If you're concerned about your child needing stronger and stronger glasses, myopia control may be for you.
Everyone’s eyes lengthen as we grow. Most eyes stop lengthening around age 5 or 6 when our glasses prescription is close to zero. Some people’s eyes, however, keep lengthening, making their prescription go below zero and have a minus sign in front of it. We say they’re becoming nearsighted (myopic). As soon as it goes below zero, things far away (like the board at school or leaves on trees) become blurry. As they become more nearsighted/myopic, things even closer become blurry. People that are highly myopic can only see clearly if something is very close to their face.
Medical professionals have known for a long time that the longer an eye is, the more likely it is to have certain problems such as retinal tears and detachments as well as a few other problems.
There seems to be three factors involved with a person’s likelihood of becoming myopic
1. Genetics (one or both parents being myopic increases risk)
2. Amount of time spent outdoors in sunlight during childhood (more time outside decreases risk)
3. Amount of time spent on near tasks in childhood such as reading or handheld electronic devices (more time increases risk)
Because of the increased popularity of handheld electronic devices among children and less time spent outside in general, we’re seeing more myopia than we used too and expect to see even more in the next 20 years. Such an epidemic of myopia has already occurred in Asia.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to slow down the increase in myopia. Well-controlled academic studies have repeatedly shown that the use of certain types of contact lenses and prescription eyedrops can slow the progression of nearsightedness by 40-50%.
These are the options
(All options require annual dilated examinations and 6 month prescription checks, some of the expenses may be covered by vision insurance plans):
1. Soft multifocal contact lenses - these lenses are designed primarily for people over 40 to help with distance vision and near at the same time. They have been shown to be very effective at slowing down myopia. For safety and efficacy I prefer the Naturalvue Multifocal Daily Disposable (https://vtivision.com/pages/myopia-technical-information)
2. Orthokeratology: OrthoK is a specialty practice in which custom designed contact lenses are worn only at night while asleep (the only time its ok to wear lenses while asleep). These lenses gently reshape the front surface of the eye in such a way that when the lenses are removed upon waking in the morning, you can see clearly all day without any contact lenses or glasses.
3. Low dose atropine eyedrops: These prescription eyedrops can be used on their own or along with the contact lens options. These drops are purchased directly from a compounding pharmacy..
Check out this website (http://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/myopia.htm) for another great explanation of what myopia control is.
Here’s a website that can help us determine ’s risk of myopia progression: https://www.myopiacare.org/
Here’s a study from the American Association of Ophthalmology Journal on myopia control: http://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(15)01356-1/abstract
Schedule a free myopia control consultation now with Dr Salley to consider your child's need for myopia control.