Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common condition in children. Often this condition is progressive and can worsen as the child ages. Because of this, there are many efforts made in controlling the amount of myopia progression.
One of the most popular options for myopia control is contact lenses designed to prevent the progression of myopia.
How Does Myopia Progress?
To understand the importance of myopia control treatments, it is important to understand how the condition progresses with time.
In a typical case, each year until puberty is completed the child will progress roughly 0.50 diopters in myopia.
This means that if a child could begin with only 0.50 diopters of myopia at age 10, meaning that everything within roughly six feet is completely clear and there is only slight blur beyond that distance.
If the myopia progresses typically, that same child at age 18 would have 4.5 diopters of myopia, meaning that everything inside about 1 foot is clear and anything beyond this is very blurry.
In the example, the child goes from having highly functional vision with the ability to live without any correction unless in a high detail task to a very decreased vision which will require correction for nearly every task.
While the 0.50 diopter progression is average, it is possible to see up to 1.5 diopters of progression in a year.
Since the progression of a specific child is unknown, the overall benefit of myopia control is not an exact amount but a relative value.
How to Control Myopia Progression
To prevent the progression of myopia, there are several options including contact lenses and eye drops.
Typically, the eye drops are used in younger children who are not yet ready to wear any form of contact lenses.
The method of preventing the progression of myopia is to use a multifocal correction, similar to that needed by older adults.
By varying the amount of power in the contact lens, the eye is not prompted to continue to progress into myopia by peripheral distortions.
In a myopic eye, the eye is already too long and can be “encouraged” to continue to lengthen if the peripheral distortions are present.
Contact Lens Options for Myopia Control
There are two main options for myopia control when using contact lenses. There are soft contact lenses with multifocal powers and rigid contact lenses to be worn overnight and removed in the morning.
In the soft contact lenses, there is only one FDA approved contact lens for myopia control. This contact lens is the MiSight lens manufactured by CooperVision.
The MiSight lens is a daily replacement lens which has the multifocal design created to prevent peripheral distortions.
In the rigid contact lenses, a process known as orthokeratology is used to change the shape of the cornea and change the power of the eye as a result.
By wearing the rigid lens overnight, the cornea will take the shape of the lens and effectively change in power.
This change will wear off as the day goes on and the lens is no longer on the eye, which is why nightly wear is needed.
Orthokeratology can provide similar multifocal correction as the soft contact lenses without the need for correction during the day.
Our optometrist at Eye Contact in Acworth, GA excels in prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrist at (770) 529-1925 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about myopia control. Our eye doctor, Dr. Wes Mobley provides the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Acworth, Georgia and its surrounding areas.