Myopia: The Silent Epidemic and Orthokeratology

Myopia: The Silent Epidemic and Orthokeratology


Now considered a major health epidemic, myopia has increased 66% in the United States since 1971 and is expected to afflict 50% of the world’s population by 2050.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, can be congenital but more frequently develops through early childhood. In fact, the younger a child starts, the more time it has to progress as they grow. Early detection through routine eye exams is the key to both the prevention and reduction of the potentially serious complications associated with myopia.

Nearsightedness (myopia) is a common vision condition diagnosed during a basic eye exam. For those who are nearsighted, objects that are farther away appear blurry. Myopia is caused both by genetics and environmental factors. For instance, prolonged near viewing tasks can lead to an eye that elongates over time — it is this elongation that leads to myopia. In fact, the longer the eye (a.k.a. axial length), the greater the chance of developing eye disease. These diseases include cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and glaucoma.

Optometrists can detect myopia during a routine examination, even in non-verbal patients, and enact a treatment plan to prevent further complications associated with myopia.

The recommended schedule of exams that should be followed: infants should have their first eye exam at age 6 months, then at age 3 and the yearly thereafter throughout their school years. Some of the symptoms of myopia include:

  • Squinting
  • Sitting close to watch TV
  • Holding books very close while reading
  • Excessive blinking
  • Frequent eye rubbing (this is dangerous as it can lead to keratoconus in susceptible individuals)
  • Poor academic achievement (learning is 80% vision-dependent)

Genetics can play a role in the multi-factorial causes of myopia. A child with parents that are both myopic/nearsighted has a 40% chance of developing myopia, East-Asian children are also more susceptible. Also, frequent near vision tasks and lack of outdoor activity also can play a role. Daily outdoor activity of 90 minutes a day can prevent the onset of myopia.

How Is Myopia Treated?

Imagine a world in which you could insert contact lenses before going to bed, and then wake up and remove the lenses, and enjoy the benefits of clear vision all day. You could eliminate the distortions and reflections from glasses and the hassle or discomfort that may be associated with traditional methods of vision correction. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, then Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) may be the solution for you.

CRT is more widely known as orthokeratology and has been utilized for decades.

Paragon CRT® contact lenses offer a much more natural vision because no lens is being worn during waking hours. This therapeutic contact lens gently reshapes the cornea while you sleep to correct your nearsightedness throughout the day. 

If you or your child have been diagnosed with nearsightedness (myopia), Paragon CRT® contact lenses offer a non-invasive and non-surgical treatment option. The first step is to schedule your child’s eye exam with Dr. Sciberras, who is a certified Paragon CRT contact lens professional, and he will determine if this safe and effective treatment is an option for your child.