Professor Padmaja Sankaridurg, B.Opt, MIP, PhD
The evidence for the rising prevalence of myopia and, therefore, its burden is irrefutable and substantial. In affected individuals, regular oversight is needed during the progression phase to restore visual acuity, and at higher levels of myopia, more frequent monitoring is required to detect and manage any associated complications.
Although the condition stabilizes in early adulthood, in late adulthood, there is potential to develop complications especially in those with high myopia.
A number of strategies, both optical and pharmaceutical, slow the progression of myopia in comparison to single-vision spectacles and contact lenses. Employed appropriately, they reduce the risk of the eye attaining higher levels of myopia. However, in spite of the advances in myopia management, to date, single-vision spectacles or contact lenses continue to remain the most frequently used approach to manage myopia1. Clearly the process of managing any clinical condition is a complex decision that requires a careful assessment of risks versus benefits. Several factors may be responsible for the low uptake of myopia control strategies such as lack of sufficient and long term data on efficacy or safety of a particular strategy, practitioner skill base for a strategy, access to product, patient motivation, cost, convenience and acceptance, stable myopia, age of the individual and so on. While deliberating on the risks versus benefits for the newer myopia control options, it is also timely to weigh the risks versus benefits of continuing with single vision products. In this respect, there is an ongoing debate in the community on whether the use of single vision soft contact lenses and/or spectacles accelerate the progression of myopia.