Rising cases of nearsightedness: Treatments that can help slow the progression of myopia

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 3:56 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Cases of myopia--or nearsightedness--occurs in over 40-percent of the U.S. population. It affects 90-percent of teens and adults in Asia.

Now, researchers have some hope in treating the condition before it gets worse. Optometrist, doctor Sarah Burgett with Eye Surgeons Associates says experts are still unsure of the exact cause of of myopia, but the thinking is it’s a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

“What we find is that myopia has a tendency to run in families, so if mom or dad are myopic, then the children are more likely to be myopic as well. and we are spending more time in near activities than ever before, reading, on computers, looking at our smartphones and prolonged near activity can increase development of myopathy.”

She says the research now is showing that using either atropine drop treatment at bedtime or use of specialty contact lenses can help slow the progression of myopia in children. It’s important because as vision worsens, there is greater risk for other potentially vision-threatening eye diseases.

Parents can also help by encouraging outdoor play, where children use their distance vision. Research also shows that there’s some correlation between sunlight and slowing the progression of myopia.

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