What Is Myopia?
Myopia is what is commonly referred to as nearsighted or shortsighted. It is of particular concern for two reasons:
- Myopia is being called an epidemic, in the early 70’s myopia effected 25% of the US population, and now it is close to being double that number. In certain countries as many as 90% of university students have myopia. While the causes of Myopia are not well known, the general consensus is that children spend less time outdoors and more time focusing on close vision (computers, cell phones, school work).
- Myopia while not dangerous at a young age, gets worse every year and eventually increases the risk of many eye diseases that can effect vision or even cause complete vision loss.
Can Multifocal Contacts Prevent It?
Due to the rapid increase in cases of Myopia, research on methods to slow down myopia has rapidly progressed over the last few years. Of all the areas of research multifocal contacts has had some surprising results as an effective method to control myopia in children. In a recent study multifocal contacts with children between the age of 8-12 years old was able to slow down the progression of myopia by 30% per year. When combining this method with lifestyle changes such as increased outdoor time, myopia can be halted to a point where it is no longer a major threat to your child’s vision.
With any form of myopia control, the earlier the treatment begins the more successful.
There are various forms of multifocal contacts on the market, and not every one provides control for myopia in children. Additionally it is important to go to an optometrist that is up to date on all the latest news and products in the contact lens market. Speak to our Optometrist about your child and the best contacts for them.
At What Age Should Children Wear Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses are safe for children, in fact there are certain scenarios where even babies wear contacts. The major deciding factor our eye doctor uses when judging if a child is ready, is the patients level of maturity. A recent study showed that children between the ages of 8-12 found that contacts were easy to put in and remove, easy to clean, and their parents said that the children were able to use the contacts by themselves. With contacts the main concerns are always misuse and bad habits, when starting a child early the doctor is able to introduce healthy habits from a young age, such as removing dailies or proper cleaning.
What Are The Benefits Of Contacts For Children?
The largest benefit of contacts for children is their ability to slow down the progression of myopia. Myopia as it progresses increases the risk of many diseases such as:
- Retinal tears and detachment risk is increased by up to 400% for patients with moderate myopia, and increased by 1000% for those with high myopia.
- Cataracts risk is increased, and the effectiveness of cataract surgery is decreased when one has high myopia.
Another less spoken about benefit of contacts for children is the ability to prevent eye injury from sports. Sports are a dangerous activity for your child’s eyes, and our eye doctor highly recommends contacts or glasses with special lenses for children who play sports. Children who wear contacts reported better sports performance than when they wore glasses.
Many contact lenses also offer UV protection. UV rays are very damaging to the eyes, especially for children. UV coatings are also available at our optical for your child’s glasses.
Contact lenses for children are reported to have a very strong effect on kids self esteem. An overwhelming percentage of children and teens responded that contacts where a large contribution to improvement in their self esteem and social acceptance.