Treat myopia as a disease, speakers say

NEW YORK – Myopia is a disease, two speakers here at Vision Expo East said, and myopia progression should be managed
“It’s not just refractive error,” S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO, told attendees during the Global Contact Lens Forum. “There’s a greater risk for a host of ocular health problems –glaucoma, retinal detachment, earlier cataract development and development of myopic macular degeneration. It’s the leading cause of visual impairment for many countries.”
Myopic macular degeneration is the seventh leading cause of blindness in U.S., he added.

The incidence of myopia has dramatically increased, Eiden said, and is currently more than 50% of the U.S. population. Some countries, such as South Korea and China, are nearing an incidence of 100%.
The Brien Holden Vision Institute estimates that in 2020 there will be 2.5 billion myopes in the world, he said.
“It’s a lifetime economic burden,” Eiden continued, “with glasses and contacts, treatment of secondary diseases, reduced quality of life and reduced productivity.”
“When I started practice, [the cause of myopia] was genetic or due to a near environment,” Jeffrey Cooper, MS, OD, FAAO, said. “It was one or the other. Early experimentation showed that (in animals), if the eye was occluded, the axial length grew.
Animal models showed you could change the axial length by putting certain lenses on the eyes. The peripheral portion was found to regulate growth.”
Studies are showing that outside exposure reduces the development of myopia, he said.
“However, once you’re myopic it has no effect,” Cooper said. “If you have someone with two parents who are myopic and they’re young and not myopic, get that kid outside.”…..
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Source: Healio