Nearsightedness (nearsightedness) is a common vision problem that causes vision to be blurred in the distance. Nearsighted children tend to squint to see things in the distance. Sometimes they will compensate by sitting closer in the classroom or by standing closer to the television at home. Myopia in children can get worse with each passing year, which is why it is so essential to have a child’s vision checked before school age and to make sure that they are wearing glasses when they do. is discovered for the first time.
Parents ask “will this stop increasing?” The myopia which develops most often in childhood stabilizes at the age of 20 years. But by then, some children have become very nearsighted. Scientists have discovered ways to slow the progression of myopia in children. Four possible treatments that show promise include rigid gas permeable contact lenses (RGP), atropine eye drops, bifocal glasses, and soft bifocal contact lenses.
Gas permeable rigid contact lenses are a semi-hard material designed to flatten the shape of the cornea and reduce or correct mild to moderate amounts of myopia. These lenses should be used with caution in children who play certain sports. Safety glasses can be worn in addition to contact during sports activities. Gas permeable lenses have been shown to effectively reduce the rate of change in children’s myopia. This process should be closely monitored. CRT lenses are specialized RGP lenses that help reshape the cornea overnight. In the morning, the lenses are removed and vision is improved enough to see clearly throughout the day without wearing glasses or contact lenses. Atropine eye drops are a medicine used to dilate the pupils and temporarily relax the focusing mechanism of the eyes. Research has also found that myopia in children occurs when the muscles of focus are not functioning properly. The eye drops relax the focusing system and the eyes will learn to focus without working too much. These eye drops are not intended for permanent use, but may be of benefit for the first few years.
Some evidence suggests that wearing glasses with bifocal lenses also slows the progression of myopia in some children. The extra magnifying power of these lenses reduces focus fatigue during reading and other close-up work. New research shows that specialized contact lenses can also be an effective treatment for myopia, potentially more than bifocal glasses. The advantage of having contact is that they will be in the child’s eyes constantly from morning to night. If you know a young child whose prescription keeps increasing, be sure to educate yourself about options that reduce the child’s myopia by some of the techniques mentioned. If you are in need of an eye care provider, I invite you to visit EnVision Eye Care. 321 W. Montgomery Crossroads, Savannah (near Hunter Golf Course and VA Medical Clinc) To make an appointment, call (912) 927-0707 and visit us at www.envisionsavannah.com