Poor academic performance, difficulty focusing, and squinting can indicate a problem with your child’s vision. Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a growing problem. It affects their ability to see clearly at a distance, and unfortunately, it’s on the rise.
Thankfully, technological advancements have led to the development of myopia control contact lenses. Multifocal contact lenses or orthokeratology can slow your child’s myopia progression to help preserve their vision in the future.
During a children’s eye exam, your child’s optometrist will assess their eyes, measure their degree of myopia, and explore the available myopia control methods suitable for them.
What Is Myopia Control?
Myopia occurs when the eye grows too long. This elongation causes structural changes in the eye that can increase the risk of eye conditions, such as:
- Retinal detachment
- Myopic macular degeneration
Because of these eye health risks, medical experts are investing more time and resources into improving myopia control methods.
Traditional eyeglasses and contact lenses don’t stop myopia progression; they only correct the error. However, myopia control methods aim to slow down its progression. While myopia control methods involve glasses and contact lenses, these are specialized versions that provide clear vision as well as slow myopia progression.
How Can You Tell If Your Child Has Myopia?
Young kids may think the blurry way they see the world is normal and can’t always communicate their vision problems. Behavioral cues can tell parents and guardians when their child has deteriorating vision, including:
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Avoiding near tasks such as reading or homework
- Sitting too close to screens
- Losing their place when reading
- Complaints of headaches or eye fatigue
- Tilting their head when looking at something
- Covering one eye to look at things
Poor vision problems in children are sometimes misdiagnosed as ADHD or behavioral disorders and can interrupt productive learning. If you notice these habits in your child, it’s time to test their eyes for myopia and other vision problems.
Contact Lenses for Myopia Control
Contact lenses designed for myopia control come in 2 main types: multifocal lenses and orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses. But myopia control contacts aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The type of contact lens you choose depends on your child’s age, eyewear prescription, and lifestyle habits.
Multifocal Contact Lenses
With standard corrective contact lenses, light entering the front of the eye focuses on the retina, but light entering the side of the eye focuses behind the retina. This signals the eye to grow longer.
Myopia control contact lenses contain different vision correction zones to provide clear vision at near and far distances while slowing myopia progression. They achieve this by manipulating peripheral light inside the eye, creating a specific pattern of optical defocus on the retina, aiding in reducing eye growth.
The effectiveness of multifocal contacts relies on continuous wear, and discontinuing their use may result in the continued progression of myopia.
Ortho-k lenses are specialty rigid gas-permeable lenses worn at night while sleeping. These lenses gently reshape the cornea, allowing light to focus correctly on the retina and slowing myopia progression. In the morning, vision is more corrected, and your child won’t rely so much on glasses.
Wearing the lenses overnight allows light to focus on the eye differently during waking hours. Ortho-k flattens the cornea, creating a new shape to bend light rays into your eye more closely to the center.
Ortho-k lenses have been shown to slow myopic progression in children by 36–56%.
Alternative Myopia Control Methods
If contact lenses don’t sound like the right choice for your child, other alternatives can be as effective at slowing myopia progression.
Atropine Eye Drops
Low doses of atropine eye drops can slow myopia progression with a drop every night before bed. An amount of 0.02% and 0.025% provide effective myopia control results without side effects and comparable results to ortho-k, myopia control contact lenses, and specialty eyeglasses.
Manage Your Child’s Myopia with Help
Myopia control methods are more effective the earlier they start. Maintaining annual eye exams for your child allows your optometrist to detect early signs of myopia to begin intervention.
Whether your child prefers ortho-K, multifocal lenses, atropine, or eyeglasses, using myopia control methods can help support their vision into adulthood. Book an appointment at Eye Rx to begin managing your child’s myopia.