We have always known that when both parents have significant myopia (nearsightedness) there is high probability that their children will also be myopic. It’s all about how the eyes grow. Myopic eyes are larger and often have front surfaces (the cornea) that are more curved. It’s the same as when two parents are both over 6 feet, their kids will probably also be taller than normal.

A myopic person cannot see clearly at distances greater than a few feet in front of them. This makes it impossible to learn properly in school, drive a car or navigate safely outside their homes without glasses, contact lenses, LASIK or OrthoK. It also increased their chances of getting certain eye diseases like retinal tears and detachments.

What may come as a surprise is that we can now easily and safely slow or even stop the myopic growth in children’s eyes. YES — MYOPIA CAN BE PREVENTED IN KIDS! The way in which we do this is not new. Orthokeratology (Ortho K) has been around for a long time. But it’s just been recently discovered that when done on children, it slows the growth of their eyes and they become less nearsighted.

So what is Ortho K and how does it work? In the past we used it as a non-invasive solution to correct for existing myopia – INSTEAD OF LASIK. A custom made pair of contact lenses is made which are only worn while sleeping. They gently reshape the front surface of the eye to correct the myopia. When the lenses are removed in the morning, that patient has 20/20 vision all day without any correction.

If your child is starting to have difficulty with distance vision or squinting to see things, they may have early myopia. Even if the myopia has started already, there is still time to correct for it and prevent further progression. If you would like to talk with someone who is currently using Ortho K to prevent myopia, give us a call and ask to talk to Dr Eiler who is currently using this technique with his daughter.

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