Myopia (nearsightedness) affects more than a billion people globally and is the leading cause of uncorrected impairment. There is no 'cure', but several studies indicate clinicians may be able to slow down how quickly myopia progresses (eyesight worsens). Growing up with myopia and as parents, Dr. Somji and Dr. Sana know the effects myopia can have on children and learning. We are passionate about helping your family slow down the rate of progression of your child's myopia and prescription.
What is Myopia
Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a condition where individuals are able to see objects that are close to them but may have difficulty distinguishing things at a distance, such as road signs or leaves on a tree. These individuals often squint at objects that are further away to try and help bring them into focus.
Why is Myopia a Concern?
High amounts of myopia increase the risk severe damage to the retina (back of the eyes) which can leade to severe vision loss. High myopia also increases the risk of developing glaucoma, retinal detachment and cataract.
In children, especially during their growth years myopia can increase quite rapidly. We believe it is our responsibility to discuss strategies to decrease the rate of progression of your child's myopia and we offer many types of myopia management options.
Myopia Management Options
There are several myopia management options for your child, and no one solution fits everyone. At Horizon Eye Care & Optical, we have been successfully reducing progression of myopia in children with ortho-k for over a decade. Many children from Katy, Houston, Rosenberg, Richmond, Sugar Land and beyond have experienced the benefits of ortho-k with us. Over the last several years, several other methods with soft contact lens treatments and atropine eye drops have been used with success. Sometimes none of these are required and a therapy eyeglass lens based on your child's binocular vision system is most effective. We'll talk about all of these options below.
Ortho-K or Orthokeratology was the gold standard for many years. Ortho-K lenses are custom fit based on the curvature of your child's eyes. These gas permable lenses are slept in overnight, when they gently reshape the front surface of the eyes. Upon waking, these lenses are removed and your child will be able to see clearly for the remainder of the day without any eyeglasses or daytime contact lenses.
The lenses will need to be worn every night to have an effect the next day. If your child skips a night, their vision will be blurry the next day. Ortho-k is reversible and can be stopped at any time. While every contact lens has risks associated with it, ortho-k has been proven to be a safe treatment method.
Ortho-k is also used in athletes or adults who want to be free of daytime contact lenses and is not only restricted to myopia management treatments.
Atropine Eye Drops
There is a lot of promising research on the effect of Atropine in reducing the progression of myopia. Atropine is a pharmacalogic eye drop, and when specially compounded to a lower concentration, the traditional side effects (blurred vision, light sensitivity) are significantly reduced and the drop can be used safely. Studies (ATOM1, ATOM2, LAMP) continue to show atropine treatment is effective in reducing the total length of the eye, thereaby reducing progression of myopia.
The exact mechanism of how it does this is not yet known. Atropine treatment is used once daily for a two year period followed by a one year break. During atropine treatment, your child will have to continue to wear glasses.
Custom Soft Contact Lenses
For many years we used special daily disposable soft multifocal contact lenses off-label in children to help reduce progression of myopia. The studies continued to show promise and we now have an FDA approved lens (MiSight).
Dr. Sana and Dr. Somji are one of the few certified clinicians in the Sugar Land area to offer these lenses. The advantage of a soft contact lens over ortho-k is comfort. The downside is you need to wear the contact lenses during the day for up to 12 hours a day for 6 days a week, unlike ortho-k where you are free of daytime contacts.
Currently these treatment soft contacts and ortho-k show almost equal efficacy and reducing the progression of myopia.
Schedule a Myopia Management Consult
If you're concerned about the progression of your child's myopia, please Contact Us today to schedule a myopia management consultation appointment. It's better to intervene early then wait until their vision is too far progressed where we may not have as many management options.
Children today are developing myopia earlier than ever before. Left untreated, the condition can progress rapidly. It can become severe before the child reaches early adulthood. Fortunately, there are effective ways to slow myopia progression and prevent the development of high myopia.
Your child is just as reliant on their vision as you are, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your child attends regular pediatric eye exams so that a professional can closely monitor the health and condition of your child’s eyes. But why are pediatric eye exams so important?
Your child’s vision is important for their development. When they suffer from vision problems, chances are they suffer academically and socially. It is essential to have their eyes checked as early as at the age of 2.