Can Myopia be Controlled?
Is your child squinting when seeing far away objects? It might be a sign of Myopia. (Click HERE to read about “7 Ways to Tell if Your Child has Vision Issues”).
Myopia, also known as short-sightedness or near-sightedness, is a condition where the eye is longer or curved more steeply than an eye with perfect vision. A person with Myopia will have challenges seeing distant objects, such as reading road signs, but they have no trouble at all with seeing close-up things such as reading a book.
Who is at the most risk?
Children between the ages of 5-12 are at the greatest risk of developing progressive Myopia (nearsightedness that keeps getting worse). However, Myopia can affect people of all ages and can get worse at any stage in life.
Many researchers believe that there is a greater chance for kids to develop Myopia if they grow up in environments with lots of close-up activities (such as hours of reading, studying, or looking at screens without breaks) and limited outdoor play.
Myopia can also be hereditary. Children of both myopic parents are more likely to develop the condition than those with one myopic parent. Children with no parental history of Myopia are least at risk for developing it themselves.
Progression of Myopia
Is your kid's near-sightedness getting worse year after year?
Myopia progression is typically fastest in children between the ages of 7-12 years old. The condition may progress into the teen years and increase their risk for vision impairment and even total blindness in adulthood.
No one exactly knows why Myopia progresses. However, research has established that spending too much time on screens and focusing near objects for a long time and not enough time outdoors can be risk factors.
Ways to Control Myopia
If your kid has been diagnosed with Myopia, no worries, there are proven management options that can help you control the progression of the condition. Below are three Myopia control methods that I would recommend:
1. Myopia control eyeglass lenses
Traditionally, doctors correct nearsightedness by prescribing glasses to help
a child see in the distance. Now, there are specially designed lenses that not only correct vision, but also reduce the rate of Myopia progression by changing out light travels through the eye, thus decreasing the stimulus for the eye to keep lengthening.
2. Myopia control contact lenses
Myopia control contact lenses (MiSight) work similarly to Myopia control eyeglass lenses which reduces peripheral defocus. Instead of lenses in a frame, MiSight is a contact lens that corrects the refractive error and slows the elongation of the eye. The “MiSight 1-day” product is clinically proven to slow the progression of Myopia when initially prescribed for children 8-12 years old1.
Some parents are worried about their children not being ready for contact lenses, but MiSight contact lenses are made for kids as low as six years.
3. Atropine eye drops
Atropine is currently the most effective therapy for Myopia control2. Low dose atropine drops reduce peripheral defocus like the above two myopia control options. A study suggests that atropine 0.01% slows myopia progression by 50%.3 While a low dose atropine works well on most patients, some patients are poor responders to the eye drops and may require a higher dosage or a combination of low-dose atropine with increased outdoor time.
Have questions or concerns about your child’s eyesight? Click HERE to book an appointment with us today for a comprehensive pediatric eye exam or to learn more about Myopia control.