Myopia is a very common issue throughout the world. Approximately 1/3 of the population in the United States have the condition and over 90% of several East Asian countries suffer from myopia. While myopia may seem like such a common condition that shouldn’t be cause for concern, it is actually associated with several very serious conditions.
Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a condition where individuals are able to see objects that are close to them but have difficulty distinguishing things at a distance, such as road signs or leaves on a tree. These individuals often squint at objects that are further away to try and help bring them into focus.
Currently, there is no known cure for myopia and recent studies suggest that the more advanced your myopia gets, the more serious the effects can be on your vision and eye health. This has led eye professionals to look for ways to slow the progression of myopia in children and young adults as the eyes typically change more rapidly during this time and slowing down myopia progression during these years has a huge payoff.
Most people who are nearsighted find that their eyesight gets progressively worse as they get older. This deterioration may or may not be rapid, but it can end in patients becoming dependent on very high prescriptions. Studies have found that patients who have high myopia are at a higher risk to develop serious eye problems in the future, including myopic degeneration and retinal detachment. Keeping myopia levels under control can improve your child's eye health as an adult and improve their quality of life and opportunities in the future.
There are a few different treatments for myopia that have proven to be effective in a number of studies. Of course, to ensure you find the most effective choice for you, be sure to consult with Dr. Kubota so she can review your case and recommend the best options for you.
Computer or Multifocal Eyeglasses and Multifocal Contact Lenses | These specialty contact lenses and eyeglasses are designed to help reduce strain on the eyes during close work. They have shown great success at slowing the progression of myopia over a three-year period when compared with individuals who wore a standard prescription lenses.
MiSight Contact Lenses | MiSight is a new 1-Day soft contact lens specifically designed for myopia control and is FDA approved to slow the progression of myopia in children. Misight contact lenses have been clinically proven to reduce the progression of myopia and to be safe for children. The benefits are that soft contact lenses are more easily tolerated, inserted and removed than rigid gas permeable contact lenses so they are more child-friendly. The daily disposable modality is also more hygenic because the children get to use clean lenses with no build up every day without struggling with the daily responsibility of cleaning them. Dr. Kubota is a certified Misight doctor, so if you are interested in slowing the progression of myopia in your child, please consult with Dr. Kubota.
Low Dose Atropine Eye Drops | Atropine Eye Drops: Atropine eye drops help stop the eye from straining and help the muscles relax. The additional stresses that are placed on the eye when straining push the eye further out of its proper shape creating a more elongated and myopic eye. Full strength atropine is similar to the eye drops that are used when you get your eyes dilated but lasts throughout the entire day rather than just a few hours. Low Dose Atropine Eye Drops: A newer type of myopia management uses atropine eye drops in a lower strength. Many studies have shown that low concentration atropine eye drops achieved a reduction in progression of low and moderate childhood myopia with reasonable efficacy, minimal side effects, convenient use and slight rebound effects after discontinuation. Low-dose atropine (0.01%) has emerged as an effective approach, as highlighted by the Atropine in the Treatment of Myopia studies (ATOM1 and ATOM2).
Corneal Refractive Therapy Lenses | Corneal refractive therapy, also known as CRT or Orthokeratology, uses special rigid gas permeable (hard) contact lenses that are worn overnight and apply light pressure to the cornea in order to reshape it so that light is refracted correctly, and focuses clearly on the retina. The cornea is able to retain this new shape even after the contact lenses are removed the next morning, so the patient can continue to see clearly for several hours. The more consistently you wear your CRT lenses overnight, the longer your eyes will learn to retain their new shape and eventually, patients can sometimes get up to 48 hours of clear vision without using prescription lenses. However, the effects aren’t permanent so if you stop wearing the lenses, your vision will gradually return back to normal over the course of a few days. Corneal refractive therapy was initially developed as a treatment to correct and slow the progression of nearsightedness. However, it has also been found to be effective at controlling other refractive errors, including farsightedness and astigmatism.
If you notice that your child is having a difficult time seeing objects that are far away, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Many parents notice changes in their children's behavior or grades in school, their ability to play sports, or that they may even be pulling back from playing with friends. Treating myopia as quickly as possible can help to reduce your child’s chances of developing a serious eye condition that can threaten their ability to see the world around them. Call today and schedule an appointment to see how we can help your child.