What is myopia? The layman’s term is “nearsighted”. This means you can see well for “near” and not as well for distance. When myopia occurs in children it is almost always progressive.
a) As myopia increases glasses look thicker on the edges which can cause patients to be unhappy with the appearance of the glasses
b) If the amount of myopia increases above -6.00, patients are then statistically at higher risk for retinal problems such as holes or breaks which can lead to retinal detachment. The risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration also increases in high myopia.
Parents of myopic children often ask if there is anything that can be done to slow down or stop the progression of the child’s myopia. In the past, doctors would advise under-correcting myopia. Unfortunately, more recent studies have shown that this treatment did not work. In fact, wearing a lower power has now been shown to stimulate the eyes to become even more nearsighted. More recent studies are showing that there are 3 options to attempt to slow down the progression of nearsightedness.
Orthokeratology is a corneal reshaping process that is currently thought to have the most potential to slow down the progression of nearsightedness. Studies are showing that it slows myopia. Patients wear a re-shaping lens and night and then remove it in the morning—usually needing no glasses or contact lenses during the day. For more information about corneal reshaping click here.
These are eyedrops that are put in the child’s eyes every day. This is a lower concentration of atropine than is commercially available, which decreases risk of side effects. At a consultation, the doctor can discuss which option(s) appears to be the best for your child.