+ how to control it

What is myopia?

Myopia (short-sightedness) causes far distance objects to appear blurry, while near objects remain clear. Some children are born with myopia, but for most kids it emerges around the age of 8-12yrs. It is usually caused by the eye growing too long.
Myopia can progress very quickly in some children, and the spooky thing is, that its not expected to stop changing until the age of 26yrs. Therefore, even a slow rate of change, over many years, can result in high degrees of myopia.
The exact cause of the emergence of myopia, and its progression, are not well proven but it is a combination of genetic, growth and environmental factors; e.g. prolonged intense near work is a known contributor to the changes.        
Unfortunately, the more the degree of Myopia blur increases, the greater the risk for sight threatening conditions such as; Myopic Macular Degeneration, Cataract, Glaucoma, Retinal holes and Retinal Detachments.
This is the reason for Myopia Control for our young people, So we stop them getting these conditions in later life.

Signs & Symptoms

If you are Myopic or Short-sighted, your typical symptom is difficulty reading road signs and seeing distant objects or peoples faces clearly, but you will be able to see well for tasks such as reading and computer use.

Other signs and symptoms of myopia include squinting, eye strain and headaches. Feeling fatigued when driving or playing sports also can be a symptom of uncorrected nearsightedness.

If you experience these signs or symptoms while wearing your glasses or contact lenses, give us a call to arrange a comprehensive eye examination with your Local Shattky Optometrist to work out what your problem really is.

An eye test chart
A mother and child in an eye examination

Myopia Control

Myopia is a disease that needs to be managed. In years gone by Optometrists simply corrected the focus with glasses with no mind to stop the Myopia from getting worse. 'Myopia Control' is critical for our young peoples eyes Now, and their Future eye health.
That's something we specailise here at Shattky Optometrists.

Although the Myopic blur can be focused with; correcting glasses, contact lenses or a refractive surgery, when it comes to Controlling Myopia for our 5 year old kids thru to our young 25 year old adults it requires different techniques from the main stream Optometry offer, of just glasses to most patients.

  • Night time Myopia treatment with Orthokeratology (Ortho K) has been
    proven to Correct and Control Myopia from -1.00 Dioptres up to -7 Dioptres of Myopic blur. At Shattkys we have been using this treatment since 2009.
    Ortho K lenses are a specialty type of contact lenses worn on the eye at night time. They gently reshape the surface of the eye while you sleep and allow clear vision through your waking hours. It also gives the brains visual system the message to slow or halt the elongation of the eye. It is the elongation of the eye that is the progression of the Myopic blurriness.
  • Day time Myopia Control Contacts lenses can achieve a similar result to Ortho K but require to be worn the whole waking day to be effective.
    Misight daily disposable soft contact lenses from Coopervision are designed with a material for comfortable wear for kids and low stress for Mums and Dads.
Misight daily disposable soft contact lenses from Coopervision

These are excellent alternatives for our young developing Myopic patients to liberate them from Spectacles. Remembering that Surgery is simply not an option for under 21s.

  • Day time Spectacle correction of Myopia does not give the message to control the Myopia getting worse. Depending on the degree of your myopia, different options will be more or less suitable for you or your child.
    Ask us about the many Good choices for spectacle lenses for Myopia, the technology continues to advance and improve the spectacle wearers vision and function.

Some times a prescription needs high-index lenses (for thinner, lighter glasses), or anti-reflective coating to minimize reflections, glare, and dust on your glasses, perhaps changing tint (photo-chromatic) lenses are suitable which protect your eyes from UV and high-energy blue light and to reduce your need for a separate pair of prescription sunglasses outdoors. The many choices and strategies we can offer our spectacle wearers for Myopia is what makes the experience at Shattkys different.

  • Refractive surgery can reduce or even eliminate your need for glasses or contacts for several sometimes many years, however no-one can escape spectacles for everything, forever.
  • For the high prescriptions not suitable for LASIK surgery there is the option of Implantable lenses known as Phakic IOLs, particularly for individuals with high amounts of myopia or thinner-than-normal corneas.

We can assess your eyes suitability for these treatments with a comprehensive eye examination,

Just ask for an appointment! 

Atropine Ophthalmic Therapy for Myopia Control

What is Myopia Control?

