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Myopia: Options for Near-Sightedness

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If someone had the magic cure for near-sightedness (myopia), it would be worth a fortune. I would love to have perfect vision again, the kind I had back in first grade when I passed the eye exam with unaided eyes. That was a once in a life time event for me. For the next six years, my vision deteriorated. I saw less and less of what was written on the chalkboard until my school system finally got around to giving us another eye exam, in seventh grade. I failed that one miserably, and got my first pair of glasses.

Ordinary glasses or contact lenses provide enough vision correction for millions of Americans, but these options are not satisfactory for everyone. A recent article in the medical literature reports that the highly myopic eye is considered vulnerable to a range of visual problems. With age, most of us lose some visual acuity, so we need to keep as much as we can of what we have.

Refractive surgery is growing in popularity for vision correction. Technological advances continue to be tested. In addition, some researchers are exploring drug options to slow the progress of myopia.

There are currently 155 clinical trials in progress for myopia treatment. These include lens options, laser surgery advances, and drugs. Here are some of the research programs listed at clinicaltrials.gov:
1. Bifocal contact lenses. Early versions are already on the market.
2. MEL 80 laser for high myopic treatment. This is a possible improvement in the laser equipment.
3. NeuroVision's NVC visual stimulation system. This appears to be an eye exercise program.
4. Cyclopentolate eye drops for kindergarten children. These dilate the pupils and are generally used for eye exams.
5. PRK plus mitomycin. This is an enhancement to the original photorefractive keratectomy (not LASIK) laser eye surgery.
6. 7-methylxanthine. This drug slows the progression of myopia in animal models.
7. Atropine eye drops.
8. Intravitreal bevacizumab, alone or with photodynamic therapy. This is a treatment for neovascularization which may accompany myopia.
9. Intravitreal ranibizumab. Another drug for neovascularization.

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As a fellow nearsighted person, I want to say thanks for this post. It's good to know that so many options and possibilities are being studied. I too have balanced contacts and glasses since 7th grade, and now that I'm in middle age, am considering laser surgery. But the options for farsightedness seem so much greater! Any idea why this is so?

March 25, 2010 - 8:17am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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