Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is when the eye grows too long from front to back. This causes objects that are far away to appear blurry or out of focus, while near objects such as a book or tablet will remain clear. Often times myopia is corrected with glasses, however there is no known cure for myopia at this time.
Myopia is becoming much more common in children at younger ages than ever before. Many doctors and researchers believe that increased screen time combined with reduced outdoor time is to blame for this sudden increase. Undiagnosed myopia can lead to difficulties in school as well as extracurricular activities. However, the most concerning problem is the increased risk of eye diseases associated with myopia throughout a person’s life.
Glasses only compensate for your child’s blurry vision, they do not stop their vision from continuing to worsen. Higher levels of myopia significantly incrase your child’s risk for serious eye diseases, such as glaucoma and retinal diseases. Early intervention is key to slowing down the progression of myopia in your child.
1. Blue Mountain Eye Study, Vongphanit et al., 2002
2. Ogawa & Tanaka, 1988
There are three non-invasive treatments to slow down the progression of myopia in children: Overnight Contact lenses (Orthokeratology) (link page), Daytime custom soft contact lenses, and prescription eye drops. All three options have great results backed by peer reviewed clinical studies. We will determine which treatment is best for your child at our in office consultation.
Ortho-K | Ortho-K or orthokeratology lenses are specially designed contact lenses that are designed to be worn overnight only. These custom contacts gently reshape the front of the eye overnight while an individual is sleeping allowing them to remove the lenses in the morning and see clearly without the use of glasses or contact lenses during the daytime. These lenses are customized to each patient’s eye and can be compared to a retainer worn overnight prescribed by an orthodontist. Patients typically can see clearly without correction from glasses within a few days of treatment and wear the lenses each night to maintain clear vision as well as slow the progression of myopia.
Prescription Eye Drops | Another treatment option is a prescription eye drop called atropine which is compounded to a specific very dilute formula that has been shown to reduce the progression of myopia. Atropine drops are applied before bedtime. This is a great option for younger patients not ready for contact lenses or in conjunction with other treatment options for more advanced situations. The child still needs to wear glasses or contact lenses during the daytime to see.
Multifocal Contact Lenses | These specialty contact lenses are designed to be worn during the daytime and removed each night before bed. Their special optical design slows down the progression of myopia while also correcting the child’s vision throughout the day allowing them to be glasses free.
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.