Your child’s vision is crucial for reading, learning, and playing, but certain eye conditions can affect their vision. One of these conditions is myopia, but it can affect more than eyesight. This condition can increase the risk of eye disease.
If your child has myopia, what is the best treatment they can receive? Continue reading to learn more about myopia, including the most effective treatments available for this condition.
What is Myopia?
Myopia is a refractive error causing blurry vision from far distances while close-up objects appear clear. Light entering the eye is focused in front of the retina rather than directly on it so that distant objects appear blurred. Almost 30% of Canadians have myopia.
Myopia typically develops in childhood and continues to progress until early adulthood, resulting in a need for stronger glasses over time. This condition may develop gradually or rapidly as your child grows.
- Squinting excessively
- Having headaches
- Having strained eyes
- Blinking persistently
- Seeming unaware of far-away objects
- Rubbing their eyes frequently
- Sitting close to digital screens or the front of the classroom
Your child isn’t likely to realize they have a visual issue if they’ve had it from a young age or if a condition develops gradually, so watch for these myopia symptoms. Your optometrist can diagnose any present eye conditions and recommend an effective treatment plan.
How does myopia develop?
Myopic eyes have a different shape compared to non-myopic eyes. Children with myopia have eyes that have grown too quickly or continue to grow after age 10 to 12, resulting in longer eyes or a cornea with a steep curvature. This unique shape causes incoming light to focus incorrectly.
Risk factors for myopia include:
The Risks of Myopia
It’s a nuisance to need glasses or contacts, but myopia can affect your vision more than you think. Myopia increases your risk of several eye diseases, including:
This risk of eye disease is present even if someone corrects their vision with surgery. Someone with more severe myopia, known as high myopia, has a greater risk of developing a serious condition.
If your child has myopia, their vision may worsen as this condition progresses. Myopia tends to stabilize in adulthood, but this progression can cause a mild case to worsen and increase your child’s risk of eye disease.
If your child has myopia, what’s the best treatment you can offer them?
What’s the Best Treatment for Myopia?
If your child has myopia, the best thing you can do for them is schedule regular eye exams. Annual appointments allow your optometrist to track any changes in your child’s vision.
At home, you can ensure your child has enough time spent outdoors. Up to 2 hours outside is recommended for all children. It’s shown that outdoor activity can lead to later onset and possibly reduce myopia progression.
Medically, your eye doctor has several methods they can use to manage your child’s myopia. These treatments include:
- Multifocal soft contact lenses
- Orthokeratology (ortho-k)
- Atropine eye drops
- Specialized eyeglasses
No treatment is the overall best, but your optometrist can help determine the most effective for your child. The best myopia treatment is the one that meets their unique needs.
Myopia treatments focus on preventing or slowing eyeball growth. Your optometrist can measure your child’s eye length during the treatment process to help provide the highest level of care.
Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses
Multifocal soft contact lenses, such as MiSight daily disposables, can help manage myopic progression. These lenses feature concentric rings that help images focus.
MiSight lenses help slow eye elongation, and a 3-year study found these lenses reduce myopic progression by up to 59%.
Orthokeratology, or ortho-k, is a contact lens that reshapes the cornea overnight. These hard contacts gently shape the cornea as your child sleeps, providing them with clear vision without glasses or contact lenses throughout the day.
Ortho-k lenses help slow eyeball elongation and are an effective form of myopia control.
Atropine Eye Drops
Low-dose atropine eye drops can effectively treat myopia, slowing progression by almost 50%. It is thought to work by interacting with the eye’s receptors that help control eye growth in various tissues. There are many atropine doses, but the suggested dosage is usually 0.05% to 0.01% to minimize the risk of potential side effects while effectively controlling myopia progression.
Eyeglasses with specialized focusing properties, like MiyoSmart, can help slow myopic progression. These glasses utilize DIMS technology to slow myopia with a clear central zone for vision correction and multiple defocus segments in a ring shape surrounding the middle of the lens. A previous study uncovered that DIMS technology resulted in less myopic progression and axial elongation by approximately 60% throughout 3 years.
Another type of specialized eyeglasses is Stellest lenses. They are also beneficial for the management of myopia and can correct and control this condition. In a recent two-year study, Stellest lenses slowed myopia progression by 67% and axial length by 60% on average when worn 12 hours daily.
All of these treatments can help protect your child’s vision from worsening. A myopia management consult will allow your optometrist to make a recommendation for the treatment that is best for your child.
Your Child’s Vision is Important
Good vision is vital for understanding the world around us, and your child deserves clear and effective eyesight. Myopia can increase the risk of serious eye diseases, but your optometrist can help.
If your child has symptoms of myopia or if it has been over a year since their last eye examination, contact your eye doctor.