What Is Myopia?
Does your child have difficulty seeing distant objects, such as street signs or the front of the classroom?
These could be symptoms of myopia, or “near-sightedness,” a progressive visual disorder that results in poor distance vision. If the myopia is severe, it will impair near vision as well.
Other signs and symptoms of nearsightedness include squinting, eye strain and headaches.
In addition to weakening vision, it also changes the physical structure of the eye. It can steepen the front surface of the eye (cornea) and/or stretch the retina (axial elongation).
These changes increase the risk of future eye disease (see The Dangers of Myopia). It is one of the leading causes of blindness around the world and has a direct association with retinal detachments and glaucoma.
The Dangers Of Myopia
Myopia and its progressive disorders can cause abnormal or adverse ocular changes. High myopia may cause thinning and weakening of the retina (the thin membrane at the back of the eye that contains the rods and cones). Abnormal stretching or elongation of the eye may pull on the vitreous (the gel substance that fills the eye) which in turn pulls on the retina leading to its detachment. A detached retina can lead to blindness. This elongating process can also cause “lattice-like” holes to occur in the peripheral retina. These holes can allow fluid to seep under the retina– lifting and detaching it. Again, possibly leading to a permanent loss of sight.
Moderate to high myopic people are twice as likely to develop glaucoma. (Mitchell 2000). Further, the detection of myopia is much more difficult due to the deforming of the optic nerve head as a result of ocular elongation. The optic nerve head is one of the structures closely examined for changes due to glaucoma. It is difficult to determine if the changes are due to myopic stretching or glaucoma.
Treating Myopia Before It Progresses
New research suggests nearsighted children who undergo several years of myopia treatment may end up with less myopia as adults, compared with children who wear eyeglasses or regular contact lenses during the peak years for myopia progression.
If your child has nearsightedness, it is likely that each year you are told their vision is worse and the glasses or contacts need to be stronger. Have you ever wondered if there is something to help slow or even stop the progression of myopia? If so, our doctors can recommend a treatment program for your child.
Treating Myopia With Orthokeratology
Paragon CRT (Paragon Vision Sciences) is a specific brand of corneal reshaping lenses, ortho-k, that has a proprietary lens design and fitting methodology, called corneal refractive therapy (CRT). These specially designed lenses that your child wears during sleep. At night, while they sleep, the lens gently reshapes your cornea. When they wake up, they can take off their lenses and have a clear view all day without glasses or contact lenses.
Who Can Use Ortho-K?
- Dry eyes sufferers or soft lens users who are uncomfortable with contact lenses towards the end of the day
- Myopic children who play sports and swim
- Short-sighted children who like to be without glasses but cannot afford or are worried about the risks of refractive surgery
- Children with myopia whose eyes are still developing and therefore not candidates for LASIK eye surgery.
- Myopic children and adults who won’t wear their glasses and have been told that their eyes will get worse if they don’t wear their glasses.
- Short-sighted Children who don’t like wearing glasses
- Myopic children who constantly lose or damage their glasses.
At Family Eyecare Center, we offer free Orthokeratology consultations. Schedule an appointment today to see if Corneal Refractive Therapy could help prevent your child’s myopia from further progression.
Treating Myopia with Soft Contact Lenses
Our doctors use specifically designed soft contact lenses that your child wears during the day while awake. The lenses are a daily disposable lens, so every night they are thrown away. There is no cleaning or disinfecting of the contact lenses with this type of lens. A new lens every day.
Treating Myopia with Atropine Eye Drops
Our doctors can prescribe eye drops (Atropine) that can help slow the progression of Myopia. Your child can still wear glasses with this option. It requires instilling an eye drop on a daily basis. Some side effects may be a slight headache and blurry vision. Our doctors prefer to reserve this option only if contact lenses aren’t an option for your child.
Each treatment option is billed as an annual program. This includes the initial evaluation, all follow-up appointments, and the annual supply of contact lenses. The program will need to be renewed every 12 months, as long as your child continues the treatment program. The programs are best suited for ages 8 through 20. Myopia control programs are not currently covered by insurance plans. The contact lenses are specifically designed for your child, and are not available on-line or at retail outlets. The Atropine eye drops are not provided by our office, and will need to be purchased at a compounding pharmacy.