Better known as nearsightedness, myopia is the most common eye condition in the world and currently affects around 30% of the U.S. population, although that number is expected to rise during the first half of this century. While the exact cause of myopia isn’t known, there’s significant evidence to suggest that genetics play a big role and if one of your parents has myopia, you are much more likely to suffer from the condition.
Myopia can affect both adults and children, However, the condition is most often diagnosed in children between the ages of 8 and 12, and often gets worse during the teenage years when children undergo a period of rapid growth, causing their eye to grow too long compared the focusing power of its lens.
Since it doesn’t cause total blindness, nor pain, many parents are unaware of the importance of getting myopia under control during childhood. Myopia is a progressive condition. This means that your child’s vision will deteriorate unless they seek treatment. And while ordinary prescription glasses can correct your child’s vision, they are rarely an effective way of preventing their myopia from getting any worse.
Myopia control should be a priority for any parent. The reason for this is simple. Children with high myopia won’t only need much stronger prescriptions as they get older; their eyesight may be too severely affected for them to be successful candidates for laser vision correction when they reach adulthood, preventing them from enjoying this convenient and cost-effective treatment in the future.
People who have high myopia are more at risk of developing complications with their vision in the future. Studies have found links between high myopia and conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment. Getting your child’s myopia under control can help to reduce this risk and help preserve their long-term vision.
Ortho-k, or orthokeratology, has been proven to be an effective treatment for slowing and even stopping the progression of myopia in children. Ortho-k uses special rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses that are worn overnight and removed in the morning when your child wakes. Each lens is bespoke; created specifically for each eye. Since ortho-k lenses are created for each patient, your provider will need to take careful, concise measurements of your child’s eyes so that the design is perfect.
While your child sleeps, the lenses apply gentle force to the eyes to reshape them so that light will be refracted correctly when they open their eyes. And since the eyes can retain their new shape for some time before they gradually return to normal, your child can simply remove the lenses in the morning and enjoy clear vision all day long, without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Ortho-K lenses are extremely safe and effective, and suitable for all ages. They also offer a level of freedom that it’s impossible for a child who wears glasses or regular contact lenses to achieve since they can live their life without any eyewear during the day. And if you wish for your child to cease treatment at any point, they can simply stop wearing their lenses and their eyes will return to their usual shape within a few days.
If your child is experiencing myopia symptoms, or you would like to learn more about ortho-k lenses, call 432-445-3662 for West Texas Eyecare in Pecos or Fort Stockton.