Myopia (nearsighted vision) is a very common eye problem that causes blurry distance vision. In the 1970s, only 25% of Americans were myopic but today that number is rising at an alarming rate especially in school-age children to an incidence of 40%. Childhood myopia refers to nearsightedness that develops during childhood and typically progresses through adolescence and into adulthood. It can potentially lead to more severe eye conditions later in life, such as: retinal detachment, glaucoma, myopic retinopathy and cataracts
Evidence shows that children who spend most of their time indoors reading, viewing screens/TV or playing computer games are more susceptible to development or worsening myopia than those who spend more time outdoors. Furthermore, there is a genetic predisposition if one or both parents are myopic.
The earlier the onset of myopia, the higher the myopia may become, thus increasing the risk for complications like:
There are new treatments for myopia that have proven to be effective in a number of studies. Of course, to ensure you find the most effective choice for you, be sure to visit with your eye doctor so they can review your case and recommend the best options for you.
Low-Dose Atropine Eye Drops
One of the thoughts about the progression of myopia, is that it is associated with eye strain. The additional stresses that are placed on the eye when straining push the eye further out of its proper shape. Atropine eye drops are specifically designed to help stop the eye from straining and help the muscles relax. Atropine is similar to the eye drops that are used when you get your eyes dilated but lasts throughout the entire day rather than just a few hours. Atropine dilates the pupil of the eye and prevents them from closing too tightly and limiting your vision. This treatment has been shown to be especially effective in slowing the progression of myopia in children.
Dual Focus Soft Contact Lenses
These are soft specialty contact lenses that create a peripheral retinal defocus which is more natural than the typical myopic lens correction. Peripheral defocus has been shown to reduce progression up to 60%. We have been using this for over 2 years and highly recommend it if your child is old enough to wear contact lenses.
Multifocal Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses
These specialty contact lenses are designed to help reduce strain on the eyes. They have shown great success at slowing the progression of myopia over a three-year period when compared with individuals who wore a standard prescription lens.
Ortho-K or Orthokeratology is one practice being used to slow down the progression of myopia. Ortho-K utilizes a special rigid gas-permeable contact lens that is placed into the eyes just before you go to bed. This hard lens helps to gently hold your eye in the proper shape throughout the night. Then when you wake up in the morning and remove the lenses, your eye continues to maintain that shape. This means that people who are nearsighted can see clearly throughout the day, even without wearing contact lenses or glasses. This approach is often preferred for athletes or other active individuals.
If you notice that your child is having a difficult time seeing objects that are far away, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Many parents notice changes in their children with their behavior or grades at school, their ability to play sports, or that they may even be pulling back from playing with friends. Treating myopia as quickly as possible can help to reduce your child’s chances of developing a serious eye condition that can threaten their ability to see the world around them. Call today and schedule an appointment to see how we can help your child.
Although there is no cure for myopia, we offer a number of treatments that can slow the progression of myopia up to 60%
Myopia Control and Treatment
Management with any of these methods requires frequent monitoring and measuring of the refractive error, corneal curvature, and axial length of the eye with technology that is child-friendly and easy to administer.
If you’d like more information on treatment options, please let us know.
Reducing screen time will improve rate of success
and also reduce myopia progression!