Myopia is inherited and is often discovered in children when they are between 8 to 12 years old, although it has been more prevalent in younger children in recent years. During childhood and teenage years, when the body and eyes grow rapidly including the eyeball, the amount of myopia may increase.
Those with myopia have a higher risk of developing certain retinal diseases and disorders. The retina is a wallpaper-like layer that covers the inner part of the eyes and consists of visual cells. High levels of myopia occur when the eyeball is elongated, causing structures inside of the eye, including the retina, to be stretched. As such, those with high myopia are more susceptible to developing retinal conditions. Some of these retinal conditions can be serious and may cause reduction or loss of vision.
Unfortunately, there is no proven way to completely stop the progression or development of myopia. However, there are a number of treatments that are known to be effective in slowing down the progression of myopia by 50 to 60%. These treatments achieve this by creating unique visual conditions that facilitate a slower progression of myopia as the child grows.
Option # 1) Low Dose Atropine Eye Drops
Low dose atropine eye drops have been found in several studies to reduce the progression of myopia by 59%, on average. Applied once a day, atropine treatment is continued as long as myopia progression continues. This treatment is commonly used in conjunction with single vision or myopia control eyeglasses to enhance the myopia control effect.
Option # 2) Myopia Control Daily Disposable Soft Contact Lenses
Option #3) Orthokeratology
Orthokeratology, is a method where medical devices similar to contact lenses are applied to the eye while asleep. The gentle pressure exerted on the cornea, or surface of the eye overnight results in the temporary “molding” of the outer layers, providing “lens like” effects for the user. The effects last all day, providing vision for users without wearing glasses or contact lenses during their waking hours. The effects are dramatic and free people from issues with glasses or regular contact lenses for sports, swimming and performing the activities they love. Orthokeratology has many peer-reviewed, randomized and some longitudinal studies that show it is an effective method to reduce the progression of myopia and, in many cases, halt it altogether.
Option #4) Myopia Control Spectacle Lenses (Myopilux or Kodak Lens Crossbow Junior)
|Atropine||MySight 1 Day||Ortho K||Myopilux & Crossbow Junior|
|Regimen||Every Night||At least 6 days per week, 10 hours per day||Every Night||Full time wear during waking hours|
|Initial Fitting Cost||N/A||$120||$1,700||N/A|
|Initial Fitting Period||N/A||2-4 weeks||3 months||N/A|
|Treatment Cost||$140 - $582 Annually (Pharmacy Dependent)||$800 Annually||$800 per pair (lasts 1-3 years)||Lenses from $130 to $640 per pair, plus the cost of frames|
|Follow-up||Every 6 months||Every 6 months||Every 6 months||Every 6 months|
|Recommendation Notes||Cost Effective||Relatively easy to handle||Can see without correction during the day||Cost effective and easy to administer|
A full comprehensive eye examination must be completed by your eye doctor to determine whether you are a good myopia control candidate. If you are interested in myopia control and do not have a regular optometrist, you are welcome to see one of our great doctors.
If you are a candidate, our Optometrist will prescribe and supervise an individualized myopia control program for your specific needs. Myopia control starts with you, the parent. 75-90% of classroom learning occurs through vision. When your child’s vision is not performing optimally, learning and participation in activities is affected. Children are not likely to recognize their own problems with vision, which is why annual check ups with your optometrist beginning at 6 months of age are so important.
Myopia can start at an early age and rapidly progress until age of 17. New studies show that myopia progression can continue between 20 to 30, but at a slower rate. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 5,000,000,000 people (50% of the world’s expected population) will be myopic (nearsighted) by year 2050 and approximately 1 billion will be a highly myopic. People with high myopia are at much higher risk of developing eye diseases such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, early cataract, and myopic macular degeneration later on in life.
All children and young adults should have annual eye exams and any kids with myopia of -0.25 or more should be monitored for progression. Remember, eye health exams are covered under Ontario Health until the age of 19 with a valid health card.
Monitoring myopia progression and starting myopia control early on can lead to optimal results. An effective option is Orthokeratology, also known as corneal reshaping. Ortho K lenses control the peripheral hyperopic defocus which is the cause of elongation of the eyeball and therefore progression of myopia. Ortho K or soft contact lenses can be the best option for myopia control, but pharmaceutical agents and special eyeglasses can be considered when the child or parents are not ready for contact lenses. When we fit contact lenses, we will teach them how to use and handle them safely. We have had many patients of all ages learn how to use and benefit from contact lenses through our experienced fitting and contact lens services.
Lifestyle changes can also help slow down the progression of myopia. Studies have shown that children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop myopia early on. Receiving myopia treatment and being monitored by our Optometrist regularly will help guide lifestyle changes. We recommend to reduce unnecessary close work, taking breaks during close work activities, reduced screen time, and spending more time doing outdoor activities.
All of our Optometrists prioritize in myopia diagnosis, management, and treatment. Our experienced eye care professional team has consulted and implemented all the above treatment options for patients interested in slowing down myopia progression.
We take the time to educate your family on the options so you can make the best decision for your child. Our eye care team and Optometrists are happy to provide custom myopia control services that help your child’s visual needs.
Please visit us at any of our KODAK Lens Vision Centres located in Toronto & Greater Toronto Area.