Myopia is the lengthening of the eyeball, which results in nearsightedness and the need for vision correction such as glasses or contact lenses. Myopia control prevents the progression of myopia by slowing the lengthening of the eye in children and teens. This not only keeps children’s prescriptions low so that their sight is protected for the future, but also reduces the risk for ocular diseases later in life, such as:
Myopia has been steadily increasing in the U.S over the years and now affects around 30% of children and teens. It is one of the most common sight problems we encounter on a day to day basis. Here are the different levels of myopia:
-0.25 to -3.00 D – Mild
-3.00 to -6.00 D -Moderate
>-6.00 D -High
While the degree of myopia varies from child to child and depends on when we begin a myopia control program, our goal is to keep their myopia within the mild range or lower if possible. Myopia control is so important for children, because the developmental years are when the eyes change the most. This can lead to high prescriptions and a higher chance of developing these sight-threatening diseases in the future. How Do You Control Myopia? It is important to have regular comprehensive eye exams for your child to evaluate the progression of myopia and determine if they need treatment. Some of the myopia control methods we may recommend are: Orthokeratology (“Ortho-K”) or Corneal Refractive Therapy These are specialized overnight contact lenses that reshape the cornea as your child sleeps. This slows down the rate of myopia, and also gives your child clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses. This is an ongoing treatment that requires nightly use of the specialized lenses. Atropine Drops These diluted drops also slow down the progression of myopia and are especially effective on children with high prescriptions when used in combination with Ortho-K. Multifocal contact lenses or eyeglasses These specialty contact lenses are similar to Ortho-K in that they can slow myopia, but these are used during the day. Multifocal eyeglasses can also assist in preventing myopia increase, especially when used for reading or using the computer. Our eye doctors will create a customized myopia control program for your child that uses one or more of the above treatments to safeguard their vision for the future. Schedule an appointment today to see how one of our New Tampa or Trinity eye doctors can help you protect your children’s eyes!