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”.
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:
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:
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.
As each patient is unique, we ensure that their myopia control program is reflective of their eyes and what is needed to benefit them.
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.
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%.
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.