What is myopia control?
“Myopia control” is the term used to describe specific treatments to slow the progression of nearsightedness (myopia) in children.
There are two main ways to control myopia with specialized contact lenses.
- Orthokeratology Contact Lenses (corneal reshaping lenses)
- Distance Center Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses
- Atropine Eye Drops
Orthokeratology has been around for many years but recent studies have shown that these specially design contact lenses aid in reducing myopia progression. Myopia (nearsightedness) in children occurs due to elongation of the eye leading to increased risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and increased floaters. Myopia is becoming increasingly common as the NEI reports that prevalence in the United States has almost doubled in 30 years. Research shows Ortho-K slows down eye growth by more than 50% compared to standard soft lenses and glasses.
By reshaping the corneal tissue, orthokeratology lenses function similar to orthodontists’ use of braces for teeth, holding the shape of the cornea and altering how light is refracted to reduce the optical factors that are thought to cause an increase in myopia. Once the lenses are removed in the morning, the slight change in the curvature of the corneal surface results in clear vision during waking hours, thus reducing the need of daytime contact lenses or glasses. Orthokeratology has many peer-reviewed, randomized and some longitudinal studies that show it is an effective method to reduce the progression of myopia and, in many cases, halt it altogether.
Distance Center Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses
Distance Center Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses are worn precisely the same as regular soft contact lenses. An optical “trick” in the center of the lens has been shown in several studies to slow down the progression of myopia. This method is rapidly gaining in popularity. Recent studies are showing that nearsighted children who wore multifocal lenses on a daily basis had a 50 percent reduction in the progression of their myopia when compared with similarly nearsighted children who wore regular soft contacts for the same period.
MiSight® 1 day myopia control soft contact lenses are the first and only FDA approved product proven to slow the progression of nearsightedness in children aged 8-12 at the initiation of treatment. It is backed by seven years of science and a winner of Popular Science best of what’s new 2020 and Contact Lens Spectrum Product of the year 2020.
The Brilliant Futures Myopia Management Program ensures that your child gets all the short and long term benefits of contact lens wear and the slowing of myopia progression.
Atropine Eye Drops
Low dosage atropine drops taken at night have been shown to decrease myopia progression. Research has suggested nearsightedness in children may be linked to focusing fatigue. Atropine marginally disables the eye’s focusing mechanism to control myopia. This is a great option for children who are unable to wear contact lenses. The doctor will determine if this is an appropriate treatment regimen. Atropine can be used as an alternative to contact lenses or used in conjunction with contact lenses to treat myopia progression more rigorously. Atropine is not FDA approved for myopia control but can be prescribed for “off-label” use.
Are you interested in learning more about myopia control and find out what options are best for you or a family member?
Our eye doctors are experienced and knowledgeable about what options would be best for myopia control. If you have more questions, we’ll be pleased to answer them. We invite you to schedule an appointment by calling 425-659-2020 or online.