Is reversing Myopia possible? As children go back to school this year, they are faced with the prospect of spending 6 hours a day in front of their computer. When school is over, they’ll likely spend even more hours in front of a computer doing homework, and follow that up with several hours of social interactions on their even-smaller mobile phone screens. They might combine that social time with several hours of Television each day, too. Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of Myopia is spending too much time on small screens, and too little time outdoors. So it’s no surprise that over the last couple of decades, Myopia has become an epidemic.
This year, with Covid-19, Quarantines, Lockdowns and Home-based Schooling, is most likely to result in even more Myopia in 2020 than ever before. And while not enough parents understand Myopia, we are doing our best to educate parents about the dangers of Myopia and the prospects of reversing Myopia in their children.
Parents Are The Key To Reversing Myopia
Myopia is an unusual disease because it has a more common name — nearsightedness — that doesn’t sound very dangerous. This alternate name often causes parents to be somewhat complacent about its treatment.
But this non-threatening common name causes some poor outcomes. Very often, Myopia is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time, with results that could lead to more dangerous diseases such as Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Retinal Detachment. All of these diseases, which are more common in senior citizens, can occur in patients with untreated Myopia at much earlier ages. Still, when we tell parents that their child has Myopia — even moderate to severe progressive Myopia — their most common reaction is to ask us to prescribe glasses or conventional contact lenses.
By contrast, when a parent is told by their dentist that their child needs braces for their teeth, they are very likely to follow that advice and get treated by an Orthodontist.
One great exception to these parent reactions are with Asian families. Worldwide, Asia has the largest Myopia problem. As a result, many parents with Asian backgrounds are familiar with Myopia and its dangers. So when we diagnose their children with Myopia, they know what it is, understand its dangers, and usually want to take immediate appropriate action to stop or reverse their child’s Myopia.
Options For Reversing Myopia
There are several methods of treating and controlling Myopia.
While Atropine eyedrops can effectively slow the progression of Myopia by relaxing the focusing mechanism in the eye, it is not as effective at reversing Myopia. Atropine is an easy and effective treatment. Just one drop in each eye at bedtime helps to drastically slow the progression of Myopia, but Atropine does not.
NaturalVue Multifocal Contact Lenses
Multifocal contact lenses, such as NaturalVue, have various zones with different powers to help correct nearsightedness and control for its progression. Most often, the lens for Myopia is designed with the full corrective power in the center and less power around the edges. While foundational research into multifocal lenses shows considerable possibilities in correcting Myopia, there is still a need for further investigation into the lenses full potential. One benefit of the NaturalVue Multifocal contact lenses is that they are easy to wear, single-use lens and well-suited for children. They can not only slow the progression of Myopia, and can halt it in the majority of cases.
Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, controls Myopia through the reshaping of the cornea. This is generally done overnight using specially designed rigid, gas permeable contact lenses. They are often called corneal reshaping lenses or corneal refractive therapy (CRT). Evidence shows that children who wear these specific lenses end up with less Myopia as adults because the lenses control eye elongation which is a central factor associated with the progression of Myopia.
Ortho-K is a long-term treatment with lenses that should be worn nightly. The benefit is that since they do their work at night, they do not need to be worn during the day. They also can completely reverse Myopia.
These Parents Chose Not To Treat Myopia, Until…
Myopia is measured in “Negative Diopters,” with numbers from -0.25 to -2.75 considered Mild Myopia, numbers from -3 to -5 as Moderate Myopia, and numbers over -5.0 considered Severe Myopia.
One of our opticians has a family friend with young children who came to see us. Last year, one of their children had -1.0 diopters, and so we discussed these two methods of reversing Myopia: OrthoKeratology and NaturalVue contact lenses.They chose to do neither, and so we prescribed eyeglasses.
A year later, the child measured -2.0 diopters. And like many parents, they said again that they would wait another year, putting their child at risk. We recently developed some new Myopia Educational Resources, including a Myopia Infographic and information about how poor vision can lead to poor grades and poor behavior, that the parents reviewed and considered. They soon changed their mind and decided on treatment with NaturalVue contact Lenses to halt the progression of their child’s Myopia.
Treating Myopia With OrthoKeratology
A patient of ours with -3.0 diopters of Myopia. The parents of this teenager had done their research about Myopia and wanted to not only stop the progression, but reverse it entirely. Now 15 years old, their son recently became a competitive swimmer. Contact lenses are terrific for walking around on dry land, but not so good while in the pool. Wearing contact lenses in the pool can result in lost lenses and eye infections. Swimming with your eyes closed is also not an option for a competitive swimmer.
We discussed Myopia treatment options with him and his parents, and explained the benefits of each. Since OrthoKeratology lenses are worn only at night, during which they physically reshape the cornea, he wouldn’t need to wear contact lenses or even regular glasses during the day. His parents agreed and we designed a pair of Paragon CRT Dual Axis OrthoK lenses for this young man.
After one night, his Myopia changed from -3.0 diopters to -1.5. After one week, he was at Zero diopters. If he continues to wear them, he might enjoy a lifetime of clear vision without glasses or contact lenses during the day.
Ready to Reverse Your Child’s Myopia?
Every Myopia patient is different, and your child’s situation is sure to be different than these two patients. If your child has been diagnosed with Myopia, and you are not yet aware of the dangers of untreated Myopia, now is the time to talk to a qualified Myopia Doctor who can explain your options. Don’t let your child go through life with poor and progressively worse vision. Make an appointment to discuss reversing Myopia for your child. And if your child hasn’t had an eye exam in over 1 year, make an appointment for a back-to-school eye exam. Call us at 818-891-6711 or make an appointment online.