The prevalence of myopia has been on the rise in the United States over the past 40 years — increasing by 25% — and there’s no end in sight. In fact, myopia rates among both children and adults continue their upward trend, preventing a large chunk of the population from seeing clearly.
At Vision and Ortho-K Center, under the expert direction of Dr. Curtis Frank, we routinely help our patients overcome vision issues of all kinds, from astigmatism to dry eyes. When it comes to developing myopia in children, we offer a number of solutions that can help your child see more clearly into the future.
Here’s a look at how we can help your child’s vision with myopia control.
Can you see me?
Myopia, which is also called nearsightedness, is caused when an eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved, which prevents light entering the eye from being focused properly. This leads to blurry vision of objects that aren’t close by (nearsightedness means you can see objects close, but not as clearly at a distance).
Myopia typically shows up in children between the ages of three and 12, and can continue to progress until your child finishes developing around the age of 20. There’s some discussion as to what’s causing the rising rates of myopia among children, but researchers point toward:
- Pre-existing health issues
- Screen use
This last point is one worth reviewing, as it may be responsible for the rising rates of myopia among kids. With the advent of screens, many optometrists believe that children are engaging in too many activities that only require seeing things close up, which means your child isn’t using their distance vision as much, so it doesn’t develop correctly.
The signs of myopia in a child can be tough to spot since your child accommodates the vision problem and considers it “normal.” That said, you should be on the lookout for squinting, holding objects closer, headaches, and poor school performance, which are indicators of a problem.
The best way to determine whether your child may be struggling with myopia is through regular eye exams, however. These preventive visits are critical for catching eye problems early on, which allows us to step in and control (and even reverse) the problem.
The goal of our myopia control is to slow, and even halt, the progression of myopia in your child. This is terribly important because myopia at an early age can lead to bigger vision problems down the road, including glaucoma, retinal detachment, and cataracts. To control your child’s myopia, we offer four different therapies:
- Atropine eye drops
- Multifocal contact lenses
- Multifocal eyeglasses
- Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)
Ortho-K is a technique in which we reshape your child’s cornea using gas permeable contact lenses that are designed to be worn at night.
Typically, we start out conservatively with the eyedrops and perhaps corrective lenses. If these prove insufficient, we may recommend Ortho-K, which is highly effective at reducing the length of your child’s eyeball. Ortho-K is noninvasive, and most children tolerate the treatment very well.
To learn more about the steps we can take to control your child’s myopia, please contact our office in Boston, Massachusetts, for an eye exam and consultation.