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Help! My Child Needs a Higher Prescription Every Year! Is There Anything to Do?

What is Myopia?

Myopia or as it is commonly known, shortsighted/nearsighted is a condition that develops and continues to worsen during school years. Not that long ago, this condition was addressed only with corrective lenses. However, there are long term risks associated with Myopia, particularly if it began early and progresses quickly. These risks include serious eye diseases and conditions including glaucoma, macular degeneration, and even retinal detachment.

Vision and Learning

Based on numerous studies, learning is between 70% and 90% visual, depending on the individual. One problem associated with progressively deteriorating vision in children and teens is that it becomes difficult to keep up with the ever-changing prescriptions as vision becomes worse and worse. Often, vision deteriorates faster than the yearly eye exam, thus leaving children and teens in the position of having to learn with impaired vision.

Treatment for Myopia

There are a number of effective ways to simultaneously correct vision problems, while slowing down the progression of myopia during the child and teen years where it is most likely to deteriorate the most and fastest. These methods include Atropine Drops, Multi-Focal Contact Lenses, and Orthokeratology (also known as Corneal Reshaping Therapy or CRT).

CRT and multifocal contact lenses for myopia control have the benefit of increasing self esteem, improving peripheral vision, and reducing the chances of sports related injuries.

All About Multifocal Contact Lenses and Atropine Eye Drops for Myopia Control

The yearly need for a new vision prescription for nearsightedness disturbs many kids and their parents. Not only does it necessitate thicker, more powerful, and costly eyeglass lenses, but high myopia is also associated with a higher risk of eye disease in the future. Is there anything to do?

Nearsightedness, officially termed myopia, has no cure and no reliable way to prevent the onset. That’s the bad news. However, the good news is that there are various methods used nowadays for controlling its progression. Our eye doctors are experienced and trained to administer myopia control in our San Jose, CA, office. Contact us for a consultation to see if your child is a good candidate!   

A number of options for myopia control were presented at a 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Optometry, held in New Orleans. Some methods were shown to be more effective than others were. Multifocal contact lenses and atropine eye drops both show promising results, which we’d like to share with you.

Soft Multifocal Contacts

These specialty lenses have different zones with different lens powers. Recent research studies demonstrated that when children (between 8-12 years old) wore multifocal lenses, it decelerated their rate of myopia progression by about 30% annually! Added benefits of multifocals include a wider field of view than eyeglasses, less sports injuries, and a more attractive appearance that boosts sensitive self-esteem in kids!

Safe for kids, many children do very well with the responsibility of taking care of contact lenses. In fact, young kids are typically more careful with their contacts than many “negligent” teenagers. The best results were associated with a wearing time of at least five hours per day. In addition, the earlier children begin to wear multifocal lenses, the more effective they can be at myopia control.

Don’t wait until your kid has an extremely high vision prescription – call us today for more information. If multifocals are appropriate for your child, you’re in luck, because we stock a large inventory in our San Jose eye care clinic!   

Atropine Eye Drops

Although atropine eye drops are a very old therapy, their use as a means of myopia control is relatively recent. In the past, this medication was generally used safely to treat lazy eye. Modern research has tested the application of a lower concentration of atropine eye drops for myopia control. When reduced doses of 0.01% were instilled into myopic kids’ eyes, their myopia progression slowed down by an incredible 50%!

Minimal side effects were reported, and many kids who are not old enough to wear multifocal lenses benefit greatly from atropine eye drops. Because very young children with advanced myopia are at the greatest risk of long-term eye health problems from severe nearsightedness, atropine eye drops can be your ideal solution.

Focus on the Future of Myopia Control

Putting the brakes on myopia progression is currently a hot topic in optometry. Myopia control will lower the cost of vision care for tweens and teens, as well as lower their chance of developing dangerous eye problems in the future. To keep children’s eyes and vision safe and healthy, our progressive San Jose eye doctors keep close watch on all medical developments. Talk to us about the best available options for myopia control.

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