Myopia (also known as nearsightedness) has become far more common than in previous generations. We have developed a near-centered culture that appears to encourage eye growth. This growth increases the risk of serious pathologies such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, and myopic macular degeneration.
Myopia can be managed with early intervention to preserve your child’s distance vision and reduce the progressive eye growth in those children with rapid changes.
How Does Myopia Control Work?
Myopia control therapy works by slowing the stimulus for eye growth. This can be done either with specially designed corneal molding lenses, bifocal soft contact lenses, or atropine eye drops.
OrthoK - These are special corneal molds that reshape your eyes while you sleep. Once completed no lenses or glasses are needed during waking hours. This is my preferred option for mature kids seven and up with progressive myopia.
Soft bifocal contacts - A reasonable option for kids wanting a soft lens alternative. Lenses are worn during waking hours. Vision may be slightly reduced from standard soft lenses but comfort is usually good. Misight is FDA-approved up to -6.00D power and other manufacturers are available off-label.
Atropine drops - The preferred option for younger children under seven and can be used with any of the other options. The dosage needs to be carefully titrated because too low a concentration may be ineffective but too strong can cause light sensitivity, poor focusing vision, and allergic reactions. This is not commercially available and needs to be compounded at a specialty pharmacy.
Bifocal/progressive eyeglasses - While the least effective option this can be a backup option. New designs are being investigated but are not currently available in the US.
These techniques can reduce myopia progression by 40-50% during a period when eye growth can lead to much larger changes.
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