Soft Multifocal Contacts For Myopia Management
Myopia, also referred to as nearsightedness or short-sightedness, causes the eye to elongate from early childhood into the late teens. This elongation of the eye causes visual input (what your child sees) to focus in the front of the retina rather than on the retina proper. This is what causes poor distance vision and usually requires a new prescription at least once every year.
Regular glasses or contact lenses adjust for the poor focus, but do nothing to address the elongation of the eye itself and don’t slow the progression.
What many people don’t know is that myopia is dangerous. The more aggressive the progression, the more likely your child is to develop catastrophic vision problems later in life. This includes retinal detachment and macular degeneration—a leading cause of blindness. At the Specialty Contact Lens Center At Long Island Vision Care we use multifocal contact lenses as part of our toolkit for myopia management, which will slow or even stop the progression of your child’s myopia.
Specially applied use of soft multifocal contacts for myopia are a popular and effective technique for myopia management, backed by extensive research and prescribed across the globe by optometrists for children as young as 8.
What Are Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses?
Soft multifocal contact lenses are contact lenses featuring multiple prescriptions in a single lens. The lens will feature a prescription for very close objects, objects at intermediate distances, and objects at a distance.
The soft multifocal contact lenses are made of breathable flexible plastics which allow air to pass through the lens to the cornea for a healthy fit. The soft nature of the contact lenses makes them more comfortable to wear.
How Exactly Do Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses Help With Myopia Management?
These contact lenses are worn during the day like a regular contact lens and they adjust the distance focus in order to correct your child’s vision. But they also do more. In addition to adjusting for myopic distance vision, precise adjustments to your child’s near and intermediate vision are made as well. These finely tuned changes force your child’s eyes to adjust they way they focus in general. What this does is correct the Relative Peripheral Hyperopia (RPH) thereby preventing the eye from continuing the axial elongation responsible for your child’s myopia. The result is that the axial elongation is slowed or stopped, meaning that your child’s prescription will stop its rapid deterioration.
In short, by slightly altering how your child focuses in near and center vision, soft multifocal lenses are used to halt the elongation responsible for the myopia. This not only corrects your child’s vision, it slows or halts the prescription from getting worse. It protects your child’s eyes for a long life of healthy vision.
At What Age Can A Child Wear Multifocal Contact Lenses?
Just like adults, contact lenses are safe for kids. Any child responsible enough to practice good contact lens wearing habits can wear these soft multifocal contact lenses. Regardless of the age of your child, myopia is dangerous and needs to be managed.
Our Huntington myopia management specialist will ascertain if multifocal contact lenses are the right choice for controlling your child’s myopia. In addition, there are daily disposable multifocal contact lenses to help your child adjust to contact lenses that are convenient and low maintenance. Contact lenses provide an added advantage of prevention of eye injuries which are common for younger children.
Are Soft Multifocal Lenses A Cure For Myopia?
No. Once myopia sets in, it cannot be reversed. However, the progression of the myopia can and should be effectively managed. Slowing or halting the ongoing elongation of the eye is the key to slowing down how quickly your child’s eyes get worse. myopia management is essential for mitigating the serious long-term risks to your child’s vision.
All Myopia is dangerous to a child’s long-term vision. Children that have medium or high myopia (-6 or worse) are at an even greater risk of eye disease later in life. Because myopia is irreversible, it is crucial to begin managing the myopia at the first signs of nearsightedness to keep the prescription light and the risks as low as possible.
Can Patients With Astigmatism Use Multifocal Contact Lenses For Myopia Management?
Yes. Even children with astigmatism worse than -1.00 can successfully use these soft multifocal contacts for myopia management.
Are Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses The Ideal Solution For Myopia Management?
Every child has a unique pair of eyes. Most children with myopia will benefit from multifocal contacts, but most is not all. The majority of successful myopia management has been through the use of orthokeratology (Ortho-K). Research has demonstrated, however, that multifocal contact lenses slow the progression at a decent pace, particularly in children with a less severe progression. While Ortho-K is often the preferred option for myopia management, the main benefit of using multifocal contact lenses over Ortho-K is affordability.
How Do You Care For Your Soft Contact Lenses For Myopia Management?
Just like any contact lens, your child’s contacts should be cared for properly. This includes doing the following:
- Clean, rinse, and disinfect the lenses regularly
- Store overnight in clean lens cases
- Clean occasionally with the enzymatic cleaner to remove protein
If your child is prescribed daily disposable soft contacts for myopia management, the only care instructions are to make sure to remove the contact lens at night and throw them away.
Are There Risks Associated With Using Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses For Myopia Management?
There are no additional risks beyond those associated with using any contact lens on a daily basis. Proper cleaning and hygiene is important, and the wearer should not go to sleep while wearing these contacts.
How Many Hours A Day Do I Have To Wear The Soft Multifocal Contacts?
Typically, these should be worn during the daytime while your child is awake and active. We will assess and discuss the best wearing regimen for your child. The same best practices for safe and comfortable contact lens wearing apply. Generally, soft multifocal contacts are to be worn for a maximum of 10 to 12 hours a day.
Prolonged use of any contact lens can make your eyes feel uncomfortable or red and increase the risk of infections or chronic dry eyes. However, recent advances in disposable contact lenses using breathable materials have significantly reduced the already minor risks and comfort issues associated with wearing contact lenses.
What Is A Myopia Management Assessment? What Does The Doctor Assess When Fitting For Soft Lenses For Myopia Management?
We will assess the extent of your child’s myopia including baseline distance and near visual acuities including axial length and refractive error. After this assessment, we will be able to recommend the best myopia management treatment options. During this process, patients and parents are encouraged to ask any and all questions they may have.
Should you choose to proceed with using soft multifocal contact lenses, we will ascertain the exact prescription adjustments required for the multifocal contact lenses, and carefully fit the contact lenses to ensure that they sit correctly and comfortably. Your child will immediately be able to see normally. Over time, the myopia progression will be slowed or even halted, drastically reducing the long-term risks to your child’s vision and helping to ensure that your child has healthy eyes as he or she ages.
What Are The Social Benefits of Myopia Control For Children?
Myopia usually develops between ages 8 to 16. The earlier myopia management is started, the more effective it is at keeping myopia relatively mild. This way, your child will not need successively stronger lenses. Unchecked, myopia can progress until there is no other option but to wear very thick glasses, resulting in a high risk for catastrophic vision problems.
Regardless of your child’s current prescription, children often feel more comfortable with their appearance compared to putting on eyeglasses. Additionally, these contact lenses are more convenient for sports or simply just roughhousing and running around with friends.
According To Clinical Studies On Contact Lens Use In Children:
- 80% of parents agreed that contact lenses made their children feel more confident
- 30% of parents feel their children are restricted during sports when wearing glasses, while 86% of kids say that they feel better about participating in sports when wearing contact lenses.
- 92% of parents and 93% of children say they like wearing contact lenses, this is compared to only 58% of children that report that they like wearing glasses
- Contact lenses prevent eye injuries that occur from sports when wearing eye glasses.
- Since contacts are fitted directly on the eye they provide better vision during sports and a wider range of viewing than glasses
- Most contacts used for myopia management come with UV protection which protects your child’s eyes from long term damage
- Because the progression of myopia is reduced, the rate of changing prescription is also reduced, leaving your child with better day to day vision in the classroom and better school performance