Myopia is the clinical term for what most people understand to be nearsightedness or where vision is better at near than at far. Myopia is prominent in children and typically appears between the ages of 8 and 16, progressing more with age1. This condition is believed to be caused by several environmental and genetic factors. For example, children who spend more time outdoors tend to be less myopic, and when both parents are myopic, it is more likely that their children will also be myopic.
Typically, doctors prescribe single vision glasses or contact lenses for myopic patients. These prescriptions have a lens that is curved and can refocus the light into the retina of the eye, therefore correcting the nearsightedness of the patient1. Several recent studies have shown that patients who are prescribed with a multifocal lens, instead of a single vision lens, have a slowed progression of myopia. A multifocal lens is a lens with more than one point of focus. Multifocal contact lenses slow progression more than multifocal glasses.
In the studies, children between the ages of 9 and 13 were treated for myopia with a multifocal contact lens1. Researchers found that 25% of the children had a lowered progression of myopia and 31% of the children also had slowed eye lengthening1. The biggest effect was found when children wore the contact lenses for 5-7 hours a day1. Doctors believe that if they can treat patients for myopia while they are younger, the treatment will have a stronger effect and they will be able to benefit more throughout their lifetime1. In the case of this present study, a doctor who prescribes a multifocal contact lens for a child may be helping the child to benefit even more, by preventing the vision of the eye from worsening.
Contact lenses allow children to feel better about their outward appearance because they do not need to wear glasses. Additionally, younger patients can participate in sports and activities with confidence and without worrying about glasses breaking or being damaged. Contact lenses are comfortable and convenient for patients of all ages.
Schedule your appointment today with Doctor Riggs to be proactive in the treatment of your eye health, as well as the eye health of your children!
“Multifocal Contact Lens Effective at Treating Myopia in Kids.” AOA Focus ; pp. 46-47. www.aoa.org. 16 August 2016.