Treatments To Slow The Progression Of Myopia

If your child has been diagnosed as short-sighted or myopia, it’s natural to be concerned.  As a parent, you would want to understand how you can correct their eyesight for clear vision, and how you can slow or halt the myopia to prevent future issues.

  • Myopia Control is about understanding your options to slow down the progression of myopia.
  • We will take the time to explain the risk factors contributing the prescription becoming worse.  This includes family history, how much time is spent doing near activities compared with outdoor activities
  • We know from studies that excessive convergence and poor eye focusing as been linked to myopia as risk factors. Extra care is taken to measure these risk factors.
  • We will discuss the treatment optionsavailable to slow down progression and this includes, ortho-k, bifocal lenses, multifocal contact lenses and atropine eyedrops.  We know that normal glasses are the least effective way to slow down progression.

Glasses and normal contact lenses don’t stop myopia from getting worse.  

A common question asked by parents is, ‘will glasses make my child’s eyes worse?’.  The sad reality is, they were getting worse without wearing glasses anyway.  Wearing glasses won’t make their eyes worse, but it won’t do much to slow it down.  In fact research says it has only a measly 0-5% effect on myopia.

Without resorting to refractive surgery (which isn’t an option for children anyway), there really isn’t a permanent way to correct myopia.  However, it is possible to control it and manage it to prevent further visual deterioration.

At practices providing Eyecare Kids services, our optometrists will take the time to provide timely advice on several possible treatment options for slowing or stopping the progression of myopia:

Treatment Options And Their Effect On Slowing Down Myopia Progression

  • Ortho-k 32-100%
  • Bifocals/Multifocals 12-55%
  • Multifocal Contact Lenses 29-45%
  • Atropine eye drops 30-77%
  • Myovision lenses 0-30%
  • Normal glasses & Contact lenses 0-5%
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Ortho-k

Ortho-K  is a non-invasive way to combat the progression of myopia in children and the effect is from 32-100%.  You read right! This treatment  has been shown to possibly stop myopia from getting worse.  No glasses or day-time contact lenses are needed.  Patients simply wear the ortho-k contact lenses to sleep and during the day enjoy clear vision.

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Multifocal Contact Lenses

Multifocal Contact Lenses  have been shown to be effective at slowing down myopia between 29-45%. These are soft, daily disposable contact lenses that are worn to help slow down myopia progression. These lenses give the patient clear near and distance vision during its use in the day.

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Bifocal and Multifocal Spectacle Lenses

An easy option, these lenses are worn during the day for clear vision for both objects far away and near.  They provide the best support for students who are experiencing eyestrain from accommodative insufficiency and/or convergence excess problems.  Where these lenses can support the visual system under stress, they can be effective between 12-55% in myopia control.

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Atropine Eye Drops

Atropine (an eye drop used daily) has been found to reduce the progression of myopia generally between 30-77%, although some studies have shown it to reduce by 90-100%.  So why isn’t this recommended more often? Because of the side effects.  A person with atropine in their eye will be very sensitive to light because the larger pupil allows approximately 20x more light to enter the eye and reading will become blurry. If the drops are used every day for myopia control, bifocals will be necessary for clear vision at near.

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Environmental Factors

We know how important time spent outdoors is in helping preventing myopia. At the present time, it appears that 14 hours a week (or 2+ hours a day) outdoors is significantly effective in reducing myopia progression.  Reduced progression of up to 50% has been cited in research.  The highest risk factors are if your child spends <1.6 hours outdoors and >3 hours doing near work (on top of normal school hours).

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