What an exciting opportunity to finally have some control into how nearsighted your child will be! Gone are the days where we simply prescribe new glasses and wait to see how much change a child has every year. Now you, and your child, have options.
Here are the most effective ones, which we are happy to offer in our office:
- Soft multifocal contact lenses: These lenses work by creating a little peripheral blur that slows the stimulus for the retina to grow. Research shows about a 30% decrease in the rate of myopia progression for children using these lenses. It’s the least amount of myopia control of all the options; however, using soft daily disposable contact lenses is a relatively easy change to make for many children. Annual cost is typically $700-$800 for this type of contact lens.
- Atropine 0.01%: This is an eye drop that is used every morning to control myopia, and it slows the progression of myopia by about 50%. There are great long-term studies showing the safety and efficacy for over five years with this dosage. Atropine 0.01% must be compounded by a pharmacist and has limited availability, but we have a list of local pharmacies that make this drop. The full- strength atropine 1% has a multitude of unpleasant side effects, so we would never prescribe that dosage for myopia control. The annual cost of the much better atropine 0.01% drop is pharmacy and supply dependent, but the expected amount is around $1,000. Your child would still wear their normal glasses with this type of treatment.
- Orthokeratology: Ortho-k treatment uses retainer lenses, similar in material to gas permeable contacts, that have custom designs that reshape the front surface of the eye. There are two huge advantages to ortho-k. First, the retainer lenses are worn only while sleeping, and typically no glasses or other contacts are used during the day. That’s right, no vision correction needed during the day when the retainer lenses are worn at night! Secondly, ortho-k is the most effective treatment for controlling myopia. Studies show a decrease in the progression of nearsightedness by 60% to 100% within this treatment. This treatment involves multiple visits with our doctors and specialty custom-made retainer lenses. The initial cost is around $2,300, which goes down to just $400 on an annual basis plus approximately $400 for the cost of the lenses.
We are so excited to offer these alternatives to our young nearsighted patients. There is absolutely nothing wrong with traditional glasses or contact lenses, but these new options give us the power to control how much prescription your child will ultimately have. Please call to set up your child’s myopia control consult.