Orthokeratology, Topical Medications, Playing Outside, and Myopia Progression

According to a 2003 American Journal of Ophthalmology study of 298 nearsighted Singaporean children randomized to (1) rigid gas permeable contact lenses or (2) spectacle correction, rigid gas permeable contact lenses did not slow the rate of myopia (nearsightedness) progression even among children who used them regularly and consistently.  The authors concluded that “it is unlikely that this intervention holds promise as a method by which to slow the rate of progression of myopia in children.”

In 2011, a systematic literature review on this topic concluded that the most likely treatment to slow myopia progression is use of anti-muscarinic topical medications such as cyclopentolate and atropine.  Unfortunately, the use of these medications leads to light sensitivity and near blur, which makes this treatment modality impractical and of limited use.

Finally, time spent playing outdoors appears to slow down myopia progression.  This study examined 333 Taiwanese students who were required to spend 80 minutes per day outdoors during recess. Compared to a control group that was kept indoors, the group of students who spent time outdoors had fewer individuals become nearsighted and fewer individuals experience worsening of their nearsightedness.