Short-sightedness, or myopia, is a common threat to modern eyes. Often developed throughout childhood, myopia is a frequent cause of impaired vision and now, with our eyes now glued to digital screens as part of modern-day life, its frequency is increasing too.
Myopia is now a global issue and a challenge that has accelerated at an alarming rate over the past 50 years, and according to the World Health Organization, it now stands to affect 1.89 billion people worldwide. In the UK alone, it’s documented that three in ten people are short-sighted – a number that continues to grow and will leave a lasting impact on the population’s vision.
Of all the myopia approximations, there’s one that stands out. It’s now estimated that almost five billion people will be myopic by the year 2050. This means that in less than 30 years, half of the global population will be myopic.
When suffering from myopia, light that enters the eye doesn’t focus correctly which causes blurred distance vision. Typically, this is because the eyeball is too long, the corneal curvature is too high, or a combination of these factors. The condition, which can begin in children aged 6-13, causes distant objects to appear blurry and can rapidly advance throughout the teenage years of a patient while the eye is still growing.
At surface level, to some, short-sightedness may seem like nothing more than an inconvenience. In reality, the impact of myopia can fluctuate from mild to severe and differ from patient to patient. In the first instance, if not treated correctly, myopia can lead to complications such as eye strain which in turn can lead to a reduced quality of life. More severe or progressive cases can expose a patient to an increased risk of eye diseases including retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataracts, and eventually sight loss.
Aside from the degenerative nature of myopia, the condition undoubtedly affects other areas too. With cases becoming more prevalent in children, we should ask, is uncorrected myopia threatening childhood development? Take a classroom environment for example. A pupil suffering from short-sightedness may have difficulty viewing the whiteboard or smart screen at the front of the class, with blurred distance vision causing eyestrain and headaches, and eventually leaving the child to disengage from the learning process. This poses far-reaching consequences to both the child and our future population as a whole.
The dilemma of the situation is made more apparent when we consider the reasons behind the advancing growth of myopia. Studies have shown our digitally-led routines may be a driving factor, with the rise of near-sighted activities such as tablet and smartphone usage having a direct impact on our vision.
So, as our modern lifestyle habits continue, so too will the growth of myopia – highlighting that the challenge may only increase until there’s a fixed solution. Until now, there has been little evidence that a widely effective, non-invasive myopia management method exists.
For some time, the growing threat of myopia has left many researchers and practitioners searching for methods that can help slow down its effects. Research has found that ‘lifestyle’ changes can aid treatment, such as recommending increased time spent outdoors, good lighting and taking regular breaks from digital devices, and intensive near-work activities. While these suggestions do help, is this truly enough to help mitigate the progression of myopia?
With that in mind, meticulous studies and clinical trials have been conducted over the past few years, as the industry has strived for a developed myopia management treatment. Until recently, multifocal spectacle solutions have delivered mixed results. However, a recent two-year randomized control clinical trial conducted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has highlighted the MiYOSMART spectacle lens as a clinically proven method to slow down myopia progression by 60% in comparison to regular SV lenses.
The new method makes use of Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segments (D.I.M.S.) Technology and the lens itself incorporates a 9.4mm central hexagonal zone and a 33mm mid-peripheral treatment or defocus zone consisting of defocus segments of 3.50D power, arranged in a honeycomb structure. The lens is highly effective at creating myopic defocus in the eye, whilst preserving visual acuity and contrast when the user is looking through the defocus zone – and these results offer a potentially key foothold in the fight against the condition.
With this intervention, optical practitioners now have the ability to provide a more effective treatment method for myopia management. Evidence shows the progression of myopia can be managed and if this effective treatment is used and paired with more ‘manual’ methods, the effects of modern lifestyles on our eyes can be reduced to a level where those once alarming myopia predictions begin to dwindle.
We are now facing a challenge to preserve our vision and the estimations on myopia show we’re on course to face a future epidemic. But as we’re now beginning to see, modern myopia management methods are readily available, and by adopting them, myopia progression can be slowed more than ever before – but we must act now.
How HOYA LENS can Help.
HOYA is a leader in innovative eye care solutions. As experts in vision care, HOYA LENS UK are looking to reduce myopia progression in children by 60 percent with the new MiYOSMART spectacle lens – an effective, non-invasive myopia management method with award-winning D.I.M.S. Technology. Find out more on MiYOSMART here: https://www.hoyavision.com/uk/discover-products/eye-care-professionals/special-lenses/ecp-myopia-management/
About HOYA Vison Care
Driven by innovation and a passion for vision, HOYA has been a partner to Eye Care Professionals for over 75 years. Throughout this time, HOYA has continued to provide eyeglasses, intraocular lenses, and optical lenses with leading brands including Lens Product of the Year 2020 – Hoyalux iD MYSELF, EnRoute, and SYNC III. Today, with over 150 offices and subsidiaries worldwide, HOYA, through innovative lens and coating solutions and educational and strategic frameworks, continues to support independent opticians globally.