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Putting the Brakes On Myopia

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Myopia, also called near-sightedness, is a common vision impairment which causes far away objects to appear blurry and out of focus.  It currently affects about 30% of the world’s population.  By 2050, it is  estimated that it will affect 50% of the world’s population.   In the past, we have had something called “single vision” glasses and contact lens options to compensate for people’s myopia.  These have done a good job providing clear vision, but the myopia often progresses a significant amount throughout childhood.  I experienced this progressive myopia firsthand during my childhood.  I started wearing glasses around age 11 and had a glasses prescription of about -1.00 diopters.  By the time I was in my early 20s I had a glasses prescription of about -5.50 diopters.  Higher amounts of myopia not only create blurrier vision and the need for stronger/thicker glasses, but also increase the risk for certain types of eye conditions like myopic maculopathy, retinal detachment, cataract, and glaucoma.  The good news is that we now have “myopia control” glasses and contact lens options that are designed to slow down the progression of myopia.  If you have a child with myopia we can discuss these options at their next visit.  In the mean time, try to get your kids outdoors often.  Research has shown that time spent outdoors is one of the best myopia prevention strategies.  


Check out this myopia simulator to get a better understanding of the degrees of myopia and the associated risk factors:


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