OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE
WHAT IS MYOPIA?
NEARSIGHTEDNESS: A REAL CHILDREN’S HEALTH CONCERN
Nearsightedness (myopia) is a common vision condition diagnosed during a basic eye exam. For those who are nearsighted, objects that are farther away appear blurry. Myopia can be caused by genetics, as well as other environmental factors, such as increased near work (homework, phones, tablets). These factors can cause elongation of the eye, and this elongation causes the prescription to increase.
As parents, we must consider the effect myopia has on our children. As our children grow, myopia tends to get worse (the eye grows longer, the prescription climbs higher). As the prescription increases, health risks associated with higher levels of myopia also rise. These risks include a greater likelihood of developing retinal detachments, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and early cataracts. At Professional Eyecare, we offer a Myopia Management program, which uses different techniques that can slow myopic progression by more than 50%
Now considered a major health concern, myopia (nearsightedness) has increased by 66% in the United States since 1971. Onset often begins as young as age 6, and early detection is the key to prevention and reduction of potentially serious complications later in life.
Myopia Increases the Risk of Serious, Sight Threatening Complications
When left undiagnosed and untreated, myopia (nearsightedness) can lead to a host of complications later in life:
Cataracts tend to develop sooner in nearsighted eyes.
Nearsighted people are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop glaucoma.
Higher levels of myopia significantly increases the risk of retinal detachment and macular degeneration (maculopathy).
An eye care professional can perform an examination to determine if myopia is present and establish a plan that may prevent further complications associated with myopia.
Sleep Shape (Orthokeratology)
Sleep Shape (Orthokeratology) gas permeable lenses are specially made only for your child, providing optimal individualized treatment, and are designed and FDA approved for overnight wear. These devices gently and temporarily reshape the front of the eye to focus light in a specific pattern, allowing for precise adjustments to maximize the treatment. Sleep Shape lenses must be worn each night, but there is generally no need for glasses or contacts through the day. This, along with the ability to customize the lens to your child specifically, are the main advantages of Sleep Shape lenses. There are limitations for whether this method is ideal for your child, such as excessively high prescriptions or high astigmatism. However, for most patients, this is the preferred method of Myopia Management.
Soft Multifocal Contact
Soft Multifocal Lenses have also been designed to slow the progression of myopia. These lenses are generally a daily disposable soft contact designed to change where light is focusing in order to slow the myopia progression. Unlike Sleep Shape lenses, these lenses must instead be worn through the day to get the desired effect. Soft Multifocal Lenses are great for high prescriptions and in some cases can correct for high astigmatism. Other times, glasses may be needed along with contact lenses to provide the clearest and sharpest vision possible.
The third and least common method of Myopia Management utilizes an Atropine (low dose) eye drop each night before bed to slow myopia progression. In most cases, this is used as an add-on therapy if one of the first two methods does not slow progression enough. However, if either of the above option are not ideal for your child but you want to initiate some form of treatment, low dose atropine can be considered. In some cases, your child may notice increased light sensitivity and difficulty focusing. Glasses or contacts must be worn through the day for clear vision.