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Should myopia management be renamed as axial length management?

The blog post is a response to an article by Jason Higginbotham, the Managing Editor of Myopia Focus, which was featured in The New Optometrist. The post aims to provide further insight into the subject of axial length in managing myopia.

The myopia epidemic is a growing problem, primarily caused by lifestyle changes rather than genetics. It is projected that by 2050, half of the world's population could be myopic, with a billion of them likely experiencing high myopia.

This poses significant risks to long-term eye health. Fortunately, extensive evidence supports various therapeutic approaches that can slow down the progression of myopia, especially in children, before it reaches severe levels.

Taking no action is not an option, and just prescribing normal glasses or contact lenses is no longer considered appropriate. Specialist therapies are available and should be used as quickly as possible.

Young child at the optometrist

When it comes to managing myopia, accurate and comprehensive measurements are crucial for effective treatment. One such measurement that has gained significant importance in recent years is the measuring of axial length. This article will delve into the significance of axial length measurement in myopia management and highlight its benefits.

Axial length refers to the distance from the front to the back of the eye. It plays a pivotal role in myopia, as an elongation of the eye is a key characteristic of this condition. Traditional methods of diagnosing myopia, such as refractive error measurement, only provide information about the eye's focusing power. However, they fail to address the underlying issue of eye elongation, which is vital for determining the severity of myopia and guiding appropriate treatment strategies.

By incorporating the measuring of axial length into myopia management, eye care practitioners can gain a deeper understanding of a patient's condition. This measurement allows for accurate monitoring of the progression of myopia over time, enabling timely interventions and personalised treatment plans. Measuring Axial length measurements can also help identify patients who are at a higher risk of developing sight-threatening complications associated with high myopia. Conversely, there will be some patients who have refractive myopia, where the lenses in the eye are too steeply curved. In these cases, sometimes the length of the eyeball is normal or even shorter than average. In these cases, measuring axial length would prevent these patients from paying for unnecessary costly myopia therapies.

The use of axial length measurement in myopia management has opened up new possibilities for treatment strategies. By obtaining precise data on axial length, eye care professionals can determine the most suitable approach to slow down myopia progression.

These strategies may include specially designed contact lenses, orthokeratology, pharmaceutical interventions, or a combination of these methods. With accurate measurements, practitioners can tailor interventions to each individual's unique needs, enhancing the effectiveness of myopia management.

Incorporating axial length measurement into routine eye examinations can also assist in evaluating the effectiveness of different treatment modalities. Regular measurements provide valuable feedback on the success of the chosen treatment and help determine if any adjustments are necessary. This feedback loop enables practitioners to fine-tune the management plan, ensuring optimal outcomes for their patients.

Furthermore, the availability of non-invasive and user-friendly devices for measuring axial length has made this procedure more accessible. Advancements in technology and devices such as the AX1 Axiometer make it feasible to integrate them into routine eye exams without causing any inconvenience to patients.

In conclusion, axial length measurement is a vital component of myopia management. By assessing the elongation of the eye, practitioners can accurately gauge the severity of myopia, monitor its progression, and determine the most effective treatment options.

If you are a myopia specialist or eye care professional, then why not join us in our quest to raise awareness and provide valuable, accurate information to parents? We are currently working on a portal to give you access to a number of digital resources, training, webinars and more. To learn more, click here.

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