Myopia is nearsightedness, meaning you see better up close than you do far away. In the U.S. a majority of the population is nearsighted, not farsighted. What is myopia control? Myopia control is therapy which is used to keep people who are nearsighted from getting “too nearsighted”. There are health complications that can arise in people who become very nearsighted. Myopia progresses most commonly from eight years old through puberty. Therefore, if we were going to control myopia, that would be the peak age-range to do it. As adults, our eyes don’t change as rapidly as they do when we are children, so children are the key group we are going to do myopia control therapy with.
We do two forms of myopia control: Corneal refractive therapy, also known as ortho-k, as well as soft bifocal contact lens therapy.
How old does my child need to be to start myopia control? Just like with soft contact lenses, there isn’t a minimum age limit. Each child is different, so it is more of a discussion we will have with the parents as to how responsible the child is, and which therapy is best for their lifestyle. In theory, you could bring in your very responsible and mature four-year-old.
Ortho-k therapy is designed so that the kids sleep with the contacts overnight so they won’t need to wear glasses or contacts during the day.
Once a child begins therapy, we will see results of not needing the glasses within the first week. We will see some results on the first day, but by one week we will see about 75% perfect vision, and then after 2 weeks we will likely have full 100% perfect vision. This is full therapy.
However, this all depends on the severity of their nearsightedness. With the myopia control side of it, it’s hard to put limits on what results we will see over time. Sometimes it takes a couple of days for the kids to get used to the rigid gas permeable lenses. For the most part there are no side effects to this form of myopia control at all. If or when my own children become nearsighted like me, I will definitely be putting them into ortho-k therapy. About 10% are adults and 90% are children. Come in, and get your child’s eyesight checked out. The worst that we could say would be that the child is not a candidate, but those children are few and far between. With the structure of the eyes, every once in a while we find that a patient’s eyes are not curved enough for us to be able to use the ortho-k therapy. That particular person would then be a great candidate for our soft contact lens therapy.