It starts when your child starts moving closer to the TV, or when they don't have the complete notes to do their homework, or maybe they start to complain that their head hurts. All of these are signs that a child might be experiencing myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness. This means it is time for them to visit our optometrist at Optics & Eye Care in Ashburn, VA for a comprehensive eye exam, and most likely new glasses.
Many parents believe that if their child is nearsighted, that portion of their fate is out of their hands, especially if they grew up wearing glasses themselves. But today, there is more to myopia control than just keeping up with your child's prescription. Below is valuable information about myopia and how you can help improve your children's vision.
What is Myopia?
The words "myopia" and "nearsightedness" are often used interchangeably to mean that a person can see things normally if they a close up (near), but objects begin to become blurry when they are off in the distance. It means writing on the board, faces on a television screen, or the numbers on the clock across the room are not clear. They are likely fine reading a book or doing an activity that uses close vision, like puzzles or needlepoint.
Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long, and light hits in front of the retina instead of hitting on the surface, or when there is too much curving of the eye's natural lens or its cornea. It, along with hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism are classified as refractive errors. Traditionally, myopia has been treated by checking vision regularly and prescribing corrective lenses to bring eyesight to 20/20 until vision levels out, usually at age 18-20.
There can be bigger consequences to having myopia, however, than needing glasses. Those that develop more severe cases of myopia also have a greater risk of vision-robbing diseases later on, including cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. Doctors of optometry have made strides in reducing this risk my attempting myopia control in children. Kids that receive treatments may still need glasses, but may not need as strong of a prescription as they would without intervention.
Some Options for Myopia Control
Atropine Eye Drops
These drops, traditionally used to combat inflammation have been shown to reduce the rate myopia progresses up to 77%.
Multifocal Contacts or Glasses
Some studies have shown that kids that wear multi-focal contacts or glasses, designed to treat both nearsighted and farsighted symptoms may be able to slow myopia development while wearing them.
Ortho-K Lenses are a type of gas-permeable lenses that are worn overnight during sleep in order to correct vision during the day by reshaping the cornea. In adults, the cornea returns to its default shape, but in children, the eyeballs are still developing, so some myopia progression remains.
Call Optics & Eye Care Today!
If you think your child might be developing myopia, or you want to learn more about what myopia control options may be suitable for them, contact us at Optics & Eye Care in Ashburn, VA at 703-687-4719 to schedule an appointment.