Why Bother ??
Short-sightedness is not just ‘an inconvenient physiological variance’ of the human condition – it is PERMANENTLY HARMFUL and puts people on the BLIND PENSION in Australia, despite all the efforts of laser/surgery/ etc.
2012 – USA Police statistics for 17 year-olds getting their driving license – 40% could not pass the eye test (6/12 with both eye open together) without some form of spectacle or contact lens for myopia.
THIS IS DOUBLE the rate from 30 years earlier !!
Every society on Earth with access to lots of education, computers, game consoles, i-stuff, tablets and the like, myopia is occurring in increasing numbers, even in family trees with no previous occurrence.
It’s an EPIDEMIC !
Particularly worrisome are the rates in Asian gene-pools, where degrees of -10 Dioptres and more are common-place. Anatomically, the shape of the front sections of the eye, the cornea, iris and lens are almost never responsible for myopia. The abnormal elongation growth of the outer coat, the sclera or white of the eye is the guilty element, taking the retina further back, away from the focus point of light from a distant object.
The usual ‘finished adult size’ of the human eye = 24.3 mm front-to-back, for the focus of the eye to be normal. The eye grows at the same rate for both genders; most eyes finish their expansion and growth by the mid-to-late 20’s. Obviously the younger in a person’s life that they exceed this 24.3 mm, the more years that person will have for the excessive growth to continue, resulting in high degree of short sightedness. 1 mm of excessive growth is approx. -7.00 Dioptres of spectacle.
Options for myopes available through Ernie Hawes Personalised Optometry are:
1. Ignore the problem, buy specs or contacts now, let the eyes get worse. In children, once they are over 25 years old he/she can consider Lasik-types of surgery at their own expense and risk. Obviously the life-long risks of BLINDNESS are still present. Lasik has a few ‘down-sides’ of its own, as Australian surgeons will clearly explain before undertaking the procedure.
2. Bifocal spectacles / Multifocal spectacles have a 100 + year track record of slowing some people by about 20%, with most people continuing to get worse at the same rate as if they’d been given no ‘treatment’ at all. There is no way to predict who will get any slow-down at all.
3. Atropine eyedrops. This muscle-relaxant medicine in 1% strength dilates and paralyses the pupil, but does seem to stop myopia progression. Atropine can cause unacceptable levels of glare and UV damage from our environment, but 0.01% dosage, one drop per day has far less unwanted side-effects and does slow myopia growth by 30%, especially in the pre-teen age-group. These drops must be individually formulated in North Perth, stored in the fridge, bottle must be tossed after 90 days.
4. Peripheral defocus spectacles or contact lenses. The central part of the eye must be in focus to see the black/white-board, street-signs, etc, but the peripheral vision seems to control myopia growth. This can be influenced with either disposable contacts or Zeiss Myo spectacle lenses, with approx. 30% rate of slowing the -0.50 D per year rate.
5. Ortho-K the overnight rigid contact lens which imprints a flattened shape to the eye surface centrally. This concept was invented as a leisure product so that myopes could enjoy their sports etc without wearing any optical device when awake, as the lens did its work when asleep. By the mid 1990’s it was apparent that it was drastically slowing, usually halting completely the increase of myopia. Over the age of 12, 80% of myopes STOP, the others advance at 50% slower rate. Under the age of 12, Ortho-K lenses are usually combined with the 0.01% atropine eyedrop. These lenses must be cared for, cleaned and disinfected, replaced every 2 years, but are currently the best way of slowing further eye growth.