Myopia Control: Strategies for Slowing Nearsightedness in Children
Updated: May 4
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a growing public health concern worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2050, half of the world's population will be affected by myopia. In response, ophthalmologists have developed several myopia control strategies to slow the progression of the condition in children.
One of the most well-established myopia control methods is the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses with specially designed progressive addition lenses (PALs). These lenses work by reducing the amount of peripheral hyperopia, which is thought to be a key factor in the development of myopia. In a study of children aged 7 to 11, the use of PALs was found to slow the progression of myopia by 30-50%.
Another popular myopia control strategy is the use of atropine eye drops. Atropine is a medication that temporarily dilates the pupils, which reduces the amount of focusing effort required by the eyes. This, in turn, slows the progression of myopia. Studies have shown that atropine eye drops can slow myopia progression by 40-60%.
Orthokeratology is another myopia control technique which is becoming increasingly popular. Orthokeratology is a non-surgical method of reshaping the cornea using specially designed contact lenses. These lenses are worn during sleep, and work by temporarily reshaping the cornea to reduce the amount of nearsightedness. Orthokeratology has been found to slow the progression of myopia by 50-80%.
Finally, a recent and promising new myopia control strategy is the use of daily disposable contact lenses with low-dose atropine. Studies have shown that the use of these lenses can slow myopia progression by up to 70%.
It's important to note that the success of myopia control methods may vary from child to child, and a combination of methods may be necessary for some children. Parents should discuss myopia control options with their child's ophthalmologist to determine the best course of treatment.
As an Ophthalmology Clinic based in Windhoek with a special interest in Myopia Control, it's important to stay up to date with the latest research and developments in the field, to ensure that we are able to offer the best possible care to our patients.
In conclusion, myopia control is a growing field that offers a range of options to slow the progression of myopia in children. The use of progressive addition lenses, atropine eye drops, orthokeratology and daily disposable contact lenses with low-dose atropine have all been found to be effective myopia control strategies. Parents should work with their child's ophthalmologist to determine the best course of treatment.