Myopia Management & Control
Myopia usually develops in childhood and can progress as children go through their growth years. Ongoing studies are finding new methods to delay the onset and slow the progression of myopia. New specialty contact lenses, glasses as well as eye drops have been shown to be successful in reducing myopia in children. If caught early enough, the result will be smaller prescriptions and less frequent lens changes.
What is Myopia ?
Myopia (nearsightedness) is the condition where the light focuses in front of the retina. As a child is growing if the length of the eyeball continues to grow their myopia will increase. The sight threatening complications of myopia are caused primarily by the stretching of the eye. Evidence based treatments are now available to significantly reduce growth of the eye in children, reducing the stretching of the retina.
Myopia Management and Control
There are multiple factors that contribute to myopia developing in childhood. Lifestyle factors that increase risk need to be identified and adjusted as much as possible to help delay the onset and slow progression of myopia. If a child has been identified as at risk or is already developing myopia, a myopia management exam should be arranged. If a child is at risk, the axial length (length of the eye) of his or her eye needs to be monitored closely to allow our doctors to arrange for treatment when necessary. A child at low risk can often be seen yearly. If their risk is moderate to high they would usually need to be seen every 6 months.
A child with one myopic parent has 3x the risk of developing myopia and 6x the risk if both parents are myopic
How Myopia Develops
In babies and toddlers light focuses behind the retina. This is called hyperopia.
As a child grows the eye will lengthen to the point where the light focuses directly on the retina. This is called emmetropia and no glasses are required.
If the childs eye continues to lengthen the light will focus in front of the retina. This is called myopia and requires glasses to see clearly in the distance.
Traditional single vision corrections bring clear vision to the central macula but the mid peripheral lens focuses behind the retina. The macula represents the central 10* of a persons visual field and is the part of the retina that provides 20/20 vision. The other 170* of vision is supplied by mid peripheral and peripheral retina. Because the majority of the stimulus is focused behind the retina, the eye is stimulated to continue to grow longer. Regular glasses and contacts should be avoided if your child is still at risk of myopia increasing.