Myopia (nearsightedness) is an eye disorder in which the corneal curvature or eye length increases. This causes you to have a clear vision when you look at objects that are close to you, and blurred vision when you look at objects that are away from you. The National Eye Institute says that a third of the U.S. population suffers from myopia. Delaying the progress of this eye condition is important, especially in children. If you want to understand how to slow down myopia, here’s what you need to know about myopia management (formerly known as myopia control).
Experts have tested multifocal eyeglasses for the control of myopia in children. A study in 2003 concluded that multifocal glasses slowed down myopia in children by a significant percentage. This result was only evident during the first year of wearing the glasses but not in the next couple of years. A follow-up three-year study in 2014 showed that children who wore bifocal eyeglasses and bifocal lenses with prism had a significant delay in the progression of their myopia.
Many eye experts have always used atropine eye drops for myopia management. Even so, this method usually has short-term outcomes. When used topically, atropine can relax your eye’s focusing abilities and dilate your pupil. Your eye doctor may use atropine drops on your eyes during your eye exam. These drops usually wear off after two hours.
Experts discovered that myopia in children may be associated with focusing on fatigue. To stop the eyes from focusing, the researchers used atropine. The results of the study were remarkable during the first year of the atropine treatment. It was evident that the myopia progression in the young subjects had an 81 percent reduction. To extend the effects of atropine in myopia management, the researchers reduced the concentration from 0.1 or 0.5 percent to 0.01 percent.
Ortho-K or orthokeratology lenses are special gas permeable lenses that you only wear at night when you sleep. This corrects vision problems temporarily. With Ortho-K lenses, you don’t need to wear corrective contacts or eyeglasses when you’re awake. Eye specialists refer to these lenses as CRT (corneal refractive therapy) or corneal reshaping lenses.
Many eye doctors use Ortho-K lenses to delay the progression of myopia in children. Research shows that diagnosed children who wear Ortho-K lenses for many years can have a significant reduction in their myopia progression.
Varied zones in these lenses are designed to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, and presbyopia. Multifocal lenses work whether you have astigmatism or not. A 2010 study showed that the children who wore multifocal lenses for six months had a myopia reduction of 54 percent.
Myopia management can benefit patients whose myopia was detected early during childhood. At Kennedy Vision Health Center, we encourage parents to bring their child in for regular routine eye exams. That way, we can help catch myopia during its early stages and treat it immediately. You can visit our clinics in Plymouth and Elk River, Minnesota, for a one-on-one consultation. Please call us at 763-296-2600 (Plymouth) or 763-296-2700 (Elk River). That way, we can help you schedule your appointment. We can also answer your questions about our myopia management methods.