Helping Your Child See the World
During a children’s eye exam, one of the main vision problems our optometrists look for is myopia. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common refractive error that affects nearly 30% of Americans. While we love any excuse to showcase our favorite glasses, risks associated with high myopia combined with an increase in children with myopia have encouraged ongoing research into controlling myopia progression. There’s currently no cure for myopia, but there are several control methods that are shown to effectively slow myopia, especially in children.
What Is Myopia?
Myopia is an error in the way light refracts when it enters your eye. To process clear images, light needs to land on the retina. In an eye with myopia, light lands in front of the retina instead, causing distant objects to appear blurry and out of focus.
Blurred vision occurs because the eye’s shape prevents light from bending correctly: the eye is either too long, or the cornea is too steep. The exact cause of myopia isn’t known, but theories suggest it’s likely caused by a complex combination of genetics, increased close work (like computer work or reading), and reduced time outdoors.
Myopia in Children
Myopia usually first develops during childhood. The eyes grow rapidly in early childhood and more slowly in adolescence.
Children who develop myopia around age 6 to 8 have a higher chance of developing high myopia because their eyes have more time to grow. Children who develop myopia around age 12 or onwards have a lesser risk for high myopia, because their eye growth is already slowing down.
High myopia increases the risk of:
These risks make it all the more important to slow the progression of myopia, especially in younger children.
Myopia Control Methods
Fortunately, studies show there are several effective methods of controlling myopia while the eyes are still growing.
Some of the most effective methods of myopia control include:
- Low-dose atropine drops: This topical eye drop is shown to be effective for myopia control in children between 8 and 18.
- Peripheral defocus contact lenses: These specialty contact lenses create a bullseye in the center of the lens with outer rings that blur peripheral vision. Blurred side vision is believed to slow myopia growth.
- Orthokeratology contact lenses: Ortho-k contact lenses flatten the cornea overnight, providing clear vision when they’re removed in the morning. The effects are temporary, and the eye will return to normal if your child stops wearing them.
Some studies also suggest that increasing the time your child spends outside is enough to slow myopia. Students who spend more than 200 minutes a week outdoors were found to have less shifting towards myopia.
Book Your Appointment Today
Myopia isn’t without its risks, but ongoing research is discovering more and more effective methods of slowing its progression. At Total Vision in Rancho Bernardo, our eye care team is committed to improving your child’s life through an extraordinary standard of care. If you would like to learn more about myopia control methods for your child, please call us soon to book a children’s eye exam!
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- Phone: 858-487-5555
- Fax: 858-487-3654
- Email: [email protected]
- 11717 Bernardo Plaza Court
- San Diego, CA 92128
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