Myopia Control is a Safe, Effective Way to
Influence Nearsightedness’s Development
Millions of Americans Live With Myopia. While There is No Outright Cure, Today We Can Effectively Reduce its Severity & Development.
A common question that parents of children with myopia ask us is if there’s any way to influence how quickly myopia develops. Having to frequently update corrective lens prescriptions due to myopia’s progression is not only frustrating, but also expensive.
Of course, there are also the risks that are associated with high levels of myopia later on in life: namely, cataracts and potential retinal problems (including increased risks for a retinal detachment).
For children and early-teens, we can slow down myopia’s development and improve vision through a process called “myopia control”.
Identifying Signs of Myopia
- Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
- Constant squinting, especially when concentrating
- Complaints of headaches
- Eye fatigue, complaining of difficulty keeping their eyes open
Children often lack the ability to properly communicate their visual experience. However, myopia often produces behaviors in kids that clearly indicate that their vision may be impaired. Look for:
- Preferring to sit close to the TV or computer screen
- Holding a smartphone, tablet, or other device very close to their face when using it
- Behavioral preference for activities that don’t require distance vision (particularly when playing sports or participating in recreational activities)
Vision vs. Eyesight
Visual acuity (how well you see) is an important, but is only part of vision. Having 20/20 eyesight implies perfect vision, but in reality it only tells a single component of the story.
Vision is as much our ability to understand what we see as it is how well we see. In the case of myopia, vision is often impaired in ways that don’t always present themselves. When assessing vision holistically (as opposed to just measuring eyesight), we look at:
- Visual discrimination – The ability to visually discriminate similarities and differences.
- Visual memory – The ability to remember the characteristics of a given form after a brief presentation.
- Visual spatial relationships – The ability to see differences among forms when all or a part of a form has a different spatial orientation.
- Visual form constancy – The ability to see the essential elements of a form, and identify them within other forms that may be smaller, larger, rotated, reversed or hidden within other designs.
- Visual sequential memory – The ability to remember for immediate recall a series of forms in their specific order of presentation.
- Visual figure ground – The ability to perceive a form, and to locate it when embedded within other forms.
- Visual directionality – The ability to correctly determine spatial directional properties of individuals, objects, and language symbols.
- Visual motor integration – The ability to take in, analyze, and reproduce visual information using paper and pencil.
- Myopia control not only improves visual acuity, but also the above-mentioned metrics. It is a method of improving vision holistically and offers great benefits for our patients.
We Create a Customized Program Designed to Control Myopia’s Development
Each person is different, and because of this it is necessary to create a customized myopia control program for each patient. Using the latest technology available, we diagnose the level of nearsightedness that exists today and determine which tools are most appropriate to correct it.
With nearly half of the global population expected to be nearsighted by 2050, taking action today is important for ensuring strong, healthy vision for your child tomorrow.
Methods for Myopia Control
As each patient is unique, we ensure that their myopia control program is reflective of their eyes and what is needed to benefit them.
Atropine eye drops
Several studies on nearsighted children published between the late 1980s and 2010 have found that using atropine eye drops to dilate the pupil and relax eye focusing muscles is able to reduce myopia progression by as much as 81%.
If appropriate, we use a low-dose of atropine that has been shown to benefit myopia progression.
Corneal refractive therapy
You may have heard of this described by another name, orthokeratology (ortho-k). The idea behind CRT is not new: its origins are based in orthokeratology, though considerable advancements in both technology and our understanding of the process have made CRT considerably more effective than ortho-k.
CRT involves using specialized contact lenses that physically (and safely) reshape the eye. This process can have dramatic results, with studies suggesting that CRT can reduce myopia’s progression by as much as 50%.
Multifocal corrective lenses
These take the form of both contact lenses and eyeglasses. Multifocal lenses have different lens powers at different parts of the lens, allowing for multiple levels of vision correction. A 2010 multilateral study performed by researchers in Australia, China, and the United States found that multifocal contact lenses have 54% less myopia progression after six months compared to children wearing standard eyeglasses.
A 2014 study of multifocal eyeglasses compared with standard single-vision eyeglasses found similar results, with myopia progression being approximately 50% for multifocal wearers compared to those wearing single-power eyeglasses.
We leverage multipower contact lenses and eyeglass lenses as needed to show positive results for the patient.