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 is caused by genetics, as well as other environmental factors. For instance, staring at any object for too long can cause the eye to elongate — it’s this elongation that leads to myopia.
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. The good news is that thanks to Myopia Management, you can protect your children from landing on the wrong side of this statistic.
Now considered a major health concern, myopia (nearsightedness) has increased by 66% in the United States since 1971. Onset can begin as early 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, such as reduced ability to learn, and later in life:
Cataracts tend to develop sooner in nearsighted eyes.
Nearsighted people are 2 to 3 times more likely to get glaucoma.
Myopia increases the risk of retinal detachment.
An eye care professional can perform a simple examination to determine if the vision issues you’re experiencing are caused by myopia — and put a treatment plan in place that may prevent further complications associated with myopia.
Sleep Shape (Orthokeratology)
Sleep shape Orthro K 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.