What is myopia?
Myopia is the medical term for nearsightedness. Nearsighted eyes can see objects close better than they can see far away. To see clearly, an eye uses the cornea (clear window in the front of the eye) and the lens (behind the iris) to transmit and focus the light entering the eye. When light is focused accurately on the retina, we get a clear image. Myopia normally occurs from the eye being too long. As a child grows taller, their eye normally grows longer. This means that nearsighted children often need new glasses yearly as they progress.
Who is a good candidate?
Any child over 7 years old that is at least a -0.75D and growly yearly. The earlier we can start the more we can slow the progression.
Corneal Reshaping Contact Lenses
Corneal reshaping contact lenses are worn during sleep then removed in the morning. They temporarily change the shape of the cornea so that a person can clearly see all day long without glasses or contact lenses. They are also thought to slow myopia development because they bend light that enters the eye in a beneficial way. Corneal reshaping contact lenses have been shown to reduce myopia progression on average by about 50%.
Soft Bifocal Contact Lenses
Soft bifocal contact lenses are routinely worn to help people aged 40 years and older read clearly as well as see far away. Soft bifocal contact lenses are also thought to slow myopia by bending light that enters the eye in a beneficial way. These lenses have been shown to reduce myopia progression on average by about 50%.
Atropine is an eye drop that typically makes light seem bright because it makes the pupil (the black hole in the middle of the eye) bigger; it also blurs near vision because it reduces the eye’s ability to focus while looking at nearby objects. It is not known how this medication slows myopia development. Low concentration (0.01%) atropine has been shown to slow myopia progression by about 50% without increasing pupil size or decreasing near vision dramatically.
What to Expect
At the first consultation visit we will perform extra tests and procedures that are not normally performed at a regular Eye Health Exam. This extra data allows us to choose which myopia treatment is best for your child. At this visit we can even start treatment if you choose to do so, otherwise you will be able to go home with enough information to decide what’s best for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes myopia?
It is not fully understood what causes myopia at this point. Genetics for sure play a big part, studies show that if a child has one parent with myopia then their risk of developing myopia doubles. If a child has two parents that are nearsighted, they have a five times greater risk of developing myopia than a child without myopic parents. Environment is also shown to play a role in myopia development. Research shows that more time spent outdoors can be protective against myopia.
Why try to control myopia growth?
Research has shown that myopia treatments can reduce a person’s myopia by up to 60%, which could decrease the need for wearing glasses or contact lenses. Myopia has also been associated with common vision-threatening conditions like cataracts, primary open angle glaucoma and retinal detachments. The risk of developing these conditions depends on the severity of the myopia; therefore, reducing a person’s myopia could also decrease his or her chances of developing one of these vision-threatening diseases.
How long do I need to be treated?
The scientific community does not yet fully understand how long people should be treated with myopia prevention methods, but the general consensus is that people should be treated until they are at least in their mid-teens or longer as 75% of teens have stopped progressing by eighteen.
Are myopia treatments safe?
Children (ages 8-12) and teens are both commonly fit with contact lenses. They are at an equally low risk for developing contact lens-related problems or being noncompliant. Children and teens can wear their contact lenses for a similar amount of time each day. In addition, both groups feel that contact lenses improved their social acceptance, appearance, ability to play sports and overall satisfaction with their vision correction.
Low dose atropine is safe for children. Low dose atropine has been shown to work without increasing pupil size or decreasing near vision dramatically, or side effects that are seen with full strength atropine (1%). In fact, only 8% of children complained of having problems with low concentration atropine, and glasses can reduce these symptoms if it is harder for the child to read or if the child is more sensitive to lights
Are myopia treatments FDA approved?
Every treatment option listed is FDA approved as safe to use in children, however none of these treatment options have been approved specifically for the treatment of myopia control.
Will this reverse the amount of myopia my child already has?
These treatment options do not reduce the amount of myopia a child had already developed. All of these treatment options have been scientifically shown to reduce the amount of progression a child will experience.
Does Insurance Cover this?
Insurance does not cover any of the treatment options, however you can use your yearly material contact lens allowance on the soft multifocal contacts.