use of spectacles, contact eye lenses and pharmaceutical drugs to control the progression of the condition. Atropine is a medication that is commonly used to dilate the pupil for some time and paralyze the accommodation that leads to complete relaxation of the eyes. It is only temporary with short term results and the effect only lasts for about 7 to 10 days. It is effective only during the initial years of treatment but later other methods have to be tried to correct the disorder. It is also used to relieve the pain caused due to uveitis. However, there can be certain drawbacks of this medication that include sensitivity to light (due to prolonged dilatation of the pupil) and blurring of the near objects. It further necessitates the use of other glasses or bifocals to treat the focusing ability of the eye for the near objects as well.(2)
The other treatment option is orthokeratology where a specially designed contact lens is worn that is permeable to gas. It is to be worn at night so that it corrects the vision deformities temporarily and the need to wear glasses and contact lenses in the morning is not necessary during working hours. Some ophthalmologists also use ortho-k lenses to control the progression of nearsightedness in children. The use of these lenses has shown to control nearsightedness from progressing. They are also known as corneal reshaping lenses or corneal refractive therapy lenses.(2)
What Is The Prognosis For Nearsightedness?
It is best to identify the condition early to effectively control it and prevent it from progressing. Nearsightedness usually develops in the early adolescent years and then goes on to progress later. In most cases initially, the treatment works but later on ceases to be clinically effective. The possible solution for this problem is to switch from one treatment to another when the first one is no longer helpful in halting the progression of nearsightedness. The ophthalmologist can also combine treatments for better results. Different people also respond to different treatments. Therefore it becomes important to correctly diagnose the refractive error, power of accommodation, oculomotor behavior and co-morbidities that might be present. The next step is to plan the most effective plan for treatment. If a treatment slows the progression for a substantial period of time (one or more than a year) with minimal or no side effects then the treatment should be continued.(1)
It is also important to follow the treatment regime strictly even after the therapy has started to show benefits. The children who are at high risk of developing nearsightedness should be tested early for any changes in the eyesight and start treatment early. These include children who have a history of nearsightedness in both their parents. Some studies also show that outdoor activities have shown to be beneficial in treating nearsightedness. The clinical trials evaluating such possibility of therapy are yet to be conducted.(1)