Nearsightedness, known as myopia, occurs when the cornea steepens in curvature or when the length of the eye becomes longer. There are now a number of treatments that Dr. Falbo and Dr. Dillner utilize for myopia control in children. A review of Myopia Control studies at the National Institutes of Health, NIH, can be found here. This medical review showed that on average, these treatments reduced the progression of myopia by just under 50%.
Each of the current treatments is designed to minimize the increased curvature of your child’s cornea or to limit the lengthening of the eye. The goal of each is to keep your child from needing thick eyeglasses for the rest of their lives. Four different treatments for myopia control in Pittsburgh have been shown to be effective.
Orthokeratology is a treatment that uses rigid contact lenses to gradually flatten the cornea and keep to it from increasingly become more steeply curved as happens in myopia. Orthokeratology has been effective and safe as myopia control for over 40 years. To learn more about this treatment, click here: Orthokeratology in Pittsburgh.
Atropine eye drops
Atropine is an eye drop medication that is used to relax the ciliary muscle inside the eyes. This muscle (ciliary muscle) is used for focusing. Atropine works to decrease the “pull” that this muscle exerts on the entire eye. By reducing this tension, it may slow the progression of lengthening of the eye (axial length), which can cause worsening of nearsightedness.
To use atropine in children a special concentration must be prescribed and formulated by your optometrist and pharmacist. This low dosage achieves the goal of relaxing the focusing muscle while causing less blurriness for your student. Studies completed through 2010 showed that atropine is an effective myopia control in children. More recent studies show that very low dose atropine (0.1%) seem to offer the biggest benefit for myopia control.
Children that use this treatment usually must wear bifocal eyeglasses (these can be invisible bifocals) to clear their near vision when reading.
Bifocal eyeglasses & contact lenses
Bifocals are designed to reduce the amount of focusing that the ciliary muscle must do when reading. They are frequently prescribed to young students for myopia control. Soft bifocal contact lenses were shown to be even more effective that eyeglasses at myopia control. These lenses are easy to care for and very comfortable for students to wear.
Drs. Falbo and Dillner will be happy to discuss your children’s options with you.