My previous “Why am I Nearsighted?” blog explains what myopia (nearsightedness) is and discusses what we know and don’t know about the causes of myopia and the reasons for its progression through childhood and adult life.
Although we still don’t know the answer to the question: “Is it preventable?”, some recent research gets us a little closer to discovering an answer.
There is important ongoing research into myopia prevention and we’re beginning to learn about some forms of treatment that may help slow the rate of worsening myopia in childhood, and ultimately reduce the total amount of myopia. Unfortunately, so far, we have not learned how to prevent it altogether.
Studies are showing that the rate of myopia progression can be reduced in young children treated with special peripheral defocus contact lenses or glasses. The rate myopia increases year after year can be slowed up to 59% using special contact lenses, such as MISight daily disposable contact lenses. Special glasses, although not as effective as contact lenses, may reduce progression about 10-20%.
Atropine eye drops have also been shown to slow the rate of progression by approximately 60% with some individual variability. Atropine drops may have some side effects, such as light sensitivity and reduced near vision. The severity of the side effects can be reduced by using a low dose of the drop.
Orthokeratology is the use of gas permeable rigid contact lens, worn at nighttime, to reshape the cornea. This treatment also slows the progression of myopia by approximately 50%.
As stated in my previous blog, ensuring our children have plenty of time outdoors, also appears to help slow myopia progression.
If you have questions concerning your child’s nearsightness and whether treatment may be beneficial for them, please schedule an appointment for your child and we would be happy to discuss it further.