Myopia Control in Children
Myopia, or nearsightedness as it is more commonly known, affects more children than commonly believed in the past. The main reason for its going undiagnosed is that, for children who are myopic, being unable to see objects or individuals from a distance, is life as usual. It is all they have ever known so they do not realize that not everyone has to squint to see the blackboard clearly. Those who are diagnosed early are fortunate in that a parent or teacher noticed, and as a result they were tested by an optometrist at one of our Epic Vision Eye Centers in Kansas or Missouri.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia affects 9% of children between the ages of 5 and 17 and tends to manifest itself when a youngster is about 6 or 7. The jury is still out as to its root cause. Ask one eye doctor and he may tell you it is genetic. Ask another and he may say it is a result of reading excessively, holding a book too close to the face, or sitting too close to the screen of a computer or mobile device. The problem, as anyone who is myopic well knows, is that although eyeglasses and contact lenses do a good job of correcting distance vision, the effect is like applying a band-aid. Children eventually need a stronger prescription lens. In fact, there are some optometry researchers who believe that corrective lenses increase the risk that a child's myopia will worsen as she progresses through her childhood years.
But the news is not all bad. These same optometric researchers have come up with treatments that, while they will not cure myopia, will slow down, or control the progression of myopia in children.
Because studies suggest focusing fatigue may instigate childhood nearsightedness, many eye doctors are recommending several treatments that can reduce eye fatigue and stress by changing the structure of the eye and the way it focuses. These myopia control treatments include
- administering atropine eye drops
- prescribing multifocal contact lenses
- orthokeratology which uses nighttime gas permeable lenses that incrementally change the structure of the night while the wearer sleeps and are removed each morning
- prescribing multifocal eyeglasses which while effective do not produce as promising results as multifocal contact lenses.
What makes myopia control effective in children is that it works best while nearsightedness is gradually progressing. For this same reason, although it does improve vision in adults, the results are not as good. This is yet another reason that parents should observe their children for signs of myopia so it can be treated, and if our optometrist deems it appropriate, can begin with any of the above myopia control treatments before the problem has progressed too far.
Myopia Control in Missouri and Kansas
However, myopia may be developing before your child begins to squint or resort to close-up reading. Scheduling an appointment for your child to undergo a comprehensive with an eye doctor at one of our Epic Vision Eye Centers in Missouri and Kansas takes but a moment, yet it can save your child from a lifetime of myopia. Call us to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.