Myopia is the inability to see distant images or objects clearly - for example, reading road signs or seeing the sports scores on TV. Also called nearsightedness or shortsightedness, myopia is the most common refractive error among children. It occurs when the eye grows longer and the image is focused in front of the retina causing blurry distance vision. Myopia can be corrected with corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses.
The exact cause of Myopia is unknown but there are both hereditary and environmental factors that have been shown to increase the risk of myopia development. Genetically, children are more likely to develop myopia when their parents are also myopic. In addition, environmental factors such as increased near work demand (including reading and monitor screen time) and reduced exposure to outdoor sunlight can also contribute to the development of myopia and its progression.
Currently, one-third of the US population has been diagnosed with myopia and it is thought that by 2050, 50% of the population will by myopic. In many Asian countries, as much as 90% of people under the age of 21 are myopic. For some adults who are nearsighted, they may become slightly more nearsighted over time. However, the younger a child develops myopia, the greater the risk they have for myopia progression. In other words, their prescription will likely change much faster and become much worse. As myopia increases, the risk for eye disease increases as well including: -Retinal detachment/tears -Myopic macular degeneration -Glaucoma -Cataracts Taking steps to slow the progression and keeping a child from becoming highly nearsighted will decrease these risks later in life. Unfortunately, there is no way to reverse the growth that has already occurred; we can only attempt to slow it down.
The doctors at Blue Hills Eye Associates believe that with early intervention, we can provide options to manage or slow the progression of your child’s myopia and therefore reduce the long-term ocular risks associated with myopia. There are 3 different therapies that have been studied and shown to slow the progression of myopia. The prescribed treatment plan will be recommended based on your child’s myopic development and needs.
Multifocal soft contact lenses have multiple powers within the same lens. The central part of the contact lens corrects for the refractive error to improve distance vision. The peripheral part of the contact lens focuses light in the retina so that it reduces the stimulus for myopia progression. These soft contact lenses are replaced daily and removed when sleeping.
Atropine eye drops are instilled in both eyes every night before bedtime. The low dose medicated drops have long been used to slow myopia progression without significant side effects. Glasses and/or contact lenses are still worn during the day.
Ortho-K utilizes therapeutic Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses to mold and reshape the cornea, or the front surface of the eye. The contact lens is worn while you sleep and removed during the day time. This methodology eliminates the need for daytime glasses or contact lenses.