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What Mom's Should Know

"Doctor, it seems like my child's eyes just keeping getting worse and worse.  Is there anything we can do to slow it down?"

Myopia Control

by Dr. Jeff Broadhead

If you're a parent of a child with nearsightedness, you may have asked your eye doctor: "Doctor, my child's vision keeps getting worse and worse.  Is there anything we can do to stop that from happening?"

The traditional answer has been, "It's likely genetic and  it's likely to get worse."  That answer has never been satisfactory -- not to moms, nor to me.  That's why I'm so excited about the emerging research in the area of "myopia control." 

Two lessons are coming out of this research:

1.  First, research is beginning to confirm what a lot of mothers and eye doctors have suspected, that  for children with nearsightdness, wearing traditional glasses and contact lenses may actually stimulate myopia to get worse.

2.  Research also shows that we can do something to slow the progression of myopia.  And that's exciting!   I finally have a better answer for all those moms!


Why is Myopia Control Important?

Myopia (nearsightedness) is a common condition in which near vision is clear but distant objects appear blurred to an uncorrected eye. Myopia often begins in childhood or adolescence.  It tends to get worse each year until a young person is an adult.  The younger a child is when they're first diagnosed with myopia, the worse their myopia will usually become.

Adults with high amounts of myopia need to wear very strong glasses or contacts, and sometimes cannot qualify for Lasik. 

High myopia can be a risk factor for diseases such as glaucoma and retinal detachments.

Myopia is reaching epidemic levels and is a major health concern.  

prevalence of myopia in US

A growing body of research indicates that Corneal Reshaping can reduce the rate of myopia progression by 47 to 60%.  Based on that research:

We believe that all children with rapidly progressing myopia should be considered for Corneal Reshaping or or alternate methods to slow the progression of their myopia.  


Myopia Control Studies

Several recent studies confirm that Corneal Reshaping helps slow the progression of mypia.  Here are brief summaries of those studies:

REIM Study (2003). Tom Reim OD,FOAA and colleagues initially published the potential of Ortho-K myopia control in 2003.   This study reported that corneal reshaping patients experienced about a sixty percent reduction in the progression of myopia.

LORIC Study (2005). The Longitudinal Orthokeratology Research in Children(LORIC) the Hong Kong pilot study found a much slower rate of childhood myopia progression and axial elongation (47%) among young progressive myopes who underwent Ortho-K corneal reshaping compared to those who wore eyeglasses.

CRAYON Study (2007). The Corneal Reshaping and Yearly Observation of nearsightedness(CRAYON) study, conducted by Jeff Walline OD,FAAO at Ohio State University, confirmed previous studies that Ortho-K corneal reshaping contact lenses lower rates of myopia progression and axial elongation (57%) (Walline, 2008).

SMART Study in progress. Both the LORIC and CRAYON studies were small in scale. The Stabilization of Myopia by Accelerated Reshaping Technique (SMART) study began in 2009 as large scale five year study.   Interim results have continued to demonstrate the benefits of wearing Ortho-k corneal reshaping to control the progression of myopia in children and teenagers.

CRIMP Study (2010) . Corneal reshaping inhibits myopia progression(CRIMP) is an Australian ten year retrospective study demonstrated control of myopia progression over a ten year time frame.  Again the majority of Ortho-k corneal reshaping contact lens control group patients had a significant reduction in their myopic progression versus the group of patient not using Ortho-k corneal reshaping therapy.

Click Here to see complete abstracts of these studies and other reports.

Other Myopia Control Strategies

Worldwide, research is very active in evaluating multiple strategies for reducing the progression of myopia in children.  In addition to Corneal Reshaping, other alternatives include using atropine drops (a strong dilating drop) in combination with bifocal self-tinting lenses or prescribing multifocal soft contact lenses

Dr. Broadhead can help you determine which strategies work best for your child's situation.  Call 801-676-2020 to schedule your annual eye exam. 

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