The first thing you need to know about myopia in children is that it is nonreversible. Without any form of treatment, it can lead to other ocular health conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, myopic retinal degeneration, and retinal holes. If your child is experiencing symptoms related to myopia you need to schedule a pediatric eye exam to have their eyes checked. Once you have discovered that your child has myopia, the next step is to schedule a myopia control consultation with us.
Children need to have eye exams at six-month intervals from the time they are three years old. When they start school, you will have to schedule their eye exams yearly. During your child’s eye exam, the doctor at Factoria Eye Clinic will conduct a thorough examination using state-of-the-art technology to provide an accurate diagnosis. If your child has myopia our doctor will recommend scheduling a specialized myopia control consultation to do further testing.
During the myopia control consultation, we will review your child’s eye exam findings, take a thorough history of your child’s lifestyle and family history, gather measurements using the OCULUS Pentacam®, and advise on the available options to correct your child’s nearsightedness. Treatments options at our office include custom fit contact lenses and atropine eye drops.
The OCULUS Pentacam used at Factoria Eye Clinic provides topographical information about the curvature and elevation of the posterior and anterior surfaces of the cornea, as well as corneal thickness. With this information, doctors use WAVE software to tailor-make clear and comfortable lenses for children and slow down myopia progression.
Treating myopia not only improves your child’s sight but certain treatments can slow the progression of myopia. Regular contact lenses and eyeglasses will help children see more clearly, and are considered a form of myopia treatment, however they will not slow progression of myopia. Your child may need stronger prescriptions as they grow older if they don’t pursue treatment as quickly as possible. There are certain kinds of specialized contact lenses and drops that can slow down the pace at which myopia develops.
Some of the ways of curbing nearsightedness in children include:
These are multifocal contact lenses with several areas of focus, ideal for children from age 6 to 12. The lenses’ design corrects both nearsightedness and peripheral vision. The central portion of the lens corrects distance vision while the outer part blurs your child’s side vision.
Low-dose atropine eye drops can slow myopia in children. They are ideal for children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 18. Put the atropine drops in each of your child’s eyes at night when they go to bed.
These are custom-fit contact lenses that your child can wear overnight as they sleep. The lenses help restore normal vision during the day by flattening the cornea while the child is asleep. Reshaping their cornea allows them to see distant images more clearly.
Orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses do not permanently correct myopia. Once your child stops wearing them, the cornea will gradually return to its former shape. Unlike regular contact lenses, ortho-k lenses are difficult to fit and need specialized expertise. They also require regular appointments with your child’s doctor.
For more information on what to do if your child has myopia or to schedule an appointment, call Factoria Eye Clinic at our office in Bellevue, Washington, at (425) 641-2020.