Nearsightedness is a common condition that many parents think is just a natural part of life. However, this progressive condition can actually affect our eye health throughout or lives. Myopia has been associated with increases in the development of cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and blindness. Helping to slow or stop the progression of myopia in children is believed to help reduce the long-term negative effects of the condition.
Eye doctors use four basic categories of treatment for myopia control. These include atropine eye drops, multifocal contact lenses, multifocal eyeglasses, and orthokeratology. Orthokeratology is also commonly referred to as ortho-k. At Lakeside Eye Associates, we want to make sure that your family has the best vision care throughout their lives. Part of providing or exceptional care includes helping you become informed about the best available medicines available. If your child has been diagnosed with nearsightedness, or you think that they are having difficulty seeing, schedule an appointment today.
Eye drops are commonly used to treat a variety of different conditions. Atropine eye drops help to reduce swelling and inflammation in the eye. Reducing these two factors also helps to reduce the stress that is placed on your eyes throughout the day. Atropine works by dilating the pupil that temporarily stops the eye from being able to change focus. This is the same approach that is used when you have your eyes dilated for common vision tests, but atropine lasts longer.
Some studies conducted on children and young adults show that it may be one of the most effective myopia control treatments available. These studies show that the use of the atropine eye drops slows the progression of myopia by 77 percent over no treatment in a year.
Multifocal eyeglasses have utilized a special lens that changes prescriptions in different areas to allow patients to see clearly at any distance. When children don’t have to squint or strain their eyes to try to see clearly, it reduces the stress placed on the eyes and is the driving reason behind their use for myopia control. While some studies vary on the effectiveness of multifocal eyeglasses, a recent study found that it slowed the progression of nearsightedness by just over 50 percent when compared with patients who wore regular eyeglasses over the same period of time.
These contact lenses work in the same fashion as the eyeglasses. There are different parts of the contact that have a different prescription, so patients can see clearly at any distance. The effectiveness of the multifocal contact lenses is about 50 percent better when compared with regular eyeglasses for the same timeframe.
Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, is a long-standing treatment that helps patients slow the progression of myopia without having to wear any type of corrective lens during the day. Decades ago, doctors thought that if they could reshape the eye, that it may hold its shape even when not wearing a lens. Through research, they found that gas permeable lenses did have some ability to help the eye maintain the correct shape. Orthokeratology uses these gas permeable lenses to place gentle pressure on the eye to correct a patient’s vision. However, rather than looking through the lenses during the day, patients put them on at night just before bed. When you wake up in the morning, you can take the contacts out and go about your day with a perfectly clear vision, no surgery needed! The results of these lenses are temporary but can last up to three days without wearing them at night.
If your child has been diagnosed with myopia, or nearsightedness, call Lakeside Eye Associates today to schedule a consultation. We would love to show you how we can help with all your vision needs.