Millions of people in the world suffer from myopia. Also known as nearsightedness, it is the most common refractive eye condition in the world. Refractive eye conditions are those that occur due to a problem with the way that light is refracted by the eyes, causing blurred vision. Someone with myopia can see nearby objects clearly, but those that are middle or further distance away appear increasingly blurred. This means that prescription corrective lenses are needed to improve the clarity of their vision.
Myopia can develop at any age, but most commonly starts during childhood. This is thought to be due to a growth spurt that causes the eye to grow too long compared to its focusing power. An increasing number of children are being diagnosed with myopia every year. An increasing number of parents are also choosing for their child to have myopia management treatment to keep their myopia under control.
While being near-sighted may not sound serious and will not cause your child to go blind, it does have an effect on their everyday life, and they will need prescription lenses either in the form of glasses or contact lenses to be able to see clearly. Unfortunately, that’s not the only issue with myopia.
Myopia is a progressive condition. In short, it gets worse without treatment. If your child doesn’t have treatment to control their myopia when they are younger, they are much more likely to have high myopia when they are older. This means more complex (and usually more expensive!) prescriptions. They are also more likely to suffer from some types of eye disease including glaucoma, cataracts and a detached retina – all of which can have the potential to cause significant or even permanent vision loss.
An early diagnosis of myopia and starting myopia management promptly is the best way to protect your child from the long-term risks of myopia.
Myopia management refers to a treatment plan that is designed to keep myopia levels under control. There are several different techniques that your eye doctor may recommend to do this, including:
They make look like regular prescription glasses, but myopia management glasses have a special lens that changes the focus in your child’s peripheral vision to help slow the progress of myopia.
If your child is comfortable with wearing contact lenses, they may prefer to wear soft daily disposable contacts that work in the same way as the glasses – by changing the focus of light in their peripheral vision.
Atropine eyedrops have been proven to be effective at slowing the progression of myopia. Administered daily, they also soften the focus of the eyes.
Also known as ortho-k and one of the latest treatments for myopia, it uses bespoke contact lenses which are worn overnight and work by reshaping the cornea while your child sleeps. The next morning, your child removes them and will find that their eyes retain their new shape during the day, enabling them to see clearly without using prescription glasses or contact lenses. Ortho-k has been shown to be very successful at slowing the rate at which myopia develops.
Although there’s no definitive age requirement for starting myopia management, most eye doctors recommend that a child begins treatment as soon as possible. High myopia in adulthood is much more likely if a child develops myopia in early childhood, such as before their 10th birthday. Research indicates that the earlier a child becomes myopic, the faster their eyesight is likely to deteriorate so early diagnosis and prompt treatment is crucial.
For more information about myopia management or to schedule an appointment, please call Hedges Eye Care in Newberry, Florida at (352) 306-1103 today.