Myopia Control Patient and Parent Information
Myopia is the refractive error that results when the optical components of the eye (corneal power, lens power, and eyeball length) do not accurately focus light on the macula. Instead, these structures focus light in front of the macula causing the patient to be nearsighted.
What Causes Myopia Progression?
As children grow, their eyeballs grow with them and can become larger and longer. A longer eyeball will cause an object to be focused further and further in front of the macula, which creates the need for stronger and stronger eyeglasses prescriptions.
What is Myopia Control?
Myopia control is a term used to describe the treatment methods used to slow down increasing myopia. These methods attempt to control progressive loss of far vision in children by attempting to prevent the eyeball from growing too long.
Why Haven’t I heard of this Before?
Unfortunately, a majority of the eye care industry has shifted toward commercial optical retail stores who focus more on profits, bottom lines and number of eyeglasses sold. The doctors working in these commercially driven practices may not have the time or training to focus on specialized ocular health issues such as myopia control. Most ophthalmologists focus on surgery and may not always consider other methods of preventative treatment.
Why Should I Consider Myopia Control a necessity for my Child?
Myopia has become an epidemic throughout the world. In the United states 42% of the population is myopic and and 25% (1.45 Billion) patients throughout the world have been diagnosed with myopia. This number is estimated to grow to 33% (2.5 Billion) by 2020. Besides the loss of distance vision, there are increased eye health risks as a result of having longer eyeballs. At -3.00D of myopia the risk of posterior subcapsular cataracts is 3X that of a patient without any refractive error and their risk of retinal detachment and myopic maculopathy is 9X that of a patient without any refractive error. Once a patient reaches -5.00D of myopia, they have a 21X greater risk of retinal detachment and 40X greater risk of myopic maculopathy. Additionally, myopes have a 2-3x greater risk of developing glaucoma. As more and more studies show the efficacy and safety of myopia control treatment, controlling myopia has come to be viewed as more of a necessity than an elective luxury by eye care professionals, educators and parents.
If you would like more information on myopia or myopia control please don’t hesitate to ask. If you would like to research this topic further the websites listed below have some helpful tools and information to guide you.
- My Kids Vision
- Feature Presentation: Myopia Control
- Myopia: Prevention and Control
- All About Vision: What Is Myopia (Nearsightedness)?
Reducing nearsightedness will decrease the risks of Retinal detachment, Cataracts, and Glaucoma.
We recommend being proactive and slowing the progression of myopia as a child which will reduce the total amount of myopia as an adult.
Studies show the following 4 treatments to be the most effective:
- Spending Time Outdoors
Some studies show up to an 18% reduction in myopia for every additional hour/day of outdoor time spent during childhood.
- Bifocal Glasses
Bifocal or progressive lenses are one possible option for myopia control. Although these lenses are not the most effective option to control your child’s progressive myopia they have been shown to decrease progression rate up to 33% in the first year of wear. Subsequent years of wear show little to no decrease in progression.
- OrthoKeratology (Corneal Refractive Therapy)
CRT can statistically slow the progression of myopia by 50-80%. Using these rigid, gas permeable lenses that are custom designed to be worn at night has proven to slow the progression of myopia. We recommend this treatment for patients under the age of 18 with a prescription between -1.00D and -5.00D with less than -1.50D of astigmatism. This treatment ranges $750-950/eye and includes contact lenses as well as all follow-up visits associated with the initial fitting in orthoK lenses. Subsequent annual contact lens evaluation fees will be $205 plus any needed additional lenses.
- Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses
Multifocal contact lenses have been proven to slow the progression of myopia by between 50-80%. We recommend these lenses for any patient under the age of 18 with a prescription between -1.00D and -8.00D with less than -1.00D of astigmatism. The Myopia Control initial contact lenses design and analysis is $255 and will include all contact lens related follow-up visits for the next 30 days. There are both daily and monthly multifocal lens options to choose from. Natural Vue daily contact lenses are $760 for a year’s supply and Biofinity monthly contact lenses are $294 for a year’s supply. Some vision insurances may pay for a portion of this cost, if you are eligible for contact lens materials and/or fitting. Subsequent annual contact lens evaluation fees will be $155 plus any needed additional lenses.
No studies have been done but there is a possibility that combining low-dose atropine(0.01%) with soft multifocal lenses or orthokeratology may have a greater effect than either treatment alone.