Myopia Control Q&As with Dr. Papp

We do 3 different types of Myopia Control therapy here in the office. The first type is Ortho-K which is a lens that is slept in overnight. We also do daily disposable multifocal lenses that are worn during the day. We also do an Atropine therapy every night for kids that might be a little bit younger or not interested in contact lenses. Ortho-K is the gold standard at this point in time for Myopia Control. This particular lens is put in right before bed, slept in and then removed in the morning. It molds the cornea and removes the stimulus of the eye to grow. Daily disposables multifocals also work very well for those people who don't want to sleep in a lens and just want more of a normal contact lens wear. These lenses also do very much the same thing as the Ortho-K removing the stimulus to the eye. The third option, Atropine is really great for young kids or kids who might be very hesitant to put a contact lens in.

Myopia Control therapy is used to slow down the progression of nearsightedness and children from ages 6 to 18. We used to have to just sit back and update these children's glasses every 6 months to a year without being able to intervene and slow things down. What's really great about Myopia Control is that we can now help. Myopia Control is a relatively new concept in the U.S. with a lot of studies coming out of our very own Ohio State College of Optometry. We are really excited to be able to offer this to our patients and keep kids at much lower rates of nearsightedness. Let us know if this is something that you think that might be good for your child and we'll see how we can help.

Question: What is myopia?

Dr. Papp: Myopia is nearsightedness, meaning you see better up close than you do far away.

Question: Do you see a lot of myopic patients?

Dr. Papp: Yes. In the U.S. a majority of the population is nearsighted, not farsighted.

Question: What is myopia control?

Dr. Papp: Myopia control is a 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.

Question: Is myopia control for children as well as adults?

Dr. Papp: 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.

Question: What myopia control therapies do you offer?

Dr. Papp: We do two forms of myopia control: Corneal refractive therapy, also known as ortho-k, as well as soft bifocal contact lens therapy.

Question: How old does my child need to be to start myopia control?

Dr. Papp: 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.

Question: How quickly will I see results with ortho-k?

Dr. Papp: 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 a 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.

Question: Are there any difficulties with ortho-k?

Dr. Papp: 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.

Question: What percentage of your ortho-k patients are children vs. adults?

Dr. Papp: I would say that for our practice, about 10% are adults and 90% are children.

Question: Do you have any recommendations to parents regarding their children and myopia control?

Dr. Papp: I would say that they should not be afraid to ask us questions. 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.

Question: Why would someone not be a candidate for ortho-k?

Dr. Papp: 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.

Question: Is there anything else you would like to add about ortho-k?

Dr. Papp: It's awesome, you should try it!

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