It is essential for all children to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam before starting kindergarten to assess their risk of myopia, astigmatism, and amblyopia. Lack of spending time outdoors, continuous near activity without a break, near activity in low lighting, and holding material close can contribute to increased risk of myopia and myopia progression.
Costs of Treatment
As myopia progresses, it increases the risk of dangerous disease and becomes a larger financial burden on the patient and family. As the prescription increases so does the cost of the material to make the lens thinner and lighter.
The average patient, with prescription over three diopters, spends $600 per year on frames and lenses. In addition, they may be spending between $250 and $900 on contact lenses annually. Some patients may even need rigid, gas permeable lenses to improve their vision, which can cost over a $1000 a year. With the added cost of yearly medical exam of about $300, and a vision exam of $100, the burden of myopia is both physical and financial.
Learn more about getting ahead of common vision disorders by calling Visionary Eye Doctors in Rockville, MD today at (301) 591-1763.
Controlling & Managing Myopia Symptoms
There is no cure for myopia, but various studies have shown that it is possible to slow down myopia during childhood and adolescence. Different methods have shown varying results over the years. Those methods include the following:
- Corneal reshaping: Corneal reshaping commonly known as Orthokeratology lenses (Ortho-K) or Gentle Vision Shaping System (GVSS) uses specially designed contact lenses that are worn during sleep at night to temporarily correct vision problems so glasses and contact lenses are not needed during waking hours of the day.
- Dual focus soft contact lenses: A type of multifocal contact lenses with the center of the lens correcting for myopia and the outer portion of the lens using peripheral defocus to slow myopia progression.
- Pharmaceuticals agents: Low-dose atropine drops have been used for myopia management for many years with effective short-term results. Ideal for younger children with less near visual work and children not able to wear contact lenses.
- Lifestyle changes: Studies show that myopia progression can be slowed in children by: 1) increasing outside activities with two hours in natural light while doing distant activities; 2) performing their near activity in a well-lit room and following the 20-20-20 rule; 3) limit screen time to no more than two hours a day; and 4) turn off all electronics one hour before sleep.
- Spectacle correction: Spectacle lenses have been used for many years to improve vision due to myopia. This method has not proven effective for myopia management but may be more suitable to use in conjugation with pharmaceutical treatments.
- Under-correction: Under-correction of glasses or contact lenses has been used in the past by some prescribers and concerned parents who feared that it will make their child’s vision worse. Research has shown that using this method of myopia control increases myopia progression.
Overall, evidence has shown that the best techniques for slowing myopia progression are Ortho-K, dual focus contact lenses, and low dose atropine drops.