Myopia control describes techniques to slow the progression (worsening) of myopia over time.There are a number of options we recommend to slow the progression; Visual Hygiene, bifocal spectacles, OrthoKeratology and Atropine Therapy.

Why attempt to control the Myopia progression?

Myopic Macular Degeneration is damage to the back surface of the eye following uncontrolled eye growth and is the fourth most common cause of vision loss.   (The other three common causes are Age Related Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy)

High levels of short sightedness increase the risk of Cataract, Glaucoma and Retinal Detachment.

The Blue Mountains Eye Study (Australia) concluded that while low myopia (less than 5.00D) presents with a very low risk of Myopic Maculopathy,  this risk climbs significantly to1 in 4 for those with moderate myopia, and to even greater risk (1 in 2) for high levels (over 9.00D) of myopia.

The risk of retinal detachment is 2.2x higher in individuals with mild myopia compared to individuals without myopia. This risk rises to 9.7x greater than normal with higher levels of myopia.

Glaucoma data from the Blue Mountains study shows increasing odds for increasing myopia and a similar association was found with cataract development.

The concept of Preventative Medicine

Medical practices that are designed to avert and avoid disease are called Preventative Medicine. For example, screening for hypertension and treating it before it causes disease is good preventive medicine. Preventive medicine is a proactive approach to patient care.

We feel that Myopia Control fits well with the concept of preventative medicine;  it reduces the progression of myopia thereby reducing the eye health risks associated with higher levels of myopia.

What is Atropine?

Atropine is a very well known drug that has been used for thousands of years. It is sometimes referred to as Belladonna. When used as an eye drop in low concentrations ( 0.4% to 1%) it dilates the pupil and inhibits accommodation. As such it has been used as therapy for Glaucoma, Uveitis, Iritis and Amblyopia.
Known side effects at these concentrations, are photophobia and blurred vision. In rare instances can cause increased heart rate, flushing of the skin, dry mouth and confusion.

Low Dose Atropine as a therapy for myopia control

The use of Atropine in slowing down the progression of myopia was reported in the 19th century.The effectiveness of Atropine for myopia control has been documented in research literature.Low dose Atropine eye drops (0.01%) are a new treatment used for myopia control.
Recent research has proven that Atropine at a lower concentration (0.01% instead of 1.0%) is effective in reducing the rate of myopia progression. This lower concentration has a much lower likelihood of side effects, and is well tolerated by patients.Since the reduced concentration of Atropine is not commercially available it will not be available from a standard pharmacy, it needs to be formulated by 1 of 2 New Zealand pharmacies Auckland or Christchurch.

What is the process for beginning Atropine Ophthalmic Therapy?

First Year:
Initial consultation and assessment to commence treatment.All visits required for an optimal therapeutic effect.All professional services involved in monitoring the visual response ensuring optimal eye health response to the Atropine drops for ONE YEAR (12 months) following the initial eye exam.The treatment protocol includes visits at one month, three months, and six months following the initiation of therapy. However, other visits related to atropine therapy may be needed and are also included in the program fee.All diagnostic testing involved in measuring for objective and subjective responses to therapy or detection of symptoms associated with potential side effects from the medication.Discount on any prescription and non-prescription eyewear including sunglasses
    10% on prescription eyewear
    20% on non-prescription sunglasses (not including our package deals)

Atropine Therapy Program for the first year Fee: $550
Atropine Therapy first year when in conjunction with Orthokeratology Fee: $175

Paid at the Annual Consultation and dispensing of first prescription of that year.This covers the Comprehensive routine annual consultation and the 6 month visit as well as any other scheduled or unscheduled visits pertaining to Atropine Therapy during the maintenance year and ongoing repeat prescriptions for Atropine 0.01% eye drops.It also includes the atropine discount on any prescription and non-prescription eyewear including sunglasses  
         10% on prescription eyewear
         20% on non-prescription sunglasses (not including our package deals)

Atropine Therapy Maintenance Program Fees: $250 per year after the first year

Year One and Future Years Maintenance Program Fees do not include:
.The cost of the medication which is determined by the supplying compounding pharmacy.
The material cost of a Glasses / Contact lenses / or Contact lens evaluation if performed.

Come in and see us

Kiwi's know that good things take time, so come to us, have the tests done without feeling that you have been "rushed thru", and you'll know what we mean when we say "we take the time!"

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