Five Ways to Slow Myopia as a Teenager
Approximately 30% of adolescents are affected by myopia. This common vision disorder is an accelerating problem typically diagnosed in children between the ages of 6-14. Children are at higher risk of developing myopia if one or both of their parents are nearsighted, as the disorder has a strong genetic component. However, myopia can also develop due to environmental factors and lifestyle, such as limited time spent outdoors and increased time spent in front of computer screens and electronic devices.
Early intervention provides the best opportunity to slow myopic progression and protect a child’s vision for decades. Here are five ways to slow myopia in children and teenagers:
- Atropine drop therapy is a treatment that can be used alone but is especially effective when used in conjunction with center distance multifocal lenses or orthokeratology (more on this option below) to slow the progression of myopia effectively. These drops are provided in a low dose to relax the eye and have been found to deliver maximum benefits when treating children ages 8 to 15.
- Multifocal soft lenses have been evaluated for slowing myopic progression and have proven very effective. CooperVision MiSight lenses are the first FDA-approved lenses for controlling myopia progression in children. These soft, dual-focus contact lenses are most effective in children ages 8-15 when myopic progression is known to advance quickly. MiSight contact lenses are daily disposable contact lenses custom fit by an optometrist to provide optimal vision correction.
- Ortho-K clinically referred to as Orthokeratology, is a proven corneal reshaping therapy and a top choice of eye care professionals for controlling myopia. This non-surgical technology successfully treats and controls myopia using customized, hard contact lenses that work to temporarily reshape a child’s cornea or front outer surface of the eye. Ortho-K lenses gradually place pressure on the cornea to flatten it. This changes the way light entering the eye is focused. These specialized lenses are worn overnight and then removed during the day. This treatment temporarily corrects vision for daily activities and supports an active lifestyle. While this intervention is best employed as close to myopic onset as possible, there are no age limitations with Ortho-K lenses.
- Spend more time outdoors! Increasing time spent outside provides the eyes with a break from focusing up close and allows them to practice focusing on distant objects. This preventative method can be started at any age, but the earlier, the better to reduce the risk of developing myopia. A meta-analysis and systematic review revealed that encouraging children to play outside for at least one hour per day can be beneficial in reducing the risk for myopia development.
- Limit time spent in front of electronic devices as much as possible. With tablets and computers being used in school for learning, plus the time spent on them recreationally, it is essential to make sure your child takes regular breaks from screens to focus on distant objects.
If you would like to learn more about the different options that you have to slow the impact of myopia in your teenager, we encourage you to get in touch with our office today and schedule an appointment!