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What are treatment options for myopia correction?

There are several treatment options that effectively correct blurred vision caused by myopia (shortsightedness). Primary among them are spectacles lenses, contact lenses and refractive surgery.

First, a few basic facts about myopia. Shortsightedness is a common refractive error that's characterised by blurry distance vision; near vision typically less affected by myopia.

Myopia is caused by the eyeball growing too long during childhood. This causes light that enters the eye to be focused too quickly — it comes to a focal point in front of the retina, (it falls short, thus the name), instead of directly on it. This focusing error is what causes blurry distance vision.

Treatment options for shortsightedness correction include:

  • Spectacles

  • Contact Lenses

  • Orthokeratology

  • LASIK and other vision correction surgery

Typically, myopia continues to progress during childhood and even through high school and early adult life. Glasses and contact lenses are the simplest treatment options while shortsightedness is still changing but may not help to slow its progression. 

Another option is orthokeratology (ortho-k). This is the fitting of specially designed contact lenses that reshape the cornea of the eye to temporarily correct mild to moderate myopia.

Ortho-k lenses are worn only at night during sleep. When the lenses are removed in the morning, the cornea maintains the shape required for clear vision during the day without corrective lenses. 

Ortho-k also has been shown to be effective in providing some level of myopia control.

In other words, even if orthokeratology is discontinued after several years, the amount of myopia that returns tends to be less severe than a person would be expected to have, had they worn spectacles or regular contact lenses as a child rather than wearing the ortho-k lenses.

Though many people aren't aware of orthokeratology as a treatment option for myopia, it's often a very good choice for individuals who don't want to wear corrective lenses during the day and are too young for LASIK or aren't good candidates for laser vision correction for other reasons.

Once myopia stabilises (usually after age 20), LASIK and other surgical vision correction procedures become treatment options for myopia correction as well.

If you or your child are shortsighted and it's been more than two years since your last eye exam, schedule one today with an optometrist near you.

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