Our Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, eye doctors explain what can be done about myopia in kids
Many parents wonder if there is a cure for nearsightedness, also known as myopia. Or maybe there’s a treatment to eliminate a child’s need for stronger glasses each year?
In response - there is presently no scientific evidence to back up the claims of various miracle treatments to cure myopia. Programs that attest to the power of eye exercises to reverse myopia and naturally treat nearsightedness are not supported by any well-designed independent research.
However, many recent studies do suggest that kids’ myopia can be controlled (not cured) by slowing its progression. An eye exam is the first necessary step to determine your child’s candidacy for myopia control. At Washington Eye Doctors, our eye doctors perform thorough pediatric eye exams to assess whether myopia control is recommended.
Myopia is not an eye disease
Nearsightedness is a refractive error caused by the elongation of the eyeball. Due to this elliptical shape, light that enters the eye doesn’t focus on the retina at the back of the eye. Instead, light is focused in front of the retina, thereby blurring the sight of any objects in the distance. Prescription glasses and contact lenses offer effective treatment for nearsightedness, but they are not a cure – and they don’t prevent myopia from getting worse.
Intro to myopia control
Myopia control treatments can lead to changes in the structure and focusing ability of the eye, thereby slowing the progression of myopia. Why is this important? Because myopia control can help prevent your child from developing high levels of nearsightedness, which not only require thick eyeglasses lenses – but have also been linked to serious eye problems later in life, such as a detached retina and cataracts.
Types of myopia control
At our Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, eye care center, we administer kids’ eye exams gently and comprehensively to diagnose their precise vision prescription and determine the most suitable type of myopia control.
Currently, there are four types of myopia control treatment in use:
Ortho-k lenses are specialized rigid gas permeable contacts that are worn only while sleeping. They correct refractive error by gently reshaping the cornea temporarily. Typically, ortho-k is used to enable people with nearsightedness to see clearly during the daytime – without any prescription eyewear. But eye doctors are increasingly using orthokeratology as a means for myopia control in kids. Studies suggest that myopic kids who wear ortho-k lenses for a few years may have less myopia as adults, in contrast to children who wear regular glasses or contacts during the years when myopia can progress rapidly.
2.Multifocal Contact Lenses
Multifocal contact lenses have different lens powers in different zones. While the conventional use of multifocal contacts is to correct presbyopia, eye care professionals have found that these specialty lenses can also be an effective method of myopia control for kids.
Multifocal glasses are another option for controlling nearsightedness in children, but the results are not as impressive as with other types of myopia control.
4.Atropine eye drops
Atropine eye drops can be used to relax the eye’s focusing mechanism, thereby controlling myopia. Research studies have shown that during the first year of treatment with atropine eye drops, the progression of nearsightedness dropped by an average of 81%. However, the effects seem to diminish after the first year of treatment. Atropine eye drops are also associated with specific uncomfortable side effects, which is one reason why many eye doctors are hesitant to prescribe this treatment for kids.
Eye exams enable early detection of nearsightedness
The best way for your kid to benefit from myopia control is to diagnose nearsightedness as early as possible! Even if a child isn’t complaining about any visual problems, regular pediatric eye exams are critical – especially if there’s a family history of nearsightedness. The sooner myopia is detected, the sooner our Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, eye doctors can assess candidacy for myopia control.
At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.
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