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All About Vision

Myopia Control Therapy

myopia control in orange tx

Childhood myopia (nearsightedness) is a common problem that may worsen year after year. Kids with myopia have good eyesight when looking at objects up close, yet objects in the distance will be fuzzy and blurred. When uncorrected, nearsighted children tend to sit closer to the television and squint to see faraway objects, such as the board in their classroom.

When annual eye exams in orange, tx continue to result in higher and higher prescriptions for myopia, many parents and children become concerned and worry that the vision deterioration will never end. In general, myopia that begins in childhood plateaus by 20 years of age. Yet scientists have been searching for a way to slow down and control the progression of myopia during youth.

Currently, four treatments for myopia control show extraordinary promise:

  1. Orthokeratology (“ortho-k”)

With ortho-k, specially designed rigid gas permeable contact lenses are used to flatten the cornea and thereby reduce mild to moderate myopia. These lenses are worn while sleeping and removed upon waking. After this corneal reshaping, many people are then able to see clearly throughout the daytime, with no eyeglasses or contacts. During the early stages of treatment with ortho-k, temporary eyeglasses or contact lenses may be needed.

Research indicates that ortho-k may diminish the lengthening of the eye, which means that wearing these lenses during childhood years may reduce myopia permanently – even if ortho-k is discontinued in adulthood.

  1. Atropine

Atropine drops are used to dilate the pupil and paralyze accommodation temporarily. The entire focusing mechanism of the eye is thereby relaxed.

Medical studies indicate that pediatric myopia may be associated with focusing fatigue. Researchers, therefore, investigated the use of atropine to control myopia by disabling the eye’s ability to focus. Results of these studies were impressive, yet additional research demonstrated that atropine was not effective at controlling myopia after the first year of use. Short-term use of atropine does not appear to significantly control nearsightedness over the long term.

  1. Multifocal Eyeglasses

Bifocal or progressive multifocal eyeglass lenses may delay the advancement of nearsightedness in some children.

According to a five-year study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, when nearsighted children with parents that both have myopia wore eyeglasses with progressive multifocal lenses, they experienced a slower progression of their own myopia than similar children who wore basic, single vision lenses.

The progression of myopia has been associated with higher levels of focusing fatigue, and it seems that the added magnification power in these multifocal lenses works to help decrease focusing fatigue during close up vision, such as reading.

  1. Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses

Multifocal contact lenses may be an alternative way to control myopia. A recent study conducted at The Ohio State University uncovered that wearing multifocal contacts slows the childhood progression of myopia by approximately 50%. According to this research, soft multifocal contacts may be even more helpful at myopia control than multifocal eyeglasses.

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Controlling Nearsightedness in Children

Childhood myopia or nearsightedness is a common condition that causes blurred distance vision and can usually be easily corrected with either glasses or contact lenses. Unfortunately, simply getting a pair of glasses doesn’t always solve the problem, because often myopia is progressive which means that every year the vision gets worse. This usually continues until sometime around the child’s 20th birthday when his eyes stop growing and eyesight levels off.

It can be worrisome and quite disconcerting for both the parent and the child when each visit to the eye doctor results in a higher prescription. There could be a number of factors involved in progressive myopia, involving hereditary factors as well as possible environmental or behavioral factor such as frequent close-up tasks such as reading or using an electronic device. In fact, studies show that children that spend more time outdoors playing have a lower incidence of myopia. Much research is currently being done into treatments for slowing or stopping myopia progression in children. Here are some of the treatment options currently being offered:

Orthokeratology (Ortho-k)

Ortho-k is a process that uses specially designed rigid gas permeable contact lenses worn at night to gently reshape the cornea, eventually allowing clear vision during the day. The lenses are worn every night or every couple of nights depending on the results of the individual. Ideal for mild to moderate myopia, ortho-k usually takes a few weeks to show results, during which time the patient may need to temporarily continue wearing glasses or contact lenses.

Studies show that the use of ortho-k can permanently reduce the progressive lengthening of the cornea which is responsible for nearsightedness and can therefore slow or stop the childhood progression of the condition. Therefore, in addition to being used for myopia correction, it is now also being offered as a therapeutic treatment to halt myopia progression in children.

Multifocal Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses

Bifocal or multifocal soft contact lenses or glasses have been shown in some studies to slow myopia progression. This therapy is based on the idea that the eye is strained from accommodating to see close up and that by providing multiple focusing powers, this allows the eye to relax when doing near work, which reduces the progression of the refractive error. This treatment has been shown to delay or slow the advancement of myopia in some children.

Atropine Drops

Treatment with atropine drops is another therapy that is used to relax the eye from “focusing fatigue” which may be a culprit in myopia progression. Research is still being done but some studies show that daily use of low doses of atropine drops do slow the progression of myopia. Atropine drops dilate the pupil which temporarily prevents the eye from being able to focus, thereby allowing this mechanism to relax. Research is still being done to determine dosages, but the results are promising.

If your child has progressive myopia, seek out a pediatric optometrist who is knowledgeable about the options available. Finding the right treatment could give your child the gift of better eyesight for life.


To our dear patients:

We are happy to announce we have reopened and we are making special arrangements to be mindful of social distancing and your personal comfort. We are taking extra precautionary action for your protection and safety. We carefully sanitize all surfaces, including equipment, frames and supplies.

Additionally, when coming in for an examination, here are a few things that you can expect:

The office door will remain locked throughout office hours in order to control the patient flow and establish social distancing in the office. Patients are screened upon entering for high-risk history, symptoms and their temperatures taken.Patients (in addition to all staff) are required to wear a mask or face covering for the entirety of the visit.Patients are required to come inside alone (unless they are a minor in which case only one guardian may accompany them).

Patients may still order glasses or contacts for curbside pickup or have them shipped directly.

We thank you for your patience and look forward to serving you at our office again soon!