Middle Village And Mineola Eye Care For Children
Myopia is a refractive error, better known as nearsightedness. Typically, this vision condition appears in kids around the age of 8-12, during their elementary school years. Until recently, the standard treatment for myopia was always to prescribe eyeglasses – and that was it.
Yet eye care specialists are now giving nearsightedness more attention, and research studies are exploring ways to control myopia. Why? Our eye doctor at 20/20 Eyecare, in Mineola and Middle Village, NY, explains:
Reasons For Myopia Control
Nearsightedness is becoming increasingly common. At present, the number of Americans between the ages of 12-54 with myopia is close to 50%, and the numbers are growing to epidemic proportions. In addition, research has demonstrated a close link between high myopia and eye diseases that can threaten vision in the future. Risks to ocular health include:
- Higher chance of developing cataracts and a decreased effectiveness of cataract surgery
- 4-10 times increased risk of retinal tears and detachment, depending upon the severity of the myopia
- 200% increase in the risk of glaucoma
Therefore, there is good reason to reduce the progression of myopia.
Types Of Myopia Control
Now that we have established the need for myopia control in children, you may be wondering how it is possible to slow the progression of nearsightedness. Myopia control is currently a hot topic amongst eye doctors, and there are a few different types of treatment. In our Mineola and Middle Village eye care centers, we will perform a thorough pediatric eye exam in order to recommend the most suitable myopia control.
Orthokeratology, AKA Ortho-k
Vision shaping ortho-k lenses can slow the pace of eye growth and reduce the elongation process of kids’ eyes – thereby providing myopia control. Essentially, wearing these specialized gas permeable contact lenses during sleep reshapes your child’s cornea.
During the day, ortho-k lenses are removed, yet the effects remain for a few days. Ortho-k contacts must therefore be worn nightly; similar to the way a retainer is worn to reinforce the new position of teeth after orthodontics. Numerous studies published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology conclude that ortho-k is safe and highly efficient as a non-invasive way to treat and control myopia in kids.
Clinical studies show that soft multifocal contact lenses designed with a central zone for seeing distance can slow elongation of the eye and the continuing advance of nearsightedness. This particular design of contact lenses appears to provide sharp vision by focusing light directly on the retina.
In a 2014 study in Hong Kong, children who wore this type of multifocal lenses for five hours per day had 25% less myopia progression than those who wore single vision lenses over a two-year span.
Atropine Eye Drops
Research supports the use of atropine for pediatric myopia control, however there are numerous undesirable side effects to this topical medication. Patients may experience pupil dilation, glare, and loss of the ability to focus. Although studies are encouraging for this drug, the FDA has not approved its use for myopia control.
Boost Outdoor Playtime
When children spend more time outdoors – as opposed to indoors and gazing at a digital tech gadget – it appears to lower the speed of myopia progression.
Bring Your Child For A Mineola And Middle Village Eye Exam!
As your kid’s eyes grow throughout childhood, myopia generally grows and worsens too, until the eyes stabilize at about 20 years old. Even if you or your child do not notice any changes or have any vision complaints, our eye doctor strongly recommends visiting for a routine eye exam in Mineola or Middle Village.
Remember, if myopia worsens and your child’s vision prescription isn’t up-to-date, it can threaten classroom learning and cognitive development. When eye exams lead constantly to a stronger vision prescription, it is time to inquire whether your child is a good candidate for myopia control. Call our Middle Village or Mineola eye care center to schedule a consultation.