The number of young children with myopia has increased significantly in recent years. Myopia (nearsightedness) is a condition that can get worse and cause ocular complications such as increased risk for glaucoma, myopic maculopathy, and retinal detachment. The abnormal growth of the eyeball, the eyeball becomes too elongated, stretches the eye’s internal structures and causes them to be unstable and more prone to certain pathological conditions.

When kids show an increase in myopia year over year (increases in their prescription), it is beneficial for the child to begin myopia control treatments. The goal of all treatment options is to slow down the elongation of the child’s eye. During the myopia control treatment, the doctor will continually monitor changes in glasses prescription and measure the axial length of the eye.

Available Treatments:

Low dose atropine eye drops

Atropine is an eye drop used in eye care to relax the focusing muscles in the eye and dilate the pupil. The typical concentration used for this purpose is 1%. This dose has been studied for myopia control but has significant side effects. The dose used for myopia control is 0.05%. The latest LAMP (Low-Concentration Atropine for Myopia Progression) study showed that atropine 0.05% is the ideal dose to use to slow the growth of the eye and was well-tolerated without causing an adverse effect on vision-related quality of life.

Bifocal Contact Lenses

Soft bifocal contact lenses with a center distance design are worn during the day as a treatment option for myopia control. For kids, it is preferred they use a one-day disposable lens to prevent infections and contact lens overuse. There are limited lens options available.

Orthokeratology (ortho-k)

This is a special, rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens that is worn overnight to reshape the cornea, similar to a dental retainer, and removed in the morning. This reshaping changes the refractive power of the cornea so that glasses are not needed during the day the following day. Some adults are utilizing this lens to be glasses free during the day.

Some studies are suggesting that lack of outdoor light exposure is contributing to the increase in the rate of myopia. Kids are spending more of their time indoors on digital devices. So parents, encourage your kids to spend more time in the great outdoors! Don’t forget about UV protection (sunglasses) for their eyes!

All of the treatment options discussed above have been shown in studies to reduce the progression of myopia and slow down the growth of the eye. Each treatment option has pros and cons that the doctor will discuss with the parent and child. A comprehensive exam with cycloplegic refraction will help the doctor determine the best treatment for each case.

Ask us today if Ortho-k is right for you or your child! Call us at (760) 342-6900 to schedule a consultation.