Myopia Control Solution Center
Our team of specialists is ready to assist with managing your myopia. We are a part of The Eye Center of Pembroke Pines, proudly serving the South Florida area for almost 50 years.
What is Myopia?
Myopia is the inability to see images clearly at a distance. It is also known as nearsightedness and is the most common vision problem among children and young adults.
Myopia occurs when the eye grows too long, causing light to come into focus in front of the retina instead of directly onto the retina. This causes distant objects and objects seen while driving to be blurry. Vision up close however is unaffected, hence the term “nearsightedness.” Glasses and contact lenses help focus the images on the retina and, therefore, allow myopic patients to see clearly.
This type of vision problem typically arises during childhood and normally progresses gradually and quickly, especially in kids younger than 18. The most common symptoms of myopia include squinting, headaches, and eyestrain.
The rate of myopia worldwide is increasing rapidly. Excessive use of electronics and reduced time spent outdoors can lead to the progression of vision loss and issues.
This condition also tends to run in families, but even if no parents are myopic, the chances that your child can have myopia is still 25%.
Long-term, increasing amounts of myopia can lead to an increased risk of retinal tears, retinal detachments, myopic maculopathy, glaucoma, and even cataracts. Because of the potential for larger problems, myopia control can help.
Myopia control is a term used to describe specific treatments geared towards slowing down the progression of myopia (or nearsightedness) in children. Myopia control is important because it may help reduce the risk of vision-threatening complications associated with high amounts of myopia—including retinal detachments, glaucoma, and cataracts.
There are four primary methods of myopia treatment:
- Atropine eye drops
- Multifocal contact lenses
- Orthokeratology (ortho-k)
- Multifocal glasses
The best form of myopia control for someone will depend on their specific needs and desires.
Types of Myopia Management We Offer
Evidence from scientific literature supports that proper myopia management can help slow its progression. These methods include using certain eye drops or specific contact lenses. To be clear, the drops and lenses are FDA-approved, just not all of them specifically for myopia control. When a treatment method is not FDA-approved for a specific purpose, it can still be perfectly safe, but is considered “off-label” use.
The following methods are used to potentially slow the progression of myopia
Atropine drops – Atropine is a medication that reduces the ability to focus on things at close distances and coincidentally dilates the pupil. Low concentrations of these eye drops have been shown to slow the progression of myopia while having almost no side effects. After allowing time to adapt, less than 10% of children complained of any side effects. The main side effects include sensitivity to light, difficulty focusing up close, and headaches. Atropine drops are safe and are considered off-label when used for myopia control.
Daytime wear of multifocal soft contact lenses – Multifocal lenses are normally used to help adults over 40 years old see clearly up close as well as at a distance. Children can use these lenses exactly like they would use any other daily contact lens with no additional risk and minimal visual disturbance. The difference is that the FDA has recently approved one brand (MiSight lenses) for myopia control. Other brands can be just as safe but are considered off-label for myopia control (e.g., NaturalVue lenses).
Overnight wear of ortho-k lenses – Corneal reshaping lenses are worn during sleeping hours only and then removed when waking up the next day. They correct myopia by gently reshaping the front layer of the cornea and temporarily canceling out a patient’s prescription. If you stop using these lenses, vision will return to its previous state. The first two weeks of wear will be when the most vision disturbances are noted. However, after fully adapting, the patient will see clearly for the whole day without any other correction needed. The risks of complication with overnight wear of lenses are very low, though technically slightly higher than daily wear only. Corneal reshaping lenses are safe and considered off-label for myopia control.
The above options are the currently available myopia treatment methods that have been widely researched and shown to have the best chance of reducing the progression of myopia. When discussing different treatment options with your eye doctor during an eye exam, consider the benefits and risks involved with each treatment and remember that there is no guarantee of success. You may also choose to continue with traditional myopia correction with glasses and standard contact lenses, which have no additional benefits for slowing myopia progression.
Some myopia control options may be better than others and the best one for you or your child will depend on several factors. Part of our Nearsighted Solutions program is educating you on these myopia management options and helping you decide what is the best option for you. If you are interested in learning more or getting started, contact our Pembroke Pines eye care center today.