Children’s Myopia Center (CMC)
at InVision Eyecare Specialists
The CMC was formed under the direction of Dr. Rachel Roman because of her love for children and a passion to fulfill the need to slow a rapidly growing global epidemic in myopia - also known as nearsightedness.
What is Myopia?
Myopia, or nearsightedness, occurs when light does not focus correctly onto the retina due to the eye’s length being longer than normal. This causes blurry vision when viewing distance objects. As myopia worsens, vision worsens as well. Children should therefore be tested every year for myopia from the age of 5.
In order for someone with myopia to see clearly in the distance, they need either corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses. Distance activities include looking out a window, seeing the blackboard, TV watching or facial recognition from across the room, catching a ball, and so forth.
Genetics play a role in the development of myopia. If one parent is myopic, there is a 1 in 3 chance a child will also be myopic. If both parents are myopic, the risk increases to 1 in 2. However, if neither parent is myopic, there is still a 1 in 4 chance of developing myopia.
Lifestyle factors also influence the eye’s development. Studies show that children who spend more time indoors and more time with near vision activities, such as reading, iPads, cell phones, and computers tend to develop myopia earlier in life and to a greater extent.
Until they get the proper glasses, kids may squint often,
Incidence and Epidemic
The myopia epidemic has resulted from an exponential increase in the prevalence of myopia.In the 1970s, about 25% of the US population was nearsighted. Fast forward to today, about 40% of the US population is now nearsighted. This is only expected to increase further. By 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population – almost 5 billion people – will be myopic. The greatest changes in myopia occur from age 6 to 16.
The Case for Concern
Why be concerned about myopia (nearsightedness)?
There are several reasons for concern;
- Myopia causes visual impairment creating a need for the use of glasses or contact lenses in order to clearly. Most cases of myopia get worse, further impairing or child, over time without timely intervention.
- Myopia has been demonstrated to significantly increase the levels of anxiety among adolescents who experience lower self-esteem**.
- When the eye’s length grows excessively, this is called progressive high myopia or pathologic myopia. The higher the myopia, the blurrier the vision becomes which can impact one’s quality of life. The abnormal elongation of the eye can also weaken the retina and increase the risk of sight threatening eye disorders later in life such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopia maculopathy.
Myopia is commonly treated with spectacles or contact lenses. While this helps to provide clear vision, they do not aid in slowing down the progression of myopia. Myopia is typically diagnosed in childhood and can progress until the early 20s, which is when eyes normally stop growing.
New and exciting clinical research has shown that specialty soft contact lenses and prescription eye drops can significantly reduce the amount of myopia a child may develop over time. This is important as reducing the progression of myopia can reduce the risk of developing certain eye diseases later in life. Our recommended treatments are based on scientifically peer reviewed research and are tapered to your child’s needs.
Advanced Technology at InVision
MCC uses technologic advances to better treat myopia. These devices are made available by being part of a multispecialty practice at InVision that has invested in expensive technologies that will benefit in very accurately measuring your child’s progress.
These devices are painless and take seconds to perform. They include the:
- Zeiss IOLMaster 700: This device that precisely measures your child’s eye length to a thousand of a millimeter. It allows us to best assess the effect of your child’s treatment over time. Remember myopia occurs because your child’s eye is growing too much.
- Optos: This diagnostic device delivers an extraordinary wide field retinal and optic evaluation to check the health of the back of the eye.
- Marco OPD3: This device allows for an instant analysis of the quality of your child’s optical system. With our OPD3 we can show you exactly what your child sees without their glasses or contacts!
- Pentacam: This device scans the cornea in three-dimensions to rule our diseases that might disguise themselves as myopia. This early diagnosis allows for an early office treatment, collagen crosslinking, to prevent the later need for a cornea transplant for conditions such as keratoconus.
Depth of Expertise
The MCC at InVision has the advantage of a multidisciplinary doctor staff including;
- retina specialists who can assess any vision threatening changes in the retina from myopia
- glaucoma experts who can evaluate the subtleties of any suspicious changes that may reflect early glaucoma
- laser vision correction specialists who can correct the inability to focus from myopia once your child is 18 and their glasses prescription has been stable for 2 years.