Myopia, or nearsightedness, is caused by an elongated eye causing light to be out of focus. This causes blurry distance vision. An increase in myopia is being seen among young patients likely due to increased screen time and decreased time outdoors.
Myopia traditionally has been corrected with the use of glasses or contact lenses. However, this does not slow or control the progression of myopia as a child grows. If a myopic prescription reaches a high level, risks of blinding eye diseases like glaucoma, retinal detachment, and myopic maculopathy increase significantly.
It is now considered standard of practice to implement a myopia management plan for a child who is diagnosed with myopia. Methods of myopia control include soft multifocal contact lenses, low dose atropine drops, and Ortho-K. These methods work by creating a peripheral defocus on the retina to signal the eye to stop growing longer.
Ortho-K is a reversible vision correcting technique that uses corneal retainers to reshape the cornea (front surface of the eye). This retainer is worn at night, usually flattening the cornea, and during the day the patient has clear vision without the use of any contact lenses or glasses. This form of vision correction can also help slow down the progression of myopia in children by up to 60%. This is important to reduce dependence on glasses throughout life, but more importantly to decrease the risk of sight-threatening diseases later in life.