Myopia, also known as shortsightedness, is when your child sees nearby objects clearly but vision is blurred in the distance.
You can recognized it when your child complains about eye strain or if they squint. The progression of myopia can lead to high myopia and as a result, to a higher risk of other eye problems
How do you treat myopia progression in children?
There are multiple options for treating myopia progression in kids: with contact lenses that the child only wears at night, soft contact lenses for during the day, eye drops and special spectacle lenses – the latter tends to be the most comfortable treatment method for young patients.
The following methods are available for treating progressive myopia in children
1). Wearing rigid contact lenses at night
With this type of myopia treatment, the child wears orthokeratology contact lenses or 'ortho-k' for short, while sleeping. These reshape the cornea during the night and are then removed the next morning.
This addresses the correction of myopia, by slowing down the elongation of the eye and thus the progression of the myopia as well.
2). Soft contact lenses during the day
Multifocal design with different powers and are worn like normal contacts during the day. The wearer only sees distant objects clearly through several sections, while other sections of the contact lenses only have any corrective power for near objects.
This special geometry sends signals to the eye that can help with controlling myopia.
Important information: in order to prevent bacterial eye infections, the wearer must observe basic hygiene when caring for their contact lenses. This definitely requires special care and assistance from the child's parents, since handling contact lenses can be quite a challenge for young patients.
3).Pharmaceuticals for progressive myopia
Pharmaceuticals provide an alternative approach, such as in the form of low-dose atropine eye drops. These don't restore perfect vision, but they help reduce further myopia progression as long as the therapy is continued. However, the long-term side effects and permanent efficacy are not currently known.
4). Spectacle lenses for myopia management
Special myopia management spectacle lenses, such as those in the Myopia Management Portfolio from ZEISS, are a convenient method for treating progressive myopia in children.
These lenses are designed for treating the progression of myopia and are probably the most comfortable solution for a young patient. Studies have shown that lenses specially designed for myopia management are a better solution than standard single vision lenses.*
*Huang, J.et al. "Efficacy Comparison of 16 Interventions for Myopia Control in 28 Children: A Network Meta-Analysis". Ophthalmology 2016, 123 (4), 697–708) 29
No matter the particular treatment, lifestyle also has a strong impact on the health of our eyes: studies have shown that myopia is less common amongst children who spend a lot of time outdoors or, if a child is myopic, it progresses more slowly.
Good Behavior Tips For Myopia Management
Studies show that children who are active outdoors have lower risk and lower progresion of myopia. A minimum 1.5hrs a day spent outdoors is recommended
Take Visual breaks
Follow the 20-20-20 rule, For every 20 mins of near work, rest your eyes for 20 seconds, looking at something 20 feet away
Keep digital devices at a distance
Hold your digital devices at least 30cm away. Avoid lying down while using your digital devices
Go to bed early! Have at least 9 hrs of sleep a day.
Good reading posture and habits
Sit upright when reading and avoid lying down. Hold reading material at least 30cm away.
Healthy balanced diet
Nutrients influence the proper development for the visual system, so remember to have a healthy balanced diet.
Good lighting is essential for all activities, from reading and leaning to playing. Always make sure that your child has enough light and void reading in the dark.
Regular eye checks
Visit your eyecare professional once every 6 months, to better manage your child's myopia condition so they are always well taken care of.