WHAT IS MYOPIA?
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, causes vision to be blurry far away without glasses. Traditionally, myopia has been corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
If caught early enough in childhood, myopia’s progression can be slowed with treatment, such as with multifocal contact lenses or orthokeratology. These treatment options have been found to slow progression up to 50%.
In your child’s yearly routine eye exam, the doctor will provide a detailed evaluation to see if your child is a candidate and what option to proceed with. A detailed evaluation will decide which of these options would minimize progression as much as possible.
WHY DOES MY CHILD NEED STRONGER GLASSES EVERY YEAR?
Myopia typically develops around age 8 and progresses for 10-15 years. Risk factors that increase the risk of developing myopia and the rate of progression include:
- Parents with myopia
- A young age when myopia was first diagnosed
- A higher degree of myopia when first diagnosed
- Certain types of focusing or eye coordination weakness
- Race (Asian and Hispanic higher risk than Caucasian and African American)
- More hours of near work and holding work too close
- Decreased time spent outdoors
WHY SHOULD WE TRY TO SLOW DOWN THE PROGRESSION?
High myopia increases the risk for glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachments, and atrophy. The goal is to decrease the progression of myopia for a better visual outcome and hopefully decrease the risk of these sight-threatening complications.
WHAT ARE SOME TREATMENTS THAT CAN HELP DECREASE THE RATE OF PROGRESSION?
These are contact lenses, when worn during sleep, gently reshape the cornea to correct vision. This temporary reshaping provides clear vision all day, which eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses. This treatment corrects vision in a way that has been shown to slow the progression of myopia by about 50%. Some patients do not progress once this treatment is started.
Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses, when worn during the day, correct vision and help slow the progression of myopia by approximately 50%. This type of contact lens is traditionally worn by adults to help them read clearly and see far away. In kids and teenagers, they correct vision in a way that helps to slow the growth of the eye.
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF MY CHILD IS A CANDIDATE?
In your child’s yearly routine eye exam, the doctor will provide a detailed evaluation to see if your child is a candidate and what option to proceed with. A thorough evaluation will decide which of these options would minimize progression as much as possible.
For the evaluation, please bring:
- Your child’s current glasses
- Records from any previous eye doctors (unless all exams were done here)
- Detailed family history including glasses or contact lens prescriptions for parents and siblings
- Sunglasses. We will be using a dilating drop that will make the eyes sensitive to light for approximately 24 hours. Vision may also be blurry up close while dilated during this time period.
Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is a non-surgical procedure using specially designed contact lenses to reshape the eye to correct vision gently. The custom contacts are worn during sleep and removed in the morning, providing clear vision during the day. This eliminates the need for glasses and contacts.
Ortho-K is most commonly used to correct myopia (nearsightedness), but can also correct hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. This is also a good option for current soft contact lens wearers who have discomfort with their contacts due to allergies, dry eyes, or a dusty work environment. Many people who are active in sports or other activities love the freedom from glasses, contact lenses, and sports goggles.
One big advantage is that Ortho-K has been shown to slow myopia progression in children and teenagers. Between the ages of 8 and 15, myopia can increase rapidly. This increase in nearsightedness increases the risk of sight-threatening conditions such as retinal detachments, cataracts, and glaucoma. Studies show that using Ortho-K can dramatically slow down the progression of myopia and even arrest it in certain patients.
When first starting Ortho-K, vision will dramatically improve after one night of wear. It can take up to a couple of weeks of wearing the lenses to get to the full correction. We will see you for follow-up visits during this process. Once stable, most people need to wear contact lenses nightly to retain the benefits. The doctor can determine if you are a good candidate for Ortho-K with a thorough eye exam.
We use Paragon CRT (Corneal Refractive Therapy) lenses, which are a type of Ortho-K.