Myopia Management for Children
Myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness, is a common eye condition that causes objects in the distance to appear blurred while close objects are often seen clearly.
Myopia occurs when the eye has too much focusing power, either due to the eye being too long or the cornea (transparent structure in the front of the eye that helps to focus incoming light) being more curved than usual making the eye too strong. As a result, when someone with myopia tries to look at distant objects, the rays of light are focused in front of the retina rather than directly (retina is the light-sensitive inside lining of the eye that senses light and signals your optic nerve and brain to create images).
MiSight® 1 day is a daily wear, single use contact lens that has been clinically proven and FDA-approved to slow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) when initially prescribed for children 8-12 years old.
Myopia is growing at an alarming rate, with 1 in 3 U.S. children now myopic. The eye condition is also more common in some demographics. For instance, myopia is more common in people with Asian roots. Researchers believe that the environment kids grow up in today, with too many close distance activities (like reading and device use) and lack of outdoor play, is contributing to the rapid increase in childhood myopia. While glasses and contact lenses compensate for a child’s blurry vision, they don’t stop your child’s vision from continuing to deteriorate.
As children grow, myopia often develops as they reach school age and progresses into the late teens.
The Dangers of Myopia
Researchers now know there is more to worry about with myopic eyes than the inconvenience of ever-thickening lenses. Scientific evidence has proven that myopic patients are more vulnerable to a range of sight-threatening diseases and complications. In fact, myopia is the sixth leading cause of blindness. Patients with mild myopia have a four-fold increase in the risk of retinal detachment. For those with moderate to severe myopia, the risk increases ten times. One study concluded that more than 50 percent of retinal detachments not related to trauma are associated with myopia. Other myopia risks include glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
Myopia Control Methods
Here are your choices for intervention.
- Do nothing
- Undercorrection: Studies have shown that under-correction does not prevent but actually enhances myopia.
- Single Vision Distance Glasses: Regular glasses and contact lenses can help kids see more clearly, but they do not slow down the progression of myopia, which means kids may need increasingly stronger prescriptions as they continue to grow.
- Bifocals: A method that is slightly more effective is bifocals, yet not clinically significant.
- PALs (progressive addition lens): Better than single vision lenses. You get about a 33% reduction in myopia progression.
- Atropine eye drops: These eye drops dilate the pupil and relax the eye-focusing muscles. Four studies (published between 1989 and 2010) found that atropine drops reduced myopia progression by up to 77% among nearsighted children. This option needs to be considered carefully however because atropine can cause side effects such as red eyes, light sensitivity, and difficulty focusing up close. We usually recommend trialing it for a week or so to make sure your child does not experience any adverse effects from the atropine.
- Corneal reshaping therapy: Utilizing specialized lenses that are worn overnight, corneal reshaping therapy (CRT) influences the eye’s shape and structure. This is one of the biggest breakthroughs in controlling myopia. This process is not new, with its roots in orthokeratology, though modern innovations have greatly improved and refined it. With an average reduction in myopia progression of 46%, orthokeratology is certainly an option for myopic patients.
- Multifocal contact lenses: Soft contact lenses that act as multifocal (they contain a prescription for distance and a prescription for near) can slow myopia development. These are worn during the day like typical soft contact lenses and are removed nightly. The multifocal contact lenses reduce the eye’s stimulus to grow therefore reducing the lengthening of the eye. Multifocal soft lenses were shown to slow down myopia progression 59%.
Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Myopia Management
At Visual Ophthalmology Services, we continuously invest in new technologies and training methods that improve our ability to control myopia. Visual Ophthalmology Services offers consultations to discuss myopia management.
Get in touch with us today to schedule a myopia management consult for your child!