Slowing the Progression of Nearsightedness in Children

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Slowing the Progression of Nearsightedness in Children - First Eye Care McKinney

Nearsightedness Can Affect Children’s Academic Performance

Myopia (nearsightedness) is a common condition that often affects children. For younger patients, being diagnosed with myopia or having a difficult time seeing clearly can be frustrating. At First Eye Care McKinney, we often see patients (both young and old) asking us how to cure nearsightedness. While there is no true cure, you can slow the progression of myopia in children with a handful of helpful ways.

Today we are going to take a closer look at nearsightedness and how it impacts young children. Optometry has come a long way in recent years, giving us numerous cutting-edge solutions aimed at correcting common conditions like nearsightedness. With an estimated 42 percent of the U.S. population suffering from myopia, it is no wonder patients are seeking alternative treatment options to eyeglasses and contact lenses (especially for young patients).

What is Myopia?

More commonly referred to as nearsightedness, myopia occurs in children when the eyeball grows too long, resulting in blurry distance vision. When this happens, the lens of the eye has a more difficult time focusing images on the retina. It instead hones in on whatever is directly in front of the retina.

Both children and adults with myopia generally have good vision up close. However, as the condition progresses, they find it increasingly difficult to see objects farther away. In the past, it was believed there was nothing that could be done about nearsightedness other than using corrective lenses and, in some cases, surgery. However, myopia control has become an important focus, especially when it comes to children who are showing signs of nearsightedness.

How to Slow the Progression of Myopia

When it comes to controlling myopia in children, there are several different paths to take. As mentioned, at this time, there is no cure for nearsightedness, but there are numerous things that can be done to slow the progression of myopia in children. Generally, all of these treatments aim to change the structure of the eye and its focusing capacity. People with myopia often experience fatigue and stress on the eyes as the condition progresses. Our main goal is to slow its advancement.

Here are the three main types of treatment for stopping myopia in children:

  • Atropine eye drops – These specialty eye drops have been at the center of myopia control for many years. Although they do carry effective short-term results, atropine eye drops are no longer prescribed as commonly for children because we do not know the long-term effects.
  • Ortho-k – Short for orthokeratology, this is one of the most popular ways to slow the progression of nearsightedness in children. Ortho-k uses specially designed gas permeable contacts to change the shape of the cornea, correcting mild to moderate myopia. Unlike daily contact lenses, you only wear ortho-k lenses at night and remove them in the morning. As your child sleeps, the lenses work to reshape the cornea, providing clearer vision throughout the day.
  • Multifocal lenses – Last but certainly not least, multifocal contact lenses or eyeglasses can be quite effective in stopping nearsightedness. These magnifying lenses reduce fatigue during reading, homework, or looking at the computer, which is one of the main contributors to myopia.

To learn more about controlling myopia in children, please contact First Eye Care McKinney and schedule an appointment today.

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