Treatments for Myopia in Childhood and How to Protect Your Child
Myopia (nearsightedness) is increasingly common in children—and for that reason, many people view it as a condition that isn’t very serious. However, myopia is a potentially damaging eye disease that requires immediate attention once discovered. Untreated myopia can lead to multiple other, more serious eye diseases, including glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment.
In years past, professionals considered eyeglasses an adequate approach to “treating” myopia. It’s critical to recognize that, while glasses can correct vision, they do nothing to address the underlying disease. Fortunately, there are new treatments that may slow the progression of myopia.
Related post: What Is the Main Cause of Myopia?
Here are a few things that you should know to protect your child’s eyes, now and in the future.
Be aware of the risk factors for myopia
You may think that there’s no way to know whether your child will have myopia, but there are some common environmental and hereditary factors that make the condition more likely.
All children should have regular eye exams. Be on the lookout for signs of vision problems, particularly if your child has risk factors such as:
- A family history of myopia
- Limited time spent outdoors
- Excessive time spent reading or working with digital devices (computers, tablet, smart phone, etc.)
Related post: Hyperopia and Myopia: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment
Schedule regular eye exams for your child
Young children may not be able to tell you that they are having trouble seeing. It’s critical to watch for signs, such as squinting or headaches. However, even if your child isn’t displaying any signs of vision problems, regular eye exams are still critical. That’s partly because these exams can uncover potentially serious conditions that only a trained professional can spot. It’s also because it is imperative to catch myopia early and begin treatment as soon as possible.
Learn about the treatment options
There are a few things that you can do on your own to help slow the progression of your child’s myopia, such as limiting screen time and increasing time outdoors. It’s also essential for children and adults alike to take frequent breaks when doing close work.
Some of the other treatment options available include:
- Orthokeratology, Ortho-K or corneal reshaping therapy, is a treatment that utilizes custom-designed rigid contact lenses to reshape the surface of the eye at night while your child sleeps. These provide visual freedom during the day (no need for daytime contact lenses or glasses) and helps slow down the progression of myopia.
- Multifocal contact lenses. Soft multifocal contact lenses are daytime lenses designed to help the wearer see more clearly both at a distance and up close, making them ideal for a range of activities. They work very similarly to orthokeratology in slowing down the progression of myopia.
- Atropine eye drops. Atropine is a pharmaceutical treatment available as eye drops that slightly relaxes the eye’s focus center. Atropine is not a cure, but it can help slow the progression of myopia when used once at nighttime.
Familiarizing yourself with your treatment choices and discussing them with an eye care professional is the best way to identify the right treatment for your child. To learn more about the treatment options offered by our Myopia Management Clinic, contact Miami Contact Lens Institute today.