The prevalence of myopia is increasing worldwide, and it is predicted that 50% of the world population will be myopic by 2050. Myopia can eventually lead to blindness and significantly increases the risk of vision-threatening disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
At Sunrise Specialty Lens & Dry Eye Institute, we utilize the latest innovative, cutting-edge technology to manage and control myopia in children and adults. Myopia control involves various treatment methods for slowing myopia progression that has shown to be effective, such as orthokeratology (Ortho K), atropine, and dual-focused lenses.
What Is Myopia?
Myopia (Nearsightedness) is a common eye condition that begins in childhood, worsens in the teenage years, and may also progress to adulthood. The condition happens when you can see objects near you clearly while objects that are further away seem blurry. Myopia occurs when the eye shape causes light rays to refract (bend) incorrectly, meaning your eye focuses light in front of your retina instead of into it. The retina’s function is to convert the light that enters your eye into electric signals and send them to the brain for visual recognition, creating the images you see.
Typically, glasses or regular contact lenses are used to correct myopia. However, they do not address the underlying problem, and your child’s prescription might increase into young adulthood. Controlling your child’s myopia prevents the condition from worsening and preserves their distance vision. Studies have shown that children with myopia should spend at least one hour outside daily. This is because there is a reduction of myopia progression and decreased risk of new myopia onset for every hour per week spent outdoors.
Various therapies are effective in myopia control, such as:
Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is also known as:
- Gentle Vision Shaping System (GVST)
- CRT (Corneal Reshaping Therapy)
- Vision Shaping Treatment (VST)
- Corneal Molding
- Corneal reshaping
Ortho-K lenses have been proven effective and safe in correcting refractive errors and helping control or slow down the progression of myopia in children and grownups. Ortho-K is a customizable, specially designed rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens that fits the eye’s shape and corrects the refractive error. The lenses are worn overnight to safely and gently reshape the cornea for clear and sharp vision. Before fitting, your child’s eyes should undergo a full Ortho-K assessment and an eye health evaluation for a customized prescription.
Since 2005, the FDA-approved, minimally invasive treatment clears vision without glasses, daytime contacts, or the risks of surgery while controlling myopic degeneration. Ortho- K is a great choice for anyone who does not want the hassle of prescription glasses or contact lenses and wants to reach their overnight vision goals while minimizing health risks.
The lenses are comfortable since air can pass through and enter the eyes. The treatment schedule is easy; it takes place during the night; thus, the reshaping lenses are applied before sleeping. The lenses are removed in the morning and placed in a special sterile storage case. You will be given detailed instructions on removing, inserting, and caring for the lenses. Periodic checkups will be necessary to follow up on treatment progress and make any lens adjustments.
Atropine Eye Drops
Low-dose atropine is a significant breakthrough in slowing myopia progression in children. Topical atropine drops dilate the pupils and temporarily relax and paralyze the eye’s focusing muscles and mechanisms. According to research, myopia in children is linked to focusing fatigue which can be controlled by atropine eye drops that successfully disable the focusing mechanism.
Additionally, atropine can be combined with Ortho-K lenses to slow myopia progression in children. Atropine has long-lasting effects that can take a week or more to wear off. When the drops are administered to the eyes, avoid blinking excessively for maximum absorption and effective results.
Atropine eye drops slow down and control myopia progression but does not cure nor reverse it. What it does is stop myopia from progressing and prevent severe eye diseases such as cataracts. Significant results can begin to show at six months. It is essential to go for biannual eye checkups to follow up on treatment progression and ensure that there are no adverse side effects from the therapy. If you stop atropine therapy, your condition might resume as it was before beginning treatment.
FDA-approved disposable dual-focus lenses effectively control myopia in children aged 8 to 12 years old. Researchers have found that dual-focus lenses significantly reduce eyeball elongation or axial length, slowing myopia’s progression and providing clear vision immediately.
With contact lenses, the treatment zones are always in focus so a child can have clear vision in whichever direction they look, unlike when they wear spectacles. Another benefit of contact lenses is that they can be worn by children who are not comfortable wearing eyeglasses.
The lenses are safe and simple to use, with low maintenance, meaning no special solutions, cleaning, or storage is involved. They are disposed of daily, and a fresh pair is put on the next day. They also allow a natural field of view without the obstruction of frames.
For more information about myopia control, contact Sunrise Specialty Lens & Dry Eye Institute today to find out how we can help.