Does your child’s prescription seem to increase at every annual exam? Are you and your spouse highly near-sighted and have concerns that your child will be as well? If you answered yes to either of those questions, your child may be an excellent candidate for myopia management.
What is Myopia Management?
Myopia management is the use of scientifically-backed interventions to slow the increase of myopia as a child’s visual system develops. At Coal Creek Family Vision we offer three methods of intervention that peer-reviewed research has shown to be exceptionally effective. These methods are:
Peripheral Defocus Soft Contact Lenses:
This approach involves the use of special contact lenses which change the way that light focuses in your child’s eyes. These lenses focus in a way that will reduce a stimulus that causes myopia to increase while still providing very clear and comfortable vision. These lenses are worn during the day and removed at night. We proudly offer the CooperVision MiSight 1-Day contact lens as a treatment option. This lens has received FDA approval for myopia management.
Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) or Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) involves your child wearing a special contact lens while they sleep which safely and temporarily corrects their vision. Much like peripheral defocus contact lenses, this option will change the way light focuses inside the eye in a way that reduces a stimulus that causes myopia. This lens is worn when sleeping each night and removed in the morning.
Atropine Eye Drops:
Atropine is an eye drop that has been safely used for many years to dilate the eyes. The typical dosage used for traditional purposes is 1%. It has been found that Atropine in much lower concentrations has been effective in reducing the development of myopia. Concentrations for myopia management typically range from 0.01% to 0.05%. Typically, side effects from the drop such as light sensitivity or reduced focus are greatly reduced or absent with the use of these low concentrations. Atropine is great for children who are too young for contact lens options. Additionally, this safe option has the added advantage of being able to be combined with contact lens options should a case warrant aggressive therapy.
Current spectacle lens options such as progressive lenses or executive bifocals may offer some benefit. They would be considered a last resort option due to lower expected efficacy and less data to support efficacy rates. As of early 2021, there are some special lenses in development for myopia management, but they are not yet available in the United States. We will update this information when these options are available.
Why should I consider myopia management for my child instead of regular glasses or contacts?
There are many benefits to myopia management and reduction of a child’s final prescription. A patient with a lower prescription will have improved quality of life and lesser dependence on correction for all tasks. Additionally, a patient with a lower prescription will have more options with respect to refractive surgeries like LASIK or SMILE when they reach adulthood. An additional consideration is the long-term health of the eyes. As the rate of nearsightedness (myopia) progresses, the risk for several ocular conditions also increases substantially. Some of these conditions include:
Myopic Macular Degeneration
When should I consider myopia management for my child and what should I do next?
Myopia management appears to be most effective when started earlier. Be sure to keep up with your child’s annual comprehensive eye examinations. At your exam, we will discuss your child’s findings and let you know if myopia management is advisable for your child. This recommendation will be based on risk factors that have been identified through peer-reviewed scientific studies. These risk factors include current prescriptions, parent prescriptions, time spent outdoors, and time spent on digital devices, to name a few.
Where can I learn more about Myopia Management and its benefits?
A great resource to learn more is www.mykidsvision.org. Here you’ll find a wealth of information as well as a great online tool to assess your child’s risk factors.
If your child has not already had their annual eye examination, schedule an appointment today for further assessment.