Methods of myopia control in children
Myopia (also called nearsightedness) is very common among both children and adults. And those myopic adults usually got this visual condition when they were young. So, myopia is really a prevailing phenomenon among kids living in modern times. Typically, many children experience progressive myopia as they grow. This visual refractive error makes them difficult to see distant objects clearly during school study as well as daily life. While it is relatively easy to “correct” this vision problem via Rx eyewear, some people are trying to find out a way to control its progression.
Wearing RGP lenses may control myopia
Currently, lots of eye doctors and researchers are carrying out research on myopia in order to find some strategies for solving this problem. For instance, some studies show that wearing rigid gas permeable (RGP or GP) contact lenses can control myopia, because RGP lenses would act as a splint to fortify the front of the eye. The Contact Lens and Myopia Progression (CLAMP) study in 2004, funded by the National Eye Institute, confirmed the above conclusion. Some studies also show that GP lens wearers have less myopia progression, but it may be temporary because eye growth can not be stopped by GP lenses.
The degree of progression control is still not sure
Another difficulty of GP lenses is that practitioners can not be sure of the controlling degree that can be achieved by using GP lenses because myopia sometimes runs in families. It is no wonder that a kid becomes heavy myopic if there is high myopia in his or her family. In addition, a new study presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology showed that there was no significant association between myopia progression and soft contact lenses or eyeglasses.
Undercorrection is risky
Some eye doctors also have tried undercorrecting nearsightedness. In other words, they try to make a relative low prescription for a little kid. However, studies show that this strategy can actually increase the rate of myopia progression. One explanation of this risky condition is that with inadequate vision correction the kid still needs to squint and gets the eyes tired. Some other studies have found that progressive lenses can slow myopia progression significantly in the first year.
Corneal refractive therapy and corneal reshaping are possibly effective
Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) requires children or adults to wear special contact lenses overnight to reshape the cornea. In this way, it is amazing to see clearly the next day without wearing any lens, but this effect is not permanent. Another study named The Longitudinal Orthokeratology Research in Children (LORIC) shows that corneal reshaping can bring both controlling and corrective effects on childhood nearsightedness. The Corneal Reshaping and Yearly Observation of Nearsightedness (CRAYON) study has confirmed that corneal reshaping can indeed slow eye growth in myopic children after one year of treatment.
Two medication solutions
Atropine eye drops can slow down myopia progression by temporarily paralyzing the muscle inside the eye. Pirenzepine gel which is not FDA-approved can also reduce myopia progression. Both atropine and pirenzepine drugs may bring side effects.