Kids that are nearsighted (or have myopia) see clearly up close, but things in the distance appear blurry. Most end up with some type of vision correction to correct that blurry distance vision. Myopia can come from environmental factors as well as genetics. Myopia in childhood poses two problems: the need for stronger glasses earlier in life as well as the potential to develop diseases associated with myopia such as retinal holes/detachments, cataracts, glaucoma, and myopic retinal degeneration.
There are three ways to potentially slow the progression of nearsightedness in children:
Corneal reshaping (Ortho-Keratology)
Corneal reshaping contact lenses are worn overnight to gently and comfortably reshape the front surface of the eye while your child sleeps to allow them to see clearly throughout the day without the use of contact lenses or glasses. During the first two weeks of wear, your child will experience changing vision.
Multifocal contact lenses for daytime wear
Soft and rigid gas permeable multifocal contact lenses are routinely worn to help people read clearly as well as see far away. Approved multifocal contact lenses reduce myopia progression by focusing peripheral light in front of the retina, rather than behind the retina such as with regular glasses that only produce a single plane of focus. This is believed to reduce the stimuli for the eye to grow longer. Children may not see quite as clearly with these contact lenses as other types of lenses, thought clear and comfortable vision is achievable.
Atropine is an eye drop that typically makes light seem bright because it makes the pupil become larger and blurs the near vision because it reduces the eye’s ability to focus while looking at near objects. Low concentration atropine has been shown to slow the progression of myopia by 61% without increasing pupil size or decreasing near vision dramatically. Glasses can be used if symptoms of poor reading vision or light sensitivity occur.