An individual’s vision is determined by refractive (the powers of the cornea and crystalline lens) and axial components of the eye. Myopia, or nearsightedness, is associated with longer axial length, which is the distance between the cornea and the retina’s central focus, the fovea. As a result of this axial growth, myopic individuals have a higher risk of developing retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma, and maculopathy.
These are all conditions that could lead to vision loss.
When detected early, retinal detachments and cataracts are treatable with surgery. However, studies have shown that high myopes who undergo cataract surgery may have increased complications. There is currently no cure for glaucoma and maculopathy, and in advanced cases, these conditions will result in blindness. Therefore, it is crucial that myopia is treated early before it causes health risks.
Myopia has become a worldwide public health issue, ranking the 2nd most common cause of blindness globally. The onset and progression of myopia can be caused by genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. If one parent is myopic, the risk of myopia development is 3x. That risk doubles when both parents are myopic. Additionally, advanced technology has led to increased screen time and little or no outdoor recreation.
The simplest lifestyle intervention advised is to spend at least 90 minutes of playing outdoors daily. Bright natural lighting and the infinite distances of the outdoor environment may help slow or stop myopia progression. Sunglasses are still recommended to protect the eyes from harmful UVA and UVB light. Even through tinted sunglasses, the brightness of natural sunlight is greater than that of typical indoor lighting.
Traditional eyeglasses and contact lenses only alleviated the blurry symptoms but has no effect on treating myopia. With the treatment options below, we are now able to make significant and positive impact on reducing you child's lifetime risk of vision impairment.
Orthokeratology: “Braces for your Eyes”
Orthokeratology contact lenses are FDA-approved and specially designed to reduce the effect of myopia with continuous overnight wear. They work comfortably to gently reshape the central cornea to correct vision while also causing a defocus in the peripheral cornea to manage myopic progression. Once these overnight corneal reshaping lenses are removed in the morning, your child’s eyes naturally maintain the adjusted shape, so your child has clear vision all day without the need for daytime corrective lenses or glasses.
MiSight 1 day contact lens is the only FDA approved soft contact lens indicated to slow the progression of myopia in children, aged 8-12 at the initiation of treatment. Its ActivControl Technology uses vision correction zones to provide clarity and uses treatment zones to create myopic defocus to slow the elongation of the eyes. It provides great all day comfort and immediate treatment once your child learns to properly insert their lenses.
Atropine in dilute concentrations is a safe and effective medication for slowing the progression of myopia. It is well tolerated by children with minimal effect on light sensitivity and reading. Although its mechanism of action is not well understood, it offers a great alternative treatment option that avoids contact lens wear.
The slowing of myopia progression is expected but not guaranteed. The overall efficacy of treatment is dependent on the child’s age. Binocular vision testing will also be performed in order to assess the eye muscles’ ability to make both eyes work together. Abnormal test results can affect the efficacy of treatment and vision therapy may be recommended for your child.
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