Myopia Control for Kids

Myopia Control Myopia is also called nearsightedness.  To be nearsighted means that you are literally “near-sighted” — you can see nearby objects clearly, but distant objects look blurry.  Myopia is measured in units called diopters (D).  Eyeglasses and contact lenses that correct myopia start with a minus sign (–).

 

Myopia is progressive

In children, it's common for prescriptions for glasses & contact lenses to grow stronger each year.  During the ages of 6-12, children's eyes are growing the fastest.  However, there is more to worry about than the inconvenience of ever-thickening lenses.

Myopia can increase your child's risk of certain sight-threatening eye diseases.   Eyes that have myopia grow too long and cause the normal eye to change its shape from an orange to an egg.  Progressive myopia is nearsightedness that worsens year after year.   If myopia progresses enough, it can result in high myopia, a severe degree of nearsightedness that increases the lifetime risk of developing several serious eye conditions, because the eye has grown too long.  Children with progressive myopia have significant life-long increase of sight-threatening eye conditions such as retinal detachments, glaucoma and cataracts.

Children with high myopia have a 50% higher risk of developing glaucoma, are 3 times more likely to develop cataracts, and 6 times more likely to develop retinal detachment as adults than children who don’t have myopia.

Can myopia lead to blindness? The higher the myopia, the higher the probability of sight-threatening complications like glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment may occur.  A detached retina is a very serious threat to a person's vision, and a recent study concluded that more than half of all retinal detachments are attributable to myopia, not injury.

What causes myopia?

Heredity, too much time spent on computers and cell phones, lack of sunlight exposure, and poor eye teaming and focusing.  Children who spend more than 7 hours a week using computers and mobile video games triple their risk for myopia!

When should my child start myopia control?

As soon as possible!  The younger the child develops myopia, the worse the myopia may become.  Once myopia starts, it's irreversible.  So be proactive and start myopia control for your child today.   Single vision eyeglasses and contact lenses do not slow down the progression of myopia.

In addition, if your child decides to have laser eye surgery to correct their myopia later in life, a lower prescription means more likely to be suitable candidates and better visual outcomes after surgery.

Myopia Control Treatment Options

1. Multifocal Contact Lenses

How do Multifocal Contacts Work?Optometrists first began using bifocal lenses to attempt to slow myopia progression in the 1940s.  A more recent alternate theory suggests that myopic children who do not accommodate (focus) efficiently while reading, which constitute about 30% of myopic children, could benefit from multifocal contact lenses.

Contact Lenses >>

 

2. Orthokeratology (also called Ortho-k)

Wear specially designed contact lens-like retainers while you sleep, remove when you get up, and you can see without glasses or contact lenses! Research has proven that Ortho-K is effective at slowing progression of myopia (nearsightedness)!

Ortho-K - Correct Your Vision While You Sleep >>

3. Low-Dose Atropine

A topical drop called atropine was first suggested as a means of slowing the progression of myopia in the 1920s; however, it was rarely prescribed at full strength due to its notable side effects: light sensitivity and blurred vision while reading.  Since then several studies have looked at the positive effects of atropine on myopia control while reducing the concentration and its negative side effects.  Lower concentrations of atropine is effective at slowing the progression of myopia without the full strength side effects.  Used nightly, low-dose Atropine eyedrops can be a first line treatment or an adjunct to other forms of myopia control.