Myopia Control Options

We are proud to announce the opening of our “Myopia Control Clinic”, the first in the North Bay Area. Myopia, or nearsightedness, is generally understood as a refractive condition of the eye where light is focused in front of the retina. This results in poor distance vision and sometimes near vision. Myopia increases as the length of the eye, when measured from the front of the cornea to the back of the retina, is elongated. This greater length also has health implications by creating a greater risk for retinal detachments, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. High levels of myopia will also lead to thicker eyeglasses, limited contact lens options, a greater risk for LASIK complications, and a greater reliance on optical solutions. The prevalence of myopia is dramatically increasing worldwide. According to the National Eye Institute, “the prevalence of Myopia, or nearsightedness, has increased 66 percent in the United States between 1971 and 2004”. This increase is even more dramatic in other parts of the world and is quickly becoming an epidemic.

Myopia development and the potential for health complications needs to be addressed, and the earlier the better. Armed with graphs depicting expected myopic development and the effects of different myopia control strategies, the doctors of Mt. Tam Optometric Center can help you decide the best course of action to slow the progression of Myopia in your child.

This new technology is not just for children either. Over 25% of myopes in the Western world are adult-onset myopes, which often begins at college. We believe that this technology has potential benefits for all myopes. This represents a quick overview of the different approaches to Myopia Control, how they work, and what the expected results should be. Combinations of the therapies below are expected to have a greater effect but to date, there are no peer reviewed studies regarding this.

For a more in depth discussion, call us at 415.453.8906 to make a convenient Myopia Control Evaluation.

Peripheral Blur Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses


50% Reduction in Myopia Development

PROS
+ Least expensive optical therapy.
+ May be covered partially by insurance and/or flexible spending

CONS
– Age and hygiene of the patient may restrict contact lens use.
– Not as effective as other treatments for rapid progression.


Multifocal Contact Lens Therapy involves the use of specially designed multifocal contact lenses that limit the progression of myopia when compared to traditional single vision contact lenses or glasses. Multifocal contact lens therapy reduces the progression of myopia by focusing light in front of the peripheral retina, a technique known as “peripheral hyperopic defocus”. These multifocal contact lenses inhibit the elongation of the eye which causes the progression of Myopia. The effectiveness of multifocal therapeutic contact lenses is reported to reduce the rate of myopic progression by up to 50%.

Peripheral Blur Hybrid or Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses


49% Reduction in Myopia Development

PROS
+ Least expensive optical therapy.
+ May be covered partially by insurance and/or flexible spending

CONS
– Age and hygiene of the patient may restrict contact lens use.
– Not as effective as other treatments for rapid progression.


The preferred approach for patients with enough astigmatism that multifocal soft contact lenses are not an option. The reduction of myopic progression is comparable to multifocal therapeutic contact lenses at up to 50%.

CRT (Corneal Refractive Therapy) or Orthokeratology


43% Reduction in Myopia Development

PROS
+ Overnight wear so parents can assist young children.
+ May be covered by flex spending.
+ Great for young athletes.

CONS
– Most expensive upfront cost.
– Not covered by insurance.
– Not as effective at higher powers, and may require supplemental glasses for end of day use or with myopia > -6.00.


CRT or Orthokeratology is the use of specialized “reverse geometry” gas permeable contact lenses while sleeping like a retainer for teeth. They work by temporarily altering the curvature of the cornea to improve vision to normal so that contact lenses or eyeglasses are not needed during the day. Results will vary based on wear time. The effectiveness of CRT is reported to reduce the rate of myopic progression by approx. 43%.

Low Dose Atropine


60% Reduction in Myopia Development

PROS
+ Available for all levels of myopia and ages.
+ Parents can assist young children.
+ Best for rapid progression.

CONS
– Probably will require the use of progressive glasses.


Atropine Drug therapy is the use of a compounded concentration of the Atropine drop at night to relax the eye muscles associated with accomodation. Atropine drug therapy at the concentration rate of 0.01% has been shown to be effective in reducing side effects and reducing myopia progression. The effectiveness of Atropine drug therapy is reported to reduce the rate of myopic progression by approximately 60%.

Progressive Glasses


30% Reduction in Myopia Development

PROS
+ May be covered by Well-Vison Insurance (VSP, EyeMed, etc.)

CONS
– Least effective of all techniques.
– High cost for replacement.
– Not good for athletics.


An alternative for patients where contact lenses are not an option. Glasses need to worn at all times, especially when doing near work. Studies show that this can reduce myopia progression by up to 30%