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Myopia Control

myopia management in illinois

Your child’s prescription seems to get worse all the time. It’s more than an inconvenience. It’s a serious risk to your child’s vision.

Preventing Eye Disease & Vision Loss
Myopia Management Is A Medical Necessity

If your child’s prescription for nearsightedness is getting worse all the time, it’s more than an inconvenience. Myopia can be aggressive. As incidence rates of myopia drastically rise, it’s also the case that aggressive or progressive myopia is rapidly increasing too. This situation is much worse than needing stronger and stronger corrective lenses, glasses or contacts. Myopia puts your child at risk for a wide range of serious and potentially devastating eye conditions later in life. These risks include:

      • Cataracts
      • Macular Degeneration
      • Retinal detachment
      • Glaucoma

The more advanced the progression, the greater the risks associated with the Myopia. However, the research is now showing that any amount of myopia is dangerous.

What Is Myopia Management?

Myopia, also commonly referred to as being “nearsighted” is a condition where light from objects in the distance focus in the front of the eye, instead of where it’s supposed to focus on―the retina. This causes distance vision to distort and become blurry. Myopia starts in childhood and progressively deteriorates into young adulthood.

Myopia is very often progressive. This means that the distance vision gets worse and worse, meaning your child constantly needs an updated and stronger prescription and new glasses or contacts. Since learning is by and large visual, the progression of myopia often outpaces your child’s eye exams. Myopia, therefore, negatively affects your child’s school performance. What’s more, the rate of progression of myopia directly correlates with the risk levels of developing vision-threatening eye diseases. Typically, myopia is broken down into these categories:

  • High Myopia
  • Moderate Myopia
  • Low Myopia

Low, High, and Medium correspond to how far along the myopia has progressed, in other words, how strong a prescription is needed. The higher the myopia and the higher the rate of progression, the higher the risks to your child’s vision.

When Should A Child Begin?

In recent years, a number of advanced methods have been developed to manage myopia. Unlike glasses or regular contact lenses, the goal of myopia management is to slow or even halt the progression of myopia entirely. At the, Myopia Management Center At Atkinson Eye Care, Dr. Atkinson will begin with a full assessment of your child’s myopia. We will then recommend a personalized treatment plan to slow or even stop your child’s myopia from getting worse. This is what will minimize the risks to your child’s long-term vision.

The more advanced the myopia is, the greater the risks. Therefore, our Algonquin Myopia Management Experts recommend starting Myopia management as soon as myopia is detected. It’s important to halt the myopia before your child’s vision deteriorates any further. This is the only way to minimize the risks. It also has the significant benefit of keeping your child from needing stronger and stronger lenses over time.

myopia management in illinois
What Causes Myopia?

Myopic vision is caused when the eye becomes elongated and and overly-curved in the front. This causes the objects we see to become blurry at a distance. In short, the signals to our eyes get distorted.

The exact cause of myopia is not entirely clear, although it seems to be a combination of genetics and environment. More and more, the evidence is pointing to two factors which seem to greatly affect the incidence rates around the world: greatly reduced time outdoors and rapidly increasing time spent in front of digital devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Why Are Rates of Myopia Increasing? Is Myopia An Epidemic?

While the exact causes of Myopia are not entirely certain, what is certain is that rates of myopia are drastically on the rise throughout the world. In fact, over 10 million American children have myopia, nearly double the incidence rate of myopia as compared to only a 2 decades ago. Incidence of myopia in children is enough for it to be considered an epidemic, with the number expected to jump 40% worldwide by 2050. Myopia is currently the 6th leading cause of blindness worldwide, with that figure expected to rise.

You Treat Nearsightedness With Glasses Or Contact Lenses, Isn’t That Enough?

Corrective lenses such as regular glasses or contact lenses refocus the light to compensate for the myopia. This is what allows someone with myopia to see more clearly. However, Lenses DO NOT address the myopia itself: the elongated eyeball or overly curved front of the eye and the risks associated with it. Wearing Glasses or Contact Lenses for myopia issues would be analogous to taking Tylenol for the short-term management of a fever's symptoms, while not taking the antibiotics necessary to cure the actual infection. 

How Is Myopia Dangerous? Isn’t Myopia Just Inconvenient?

What many people don’t know is that myopia is dangerous. Over recent years, the research has conclusively shown that myopia significantly increases the likelihood of a number of serious conditions which can rob your child of sight as he or she ages. This includes: Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, and Retinal Detachment.

  • Cataracts and Myopia
    A child with medium to high myopia is 5 times more likely to develop cataracts in his or her lifetime.
    Cataracts is condition where the lens of the eye clouds over and makes vision difficult or even impossible.

