297 Kinderkamack Rd, Suite 200, Oradell, NJ 07649

Myopia Control

Our Myopia Control Clinic

These days, children and technology are inseparable. Whether for educational purposes or just fun, more and more children are spending a good portion of their day staring at the screens of computers, tablets, smartphones, and other digital devices. Researchers have found that screen time among children is a significant risk to the development and progression of myopia, which most people call nearsightedness.

Myopia has always been there, but the speed of myopia progression has grown significantly in the last few decades and this trend coincides with the increased use of digital devices by children. This is a growing public health concern because high levels of myopia are linked to serious eye disease like macular degeneration, retinal detachments, and glaucoma later in life. Therefore, addressing your child’s myopia now may REDUCE the chance that they will ultimately suffer from have sight-threatening complications.

In response to this, Riverdell Family Vision Care launched the Myopia Control Clinic to serve our patients with the latest advancements in myopia treatment to slow vision deterioration.

More specifically, “myopia control” is the term used to describe specific treatments to reduce and/or eliminate the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) in children. The treatment of myopia is more than just prescribing glasses or contacts. Glasses and contact lenses are essential to help children to see clearly, but they do not address myopia progression. Our doctors will work with each family to customize treatments for your child based on the latest research.

What is Myopia?

MyopiaDoctorinOradell

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is when distance vision is blurry. It is the condition in which the eye focuses light at a point in front of the retina (back of the eye) instead of directly on the retina. Therefore, a blurred or distorted visual image is produced on the retina. This occurs due to the eye being too long. The smaller and further away the target from the eye, the blurrier the vision. As most people have experienced, the degree of myopia typically gets worse with time causing a need for stronger glasses and/or contact lenses.

Why Does Myopia Get Worse?

What are some risk factors of myopia progression? All of the following may contribute to an increase in the axial length of the eyeball (poor distance vision).

● Genetics: family history (one or more parent is myopic)

● Environmental: excessive time spent doing close work (i.e. working on a computer, reading, using tablet, iPad, mobile phones)

● Limited exposure to sunlight

● Accommodative/Vergence: Difficulty teaming and focusing one’s eyes appropriately

Which children are more at risk at developing high myopia?

● Onset of nearsightedness before the age of 10 years

● Increase in myopia/ fast progressing myopes (glasses prescription increase of one diopter or four steps/year or more)

● Very high myopia (spectacle correction of -8.00 diopters or greater)

● A positive family history of high myopia (parents or siblings with myopia greater than -6.00 diopters)

Mechanism of Myopic Progression

The latest research provides evidence that while glasses correct central vision, their effects on the focus of light in the peripheral retina is the key factor in stimulating an increase in myopia. The use of gentle corneal reshaping lenses or soft multifocal contact lenses is designed to alter these effects and reduce the tendency of the eye to become more myopic.

It is exciting to finally have some control into how nearsighted your child will be! Gone are the days where we simply prescribe new glasses and wait to see how much change a child has every year. Now, you and your child, have options. Our doctors work with each family to customize treatments for your child based on the latest research. Here are the most effective ones, which we are happy to offer in our office.

Myopia Control Treatment Options

Treatment

What does the treatment involve?

What does the treatment do?

Related Information

Corneal Reshaping Treatment

Children wear specially designed retainer contact lenses at night. The lenses are removed in the morning and no correction is needed during the day.

The lenses temporarily and gently reshape the cornea so that the child notices clear distance vision during the day. In addition, this treatment modifies the focus of light in the periphery, reducing the tendency for myopia to increase. Studies show this modality can slow down the progression of myopia by 40-60% compared to controls, though significantly higher percentages have been reported from clinicians globally (in many cases between 80-100%).

Parents may assist child putting lenses in and out

The child no longer has to deal with glasses or contacts for sports or any activities

Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses

Children wear specially designed soft multifocal contact lenses during the day to improve distance vision and help stabilize myopia. 

These lenses may slow the growth of the back of the eye by how they affect the child's peripheral vision. The lenses while worn create a small distance zone surrounded by a near zone. The near zone is thought to reduce peripheral light rays from promoting eye growth. These lenses are FDA approved for myopia control in children. 

The contact lenses are daily disposable contacts, so this minimizes the risks of wearing contact lenses

Bifocal Eyeglasses or Progressive Addition Lenses (PALs)

Children wear special bifocal or progressive addition eyeglasses during the day.

These special eyeglasses may slow the progression of myopia in some groups of children by providing clearer images at the retina.

These lenses seem to work best for children with difficulty focusing on near objects or a tendency for the eyes to cross slightly. There has been no statistically significant effect on children with normal binocular vision.

Low Dose Atropine Eye Drops

Children receive daily eye drops with a low concentration of atropine nightly and wear regular eyeglasses during the day.

When atropine is used in low dosages, the progression of myopia slows down in most children. The mechanism of action is unknown at this time.

This new approach with low dose atropine avoids the side effects often found with higher dosages. It does not cause the pupil to open wide and it does not block the child’s ability to focus on near objects. Atropine 0.02% must be compounded by a pharmacist and has limited availability, but we have a list of local pharmacies that make this eye drop.

In addition to the treatments described above, a child who is at risk of myopia or is developing myopia can also benefit by spending more time outdoors.  An average of about 2 hours of outdoors time per day has been shown to be an effective way to prevent the development of myopia and may help slow its progression.

We are so excited to offer these alternatives to our young nearsighted patients. These new options give us the power to control how much prescription your child will ultimately have! If you would like to book a myopia control consultation with us, please give us a call at 201-268-7566.