Is your child’s prescription getting stronger year after year?
Ever wonder if there was a way to effectively reduce this never-ending change in prescription?
With developments in the specialty known as myopia management, the doctors at Somerset Eye Care are able to do just that.
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common eye condition that has gotten more common in the last few years. Typically, myopia is corrected with either glasses or contacts. And during school age years, the prescription continues to get stronger. Up until recently, correcting the prescription was the only way to address the progressing myope. With new groundbreaking research, certain treatments have shown an ability to not only correct the vision but also significantly slow the progression of myopia!
Why is it a problem?
Other than the burden of changing contact lenses and glasses every year, there are far more serious health consequences as myopia continues to progress. Strong myopic prescriptions considerably increase the lifetime risk of retinal detachment, cataracts, and glaucoma.
How much myopia is “too much” myopia?
This is a difficult question and some experts exclaim that there is no safe level of myopia. At Somerset Eye Care we look at two main aspects of your child’s myopia. The first is what their age-expected myopia is:
If your child is 6-7 years old and already myopic, they are considered “early onset”
The second aspect is your child’s rate of progression:
If your child is progressing faster than 0.50 diopters/year, they are considered “rapidly progressing”
If your child matches one or both of these aspects, it is important to find ways to slow down progression.
Okay, it’s a problem – How do I address it?
Several studies have shown that the following treatments are effective at reducing the rate myopia progression. At Somerset Eye Care, we both recommend and offer:
- 1. OrthoK Lenses/Overnight Vision Retainers:
a. Vision retainers are a unique treatment method that are effective in reducing the rate of myopic progression. They are inserted prior to bedtime and are slept in overnight. This custom designed lens gently molds the eye overnight and allows the patient to see 20/20 during the day without glasses or contacts. Patients are very happy with this lens because it provides both non-invasive vision correction as well as myopia reduction. For patients that fit the parameters for this treatment, it is our primary recommendation.
- 2. Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses:
a. Specific soft multifocal contacts with a specialty design have been proven to reduce the progression of myopia. They are used as any normal contact lens: you put them in the morning, use them throughout the day for clear vision, and remove them at night prior to sleeping. The unique design promotes the reduction of progression.
- 3. Atropine 0.01% Drops:
a. Atropine drops have been used for decades for dilating eyes. In recent years, studies have shown that those same drops effectively reduced the progression of myopia. The full strength drops do cause some side effects (trouble focusing and light sensitivity), therefore we use 1/100 of the strength which is surprisingly enough to provide comparable reduction in myopic progression without the side effects.
I’m on board, what do I do now?
To determine which myopia management option is ideal for your child, a comprehensive myopia management consultation will need to be completed. The testing completed at this exam will guide which options your child will qualify for. To schedule a consultation, please contact 732-658-6765 and specify that you would like a myopia management consultation. A recent eye exam is needed within the last 3 months. If it has been longer than three months, an eye exam will need to be completed prior to the consultation. The fee for the consultation is $200, however this fee will be applied to whichever myopia management treatment is chosen.
Would you like to speak more about myopia management before committing to a consultation? Feel free to email Dr. Tobin Ansel at firstname.lastname@example.org where he will be glad to either respond to your questions via email or set up a time for a one-on-one phone call.
Is there anything I can do right now to be proactive in minimizing progression?
The answer is most definitively, YES. Due to our ever evolving technological landscape, children are being exposed to “screen” time much earlier and for much longer durations of time. While in school this may be necessary, we can take strong steps to reduce this as much as possible at home. Studies have shown that extended near work can cause progression rates to increase. Be mindful of your child’s screen time. When they do use them, limit it to a set number of hours. All of this technological screen time leads to a second important consideration – the amount of time our children spend outdoors. Numerous publications have shown that the number of hours spent outdoors reduces myopic progression significantly. Children should be spending at least 1 hour each day outdoors being active and away from near tasks such as using their phone. These are problems you can address with your child right now and coupled with a proper myopia management treatment – we can strive to reduce myopic progression to a substantial degree.