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Most children inherit myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, from their parents. While myopia is most often diagnosed between the ages of 8 and 12 years, early childhood myopia is becoming more common and is typically diagnosed between the ages of 5 and 7 years. Furthermore, childhood myopia is likely to get worse during the teenage years when kids are growing rapidly.
It’s important to understand that there is no cure for myopia; however, there are a variety of treatments now available that can help slow down myopic progression. Two of the most exciting developments are the new MiSight contact lenses and low-dose Atropine eye drops. MiSight 1 day contact lenses are the first and only FDA-approved lens to treat children’s myopia. The earlier treatment starts, the less nearsighted they become.
In addition to the MiSight contact lenses, studies have demonstrated that Atropine eye drops given at bedtime significantly slows the progression of nearsightedness. Atropine eye drops are a great option for young children who aren’t comfortable inserting contact lenses quite yet. Children treated with Atropine eye drops will still need to wear glasses. About 90% of children treated with Atropine drops experience a decrease in the progression of their myopia by 50%!
MiSight & Atropine eye drops can also be combined to work together at slowing the rate of myopia progression. Early diagnosis is SO important as it allows your optometrist to implement the right myopia management treatment plan that is personalized to help slow down the progression of your child’s myopia. Once therapeutic measures have begun, consistent adherence to the treatment plan must continue throughout the eye-growth years.
Eyecare Associates of Nampa is passionate about working with families to help slow down the progression of myopia. We develop a personalized treatment plan using the newly-approved FDA MiSight contact lenses and appropriate application of Atropine eye drops. Other treatment plans involve soft and gas-permeable specialty contact lenses. Often these materials are used in conjunction with Atropine drops. While many medical and vision insurance plans do not cover Myopia Control Treatment, it can be reimbursed under Flex/HSA benefits and our staff will work with you to ensure that cost is not a factor that prohibits your child from benefitting from treatment that can slow their myopic progression.
Nearsightedness Explained and Managed!
Myopia is often called nearsightedness. This means that you can see close up, but not far away. These photos show the possible progression of Myopia:
Myopia is seen in individuals whose eyes are longer than normal. This impacts the focusing power of the cornea and lens and makes the focus at a point further in front of the retina instead of right on its surface. Nearsightedness can also be caused by the cornea and/or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball. In some cases, myopia occurs due to a combination of these factors. Myopia occurs when the eye does not bend or refract light in the correct way. Since the light doesn’t focus as it should, images appear blurry. This isn’t a disease. It is a disorder or problem with the eye’s ability to focus.
Many countries, including the United States, are noting unprecedented rates of myopia diagnosis among children. The greatest increase is occurring in Asian countries. Today, 25% to 42% more American children have myopia compared with to 30 years ago. Researchers have identified a genetic link in families for myopia, but the recent dramatic increase isn’t fully understood yet. Some question if children’s play activities may contribute to developing myopia. Studies have looked at sun exposure and the incidence of myopia. Children exposed to less daylight developed myopia at a higher rate. Some believe that increased screen-time may also be a culprit.