Myopia or nearsightedness is a condition of the vision where objects that are close to you are clearly visible, but the objects far away appear blurred. This is caused as a result of improper focus of light if the cornea is too curved or the eyeball itself is too long. Year after year, the number of children with myopia are on the rise. But the good news is that the recent studies show that it can be possible to control the progress of myopia in children and teenagers.
Treatments that can be used to help control of myopia are aimed at changes in the structure and focus of the eye. Such treatments can help in reduction of fatigue and stress which is often seen with the onset and progress of myopia. If no effort is put to control myopia, your child may develop higher levels of nearsightedness and may need thick glasses for corrections. It may lead to much more serious problems of the eye later in life which include cataract and detached retina.
The treatments available today are:
- Atropine eye drops
Topical application of atropine is used to help dilate the pupil. It temporarily paralyzes the reflexes of the eye and relaxes the focusing mechanism. It is generally used to facilitate an eye exam, but there have been suggestions that it may be used in children to disable and correct eye’s focusing mechanism. Studies show promising results in the first year of the treatment.
Orthokeratology or ortho-k is a treatment that makes use of specifically designed contact lenses. These gas permeable lenses are to be worn during sleep to correct nearsightedness temporarily. Regular use of these lenses make sure that contact lenses and glasses are not needed in the day. These lenses are also called corneal reshaping lenses or corneal refractive therapy lenses.
Doctors recommend the use of orthokeratology lenses to control the progression of myopia in children. Studies show that kids who have years of orthokeratology under their belts have lesser degrees of myopia as adults.
- Multifocal contact lens
Each zone of the multi-focal contact lenses have different powers and is used in the correction of myopia, hypermetropia and presbyopia. Research shows that multi-focal lenses in their conventional and modified forms help in controlling the progress of myopia.
- Photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK)
Within this treatment, a very thin layer of tissue is removed with the help of laser from the corneal surface in a way that its shape is changed. This change will allow better focus of light into the eye and thus correct myopia. But there is a limit on the amount of tissue that can be removed to correct nearsightedness.
- Laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK)
In LASIK, the tissue is removed from the inner layers of the cornea. A section of cornea is cut and folded to reveal the tissue inside. The required amount of tissue is removed with laser and the flap is replaced. The treatment is again limited to the amount of tissue that can be removed.