Myopia Management Treatment Modalities
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with using traditional glasses or contact lenses, the following options give us the power to help reduce the amount of prescription your child will ultimately have: 21
Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) treatment uses retainer contact lenses that are similar in material to gas permeable contacts. These lenses have custom designs that temporarily reshape the front surface of the eye. There are two huge advantages to Ortho-K. First, the retainer lenses are worn only while sleeping, and typically no glasses or other contacts are used during the day. That’s right, no vision correction is needed during the day when the retainer lenses are worn at night! Secondly, Ortho-K is the most effective treatment for controlling myopia. Studies show a decrease in the progression of nearsightedness by 60-100% with this treatment. This treatment involves multiple visits with our doctors and specialty custom-made retainer lenses.
Atropine Eye Drops
This is a prescription eye drop that is used every night to reduce the development of myopia and it has been shown to reduce the progression of myopia by about 50%. There are reliable studies showing that topical atropine is well tolerated and effective in slowing the progression of myopia in children.19, 20 Low dose atropine must be compounded by a pharmacist and has limited availability, but we have a mail-order pharmacy that can make this drop for your child. Your child would still wear their normal glasses or contact lenses with this type of treatment.
Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses
These lenses work by creating peripheral retinal blur that slows the stimulus for eye elongation. Research has shown a 30% decrease in the rate of myopia progression for children using these lenses. These daily disposable, soft multifocal lenses are worn during the day and discarded at the end of the day. No contact lens solutions are required. Because these lenses are disposable, they are ideal for patients with allergies and dry eye.
Progressive Addition Lenses
Based on the mean results of 9 studies, wearing progressive addition lenses reduced myopic development by about 24%. Progressive additional lenses are designed to relax the eye’s near focus. This has a substantial effect on reducing myopic progression, though this is the least effective method of Myopia Management. Progressive additional lenses account for multiple distances include phone, tablet, homework, testing-taking, computer screen, and far away distances. When a patient wears their distance-only correction, their eye focuses to see close objects. The idea behind a progressive addition lens is that the patient’s focus will be constantly relaxed and thus reduce the stimulus for the eye to increase in nearsightedness over time. Progressive addition lenses are frequently used in addition to other treatment methods.
The Great Outdoors
As time spent using electronic devices has increased in the last 20 years, interest in spending time outdoors has waned for a large segment of the population. Early on, adults were spending all day at the computer resulting in Computer Vision Syndrome, but now, even toddlers may spend up to two hours of screen time per day. Increased screen time inherently means less time is being spent outside in natural sunlight. The Sydney Myopia Study of 4,000 children, 6 to 12 years old, found that those who had more reading or screen time, and less outdoor time, were more myopic than those who spent more time outside.6 The general consensus is that 60 to 90 minutes of outdoor time every day is beneficial for preventing myopia.