Do you see your child’s glasses getting thicker? Do you or your spouse have a high prescription that you do not wish your children to have?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, please read below!
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a frequent eye issue that affects a person’s ability to see objects that are further away. While this is always a concern, scientific studies have revealed that myopia that has become more advanced has a higher correlation with certain eye conditions. These include glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, and even blindness.
In fact, Ophthalmologist Dr. Ian Flicroft has stated, “The calculated risks of myopia are comparable to those between hypertension, smoking, and cardiovascular disease.”
Due to the serious nature of nearsightedness, Federal Hill Eye Care offers a range of treatment options to help slow down the progression of myopia in children.
Every parent knows that kids grow fast, and this continues through their teens. For this reason, we often recommend intervening when myopia is first discovered as quickly as possible. The eyes and associated structures are also growing rapidly during this time, so offering ways to help the eye grow properly during this time are critical. Once a patient has reached adulthood, the eyes tend to stop growing or changing as rapidly, and changes in nearsightedness will naturally slow down in progression.
There are a few different options available when attempting to manage myopia, and the options can be changed based on a patient’s needs. There are typically three main avenues of treatment for myopia management: atropine eye drops, orthokeratology (or Ortho-K), and multifocal soft contact lenses.
Each of these approaches has specific advantages depending on a patient’s needs, but the basic idea behind these approaches is that it changes how the light focuses in the back of the eye, thereby slowing down the excessive elongation of the eyes, which in turn, slows down myopia progression.
Atropine Eye Drops
Atropine eye drops work like the drops you get to dilate your pupils during a routine eye exam, but in myopia management, they are very diluted. While atropine works just like regular eye drops you receive during an eye exam, they last significantly longer, and do not cause blurriness because they are diluted. They are given at bedtime, and allow kids to focus on more important things throughout the day.
A number of scientific studies on atropine eye drops suggest that they slow the progression of myopia by just over 81 percent when compared with no treatment. In fact, one study even found that after the eye drop use was discontinued, patients continued to receive the benefits over children who did not use the eyedrops.
Orthokeratology (also known as Ortho-K) is a process that uses specialized contact lenses that are only worn while your child sleeps. These specially designed lenses allow gentle reshaping of the top of the cornea to reduce myopia. When your child wakes up, they take out the lenses, and the eye will maintain the shape throughout the course of the day, allowing your child to enjoy clear vision without glasses or contacts. Ortho-K enables them to play sports and be active without having to worry about wearing corrective lenses throughout the day. A number of studies suggest that Ortho-K results in over 50 percent slower myopia progression than patients with no treatment.
Soft Multifocal Lenses
Soft multifocal contact lenses offer patients clear vision at varying distances. These lenses utilize different prescription powers at different places in the lens so that people can adjust their sight based on where they are looking. These lenses also show over 50 percent slower progression of myopia than those that did not receive treatment.
If your child has recently been diagnosed with nearsightedness, contact Federal Hill Eye Care today, so that we can begin an intervention plan, and help to protect your child’s sight throughout their life!
Scott Klasman, O.D.
Federal Hill Eye Care
1029 Light Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230