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Traditionally, myopia has been corrected with glasses and contact lenses. However, what is often overlooked about myopia is the risks associated with progressing near-sightedness. The higher the level of myopia, the greater risk for developing eye diseases later in life. Thankfully, the practice of myopia control can significantly reduce or even halt the progression of myopia and protect vision through adulthood.
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Many practitioners that utilize myopia control enjoy utilizing orthokeratology as a preferred method of myopia control. Orthokeratology is the use of gas-permeable contact lenses that are worn only at night during sleep to gently reshape the surface of the eye. Children can go to school and participate in their favorite activities with clear vision and no glasses or contact lenses! Orthokeratology lenses are effective, safe, and comfortable. Not to mention, kids absolutely LOVE it!
What is OrthoK?
Orthokeratology lenses are custom designed based off measurements taken at the initial visit. The lenses are then evaluated for a proper fit by our doctors. The lenses are then worn each night during sleep. They gently reshape the ocular surface to change the surface curvature to
correct the child’s near-sightedness. Astigmatism can also be corrected. After couple night’s wear, most children will be seeing clearly for most of the day. After just 1-2 weeks, vision will remain clear and fully corrected for the entire day.
How does OrthoK work?
As the surface of the eye is reshaped, it changes the way that light rays travel through the visual system. This change reduces the stimulus for eye lengthening. When an eye remains the same axial length, myopia does not progress.
Additional Benefits of Orthokeratology
- As parents and eye care providers, our motivation for orthokeratology is to protect a child’s vision through the entirety of their life. There are numerous other benefits that make orthoK even more enjoyable for the child and their family.
- The freedom from daytime glasses or contact lenses wear allows a child to play sports, swim, and wear non-prescription sunglasses. The worry about losing or breaking glasses is eliminated, as orthoK lenses are handled in a more controlled environment at home.
- Children gain confidence and learn responsibility while using their lenses. There are numerous studies that report an increase in confidence with contact lens use over glasses. Research also reports that children take better care of their contact lenses than most adults, which in turn makes orthoK lens wear very safe!
- Limiting the progression of near-sightedness also helps the patient remain a better candidate for refractive surgery option in the future, if they desire.
Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses
There are also soft contact lens options to control myopia. The soft contact lenses are worn during the daytime much like traditional soft lenses. They are disposed of daily, monthly, or quarterly, depending on the lens design. Not all multifocal contact lenses are designed for myopia control. Most are designed for a condition called presbyopia, or the reduction in the eyes ability to focus on small details up-close in adulthood. Soft multifocal contact lenses for myopia control are designed for the eye of a child with special optics to reduce eye lengthening.
Low-Dose Atropine Eye Drops
The use of atropine eye drops is one of the oldest methods to control myopia, and yet the science has yet to be explained. Science has shown that with proper use, atropine is a good option for patients that are not good candidates for contact lenses. Atropine eye drops for myopia control are a specific concentration, different from the atropine formulation that is used to dilate the eye’s pupils. Low-dose atropine for myopia control is typically obtained from a specialty pharmacy with a prescription from an eyecare provider.
Which is right for my child?
A discussion with our doctors can help you determine the best choice for your child. Call us at 701-566-5390 to schedule a consultation.
Myopia Control Locations
Orthokeratology for myopia control is offered at our West Fargo location. Patients seeking orthokeratology who live near other Vance Thompson Vision clinics will be referred to this location and will be cared for with the same time and attention as in their local clinic.