Thank you for your interest in the Myopia Management Clinic at Vision Source of Farr West. Myopia (nearsightedness) is the most common cause of correctable visual impairment in both adults and children. We are seeing increases in myopia incidence and progression at alarming rates. In the 1970’s only 25% of the U.S. population had myopia. That number is well over 50% today and still rising. Additionally, we are seeing the amount of myopia a child may develop is much greater than in previous generations. Causes of these trends are still not entirely known, but we do know that there are environmental factors (smart phone use, school study, screen time, lack of outdoor play time, etc.) as well as genetic factors (i.e. myopic parents.)
Children especially preteen and teenagers that are at risk for progressive myopia have a much higher chance to develop vision threatening eye diseases as they age such as retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataracts to name a few.
We are so pleased to report that there are now ways of slowing or stopping your child’s myopia progression. We take into account a number of factors in deciding what will be best for your child’s vision and eye health. Several myopia management tests are now included in our annual pediatric vision exams and are performed at no extra cost.
One treatment option, the Gentle Vision Shaping System (GVSS) is FDA approved for non-surgical correction of myopia and can also be used off-label for the management of myopia progression. GVSS allows for excellent vision during the day without glasses or daytime contact lens, which is great for active children. Alternatives to GVSS include atropine drop therapy which has also been shown to slow down myopia progression, but does require the continual use of glasses. Atropine therapy is often considered if GVSS is not an option due to age or maturity of the child.
Myopia management is relatively new and some doctors that have not had a lot of experience with these new treatment options may continue to prescribe standard glasses and contact lenses letting your child’s vision continue to worsen each year. I have referenced a few studies that show the results of myopia management and its benefits long term and have included a copy of one important study for your review.
I look forward to working together with you to provide your child the very best vision correction. I am confident that the intervention we make today will make a big difference in the future. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with further questions.
Ian Whipple, OD