At Prism Eye Center, we love that we are able to provide the latest eye care advancements for our youngest patients. A few decades ago, nothing could be done to prevent a child's vision from continuing to worsen. Thankfully, now that is not the case! Read on to learn more about these exciting new options.
Nearsightedness (or myopia) is one of the most common vision conditions diagnosed during an eye exam. For those who are nearsighted, objects in the distance appear blurry because the eye has grown longer than ideal. Genetics are a major cause of myopia, with children of myopic parents at a six times greater risk of developing the problem. However, genetics is not the only issue as the rates of myopia have been dramatically increasing. In the US, myopia increased from just 25 percent in the early 1970s to nearly 42 percent just three decades later! Research shows us that our modern lifestyle is responsible for driving this dramatic change. Children who spend more time doing near work and less time outdoors are much more likely to develop myopia. Because of the increased time, children are now spending on phones, tablets, computers, and other near work (as well as much less time outdoors), we are seeing myopia develop much younger and progress much faster than in the past. To see what various amounts of myopia look like through your child’s eyes.
Although we can’t fully prevent myopia, there are some things that have been shown to delay the onset of myopia in children. Try to make sure children get ample time in the sunlight each day (aim for at least 2 hours per day), limit daily screen time, and encourage frequent breaks from near activities. In addition, make sure children have sufficient lighting levels for near activities. The longer we can delay myopia, the less likely the child is to become highly nearsighted and at risk for problems later on.
This may seem like a simple problem to be fixed by glasses, contacts, or perhaps LASIK later in life. But myopia is now considered a major children’s health issue because moderate and high myopia is associated with complications later in life such as cataracts, glaucoma, myopic macular degeneration, and retinal detachment. Standard eyeglasses and contact lenses can temporarily correct a person’s vision, but they do not treat the underlying problem of myopia or slow its progression. Wearing glasses with stronger/higher prescription numbers can impact a child’s learning, participation in sports/activities, and their overall confidence level. People with more severe myopia are also more limited in their contact lens options, often have worse vision even with glasses on, and may not be a candidate for LASIK if myopia becomes too high. Our goal in myopia management is to protect each child’s future eye health and improve their lifelong vision.
|PSC Cataract||Glaucoma||Retinal Detachment||Myopic Maculopathy|
|-2.00 D||1.6 x higher||1.7 x||3.1 x||2.2 x|
|-4.00 D||3.2 x higher||2.5 x||9.0 x||9.7 x|
|-6.00 D||5.4 x higher||2.5 x||21.5 x||40.6 x|
|-8.00 D||12.3 x higher||N/A||44.2 x||126.8 x|
We now have several proven ways to treat myopia and slow its progression. One exciting new option is specially designed soft contact lenses. In 2019, MiSight became the first and only FDA-approved soft contact lens designed to slow the progression of myopia in children. In clinical trials, MiSight 1-day contact lens slowed the progression of myopia in children by 59% on average, and 41% of eyes had no progression at all! On average, the children wearing MiSight contact lenses progressed less than -1.00D over 6 years. MiSight contacts also allow children to experience clear vision while wearing, giving them freedom from glasses. Contact lenses in children have been shown to greatly increase confidence and self-esteem, an added benefit of this treatment option. Visit www.MiSight.com for more information.
Another treatment commonly used to control the progression of myopia is low-dose atropine drops. Atropine is a medicated eye drop that has been used in eye care for decades, generally at 1% concentration. Numerous research studies have now shown that low-dose (often 0.025%) atropine applied at bedtime slows the progression of myopia. For children that are not good candidates for contacts, these drops can be a very effective way of slowing myopia. Children on atropine treatment will still need glasses to see clearly as the drops only work to slow the progression and not correct the blurred vision myopia causes.
Our doctors have completed advanced training on myopia management through the Brien Holden Vision Institute and are certified MiSight providers through the Brilliant Futures Myopia Management Program. Schedule an evaluation at our clinic to see if your child is a good candidate for myopia control and to learn more.