What an exciting opportunity to finally have some control into how nearsighted your child will be! Gone are the days where we simply prescribe new glasses and wait to see how much change will happen every year. Now you, and your child, have options.
What is Myopia?
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common eye condition that causes blurry vision in the distance. The reason objects are blurry is because the eye is stretching as your child grows. With normal growth, the eyes lengthen marginally and no prescription is needed. However, there are instances when the eyes lengthen faster and longer than normal growth rates, and this causes blurry vision. We can correct this blurry vision with a pair of glasses or contact lenses, but most of these do not slow down the abnormal lengthening of your child’s eyes.
The Myopia Epidemic
Your child is not alone in this! The prevalence of myopia has doubled in the past 20 years, and it is predicted that more than 50% of the world’s population will become nearsighted by 2050. Post-pandemic, we have seen a surge in myopia progression in young children. In the United States alone, more than 40% of people are nearsighted, and that number is increasing among school-age children.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia is caused by two factors: genetics and lifestyle. If one or both parents are nearsighted, the risk that a child will also be increases to 33% and 50%, respectively. If neither parent is myopic, there is still a 1 in 4 risk of the child developing myopia. Studies have shown that decreased time spent outdoors, prolonged time on digital devices, and insufficient lighting levels also increase the chance of myopia onset and progression.
Why is Myopia Concerning?
Myopia is a common diagnosis in childhood. However, myopia can progress and worsen over time because of abnormal eye stretching. This uncontrolled growth can potentially lead to severe sight-threatening conditions later in life, such as:
- Retinal detachment
- Early-onset cataracts
- Myopic maculopathy
Studies have shown that myopia affects a child’s development, psychological well-being, self-esteem, confidence, athletic ability, academic ability, social interactions, and daily functioning. Anxiety tends to be higher with higher levels of myopia, and individuals’ perception of themselves tends to be lower compared to other in regards to appearance, performance, and social life.
It is important to start myopia management early during childhood to slow down myopia progression. By keeping the prescription stable, we can slow the rate of your child’s eye stretching, therefore keeping your child’s future bright.
While there is nothing wrong with traditional glasses and contacts lenses, a myopia management program gives you the power to control how much prescription your child will ultimately have, while decreasing the risk of sight-threatening conditions and keeping their futures wide-open.
Myopia Management Packages
Vista Eye Associates offers three Myopia Management Packages to help slow down your child’s myopia progression. At the Myopia Consult, the doctor will work with you and your child to determine which program is the most effective option based on his/her prescription and lifestyle. Please be aware that your myopia management option may involve off-label use.
Ortho-K Contact Lenses
Ortho-K lenses (also known as orthokeratology) are unique rigid gas permeable contact lenses designed to correct myopia by safely reshaping your child’s cornea while he/she sleeps. The lenses are removed in the morning, and your child may then be able to go throughout the day without the need for any correction. Please click here to learn more about Ortho-K Lenses.
MiSight® Contact Lenses
MiSight® 1 Day contact lenses are daily disposable soft lenses your child wears during the day. These treatment lenses are FDA-approved to slow myopia progression during the growing years using ActivControl™ Technology, while simultaneously correcting your child’s vision. Learn more about MiSight lenses here.
Atropine sulfate eye drops are low-concentration dilation drops that are instilled into your child’s eyes once every evening. When used in conjunction with glasses or contacts, these eye drops reduce myopia progression.
Keep Myopia Away, Go Outside and Play
Environmental factors have caused a surge in myopia onset and progression across the globe. Work with your child to apply these changes to their life to help slow down myopia progression:
- Spend at least two hours a day outdoors
- Limit time spent on digital devices to less than two hours a day
- Establish an appropriate reading distance (16 inches) by holding books/devices in his/her lap
- Take breaks! Every 20 minutes of device use, look 20 feet away, for 20 seconds
Check out the websites below to learn more about Myopia Management and your child’s options today. At Vista Eye Associates, we are passionate about providing our patients with clear vision, while also protecting their future sight. Schedule an appointment today to find out if your child can benefit from myopia management. Call (817) 431-4100 or request an appointment through our website to meet with our doctors and the friendly, knowledgeable team at our vision center in Fort Worth