Myopia (aka near-sightedness) is increasing worldwide and by 2050 it is estimated that 50% of the world’s population, about 5 billion people, will be nearsighted. As myopia continues to develop, it will increase the risk of eye diseases such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. Theories suggest the cause of this epidemic is due to decreased outdoor time and increased use of digital devices. Myopia has become a serious public health concern.
Formerly, the only treatment option for myopia for children younger than 18 years old was corrective lenses including glasses or contacts. However, new options for myopia management include orthokeratology, low concentration atropine eye drops and soft, multifocal contact lenses.
Here at Austin Eye, we are dedicated to serving our patients and offering evidence-based treatment options to help slow your child’s myopic progression. It is our priority to ensure parents and patients are educated on their options and can make an informed decision to help their child achieve their best visual potential.
What is Myopia?
Myopia or nearsightedness occurs when the eye is either too powerful or too long in length, leading to blurry long-distance vision. Generally, vision up-close will be clear for myopic individuals.
How Do I Know if My Child has Myopia?
The best way to determine if your child has myopia is to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. Some signs of myopia may include squinting when looking in the distance, holding items closer or sitting closer to read.
Myopia Management Services:
Atropine Eye Drops
- Atropine eye drops are a pharmaceutical solution and are believed to act via receptors in the retina to reduce myopia progression. The eye drop is formulated into a very low concentration by a compounding pharmacy and is instilled into each eye nightly.
- Orthokeratology is a gentle overnight corneal reshaping therapy. The rigid gas permeable contact lenses are applied before bedtime and removed in the morning upon awakening. Orthokeratology lenses temporarily alter the corneal curvature to correct myopia and eliminate the need to wear glasses or contacts during the day.
Multifocal Contact Lenses
- Soft multifocal contact lenses utilize a dual focus design to correct vision and slow the progression of myopia. Multifocal contact lenses were originally designed for presbyopic adults; however, several research studies have shown a significant slowing of myopia progression in children. The contacts are worn during the day and removed in the evening.
What are the Benefits of Myopia Control?
Reduced risk of visual impairment and dependency on glasses or contacts for a lifetime. Better options and outcomes for surgical myopia correction later in life. By reducing the progression of myopia, there will be lower rates of retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataract.
How Long Does Treatment Last?
Myopia management treatment should be continued until progression stops. Your eye doctor may switch treatments for your child as needed.
What Makes Austin Eye Unique?
Austin Eye utilizes state-of-the-art technology to monitor myopia progression. Specifically, Lenstar technology, which measures eye elongation, a key determinant of myopia development.
Contact Austin Eye at 512-250-2020 to schedule an appointment and learn more about our treatment options