  • Glaucoma and Myopia
    Rates of glaucoma increase dramatically in children with myopia. A child with myopia is medium-high 3 times more likely to develop this serious condition, which occurs when fluid build up puts pressure on the eye causing irreversible damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness.


  • Retinal Detachment: Even Mild Myopia is Dangerous
    New research is showing that medium and high myopia significantly increases the risk of retinal detachment. A child with mild myopia, -4 to -7, is 21 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, while children with high myopia, worse than -7, are 44 times more likely to develop this serious vision condition.Retinal Detachment is a condition where the retina literally detaches from the layers beneath it. This causes lost fields of visions, flashes of light, floaters, and even total loss of your child’s eyesight.
  • Myopic Macular Degeneration
    Myopia occurs because the eyeball becomes increasingly elongated. When the progression of myopia is extremely high, or, malignant, it can cause the retina to be stretched, causing tears to form in the macula and bleeding in the areas beneath the retina. This can cause irreversible vision loss and blindness. Children with -5 to -7 have a 44 time greater increased risk, and 126 time greater for children with high myopia.

Control The Progression Of Your Child’s Myopia.

Book A Myopia Control Appointment

myopia management in illinois
What Treatments Are There For Myopia? How Does Myopia Control Work?

There are three main treatments that are used for effective Myopia Control. These are:

Each treatment option has its advantages and disadvantages. After we assess your child’s myopia, we will talk through all the options and develop a treatment plan that works best for your family.  

Ortho-K, or, orthokeratology goes by many names.

  • Gentle Shaping Vision System (GVSS)
  • Corneal Reshaping Therapy (CRT)
  • Vision Shaping Therapy (VST)
  • Corneal Molding (CM)

All of these treatment names are more or less the same thing. A rigid contact lens is custom-made for your child’s eyes by our Algonquin Myopia Control experts. These special lenses are worn at night by your child. As your child sleeps, the lenses gently reshape the cornea of the eyes. This reshaping corrects the elongation of the eye which causes the myopia. What this means is that the wearer won’t need glasses or contact lenses during the day at all — an especially appealing option for kids who don’t want to wear glasses or young athletes. What’s more, ortho-k has been proven to be highly effective at slowing and halting the progression of myopia, so it also is protecting your child’s adult vision while freeing them from glasses in the here and now.

Ortho-k allows adults and children alike to wake up with their vision adjusted, without the need to wear glasses or contacts during the day. For children, Ortho-k has been proven effective at slowing and even halting the progression of Myopia.

Ortho-k for Adults: A Safe Vision Correction Alternative to LASIK Surgery
Because corneal reshaping allows the wearer to see without glasses or contacts during the day, more and more adults are also being fitted for ortho-k. This could be for social or lifestyle reasons. Ortho-k is also appealing to certain professions such as:

  • Construction workers
  • Law Enforcement
  • Athletes
  • Pilots
  • Long-distance drivers

Ortho-k is an effective and non-surgical alternative to LASIK, and will often work for people who, for whatever reason, don’t want or don’t qualify for LASIK surgery.

Learn more about OrthoK

Another way myopia can be controlled is by using soft, multifocal contact lenses, which your child wears during the day. By altering the near, middle, and peripheral focus, in addition to correcting distance vision, the eyes are forced to adjust. This slows down the elongation in the eye overtime and is an effective means to control myopia.

What Our Patients Are Saying...
Meet Our Myopia Control Optometrist
Dr.-William-Atkinson

William Atkinson, OD

Dr. William Atkinson is an exceptional Woodstock optometrist, with a true humanitarian spirit. He holds degrees from Springfield College in Illinois, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and the Illinois College of Optometry, and completed an externship at Olympia Fields Osteopathic Hospital and in pediatrics at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines....
Dr.-Elizabeth-Atkinson

Elizabeth M. Atkinson, OD

Dr. Elizabeth Atkinson is an eye doctor with many years of experience and a passion for helping her patients. After obtaining her B.S. in Psychology from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1988, she went on to earn her Doctor of Optometry from Illinois College of Optometry in 1992. She completed...
Serving Patients From Chicago's Northwest Suburbs

Dr. Atkinson is dedicated to protecting the long term vision health of children. Because of the overwhelming evidence now available proving the dangers of myopia, Dr. Atkinson founded the Myopia Management Center At Atkinson Eye Care in order to provide the most advanced and effective myopia control throughout Illinois .

The Myopia Management Center At Atkinson Eye Care proudly provides advanced pediatric eye care for patients from Algonquin as well as:

Schaumburg | Elgin | Rockford  | Buffalo Grove

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