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Myopia Management

How Often Does Your Myopic Child Need An Updated Prescription?

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthEvery year you buy your children clothing without thinking about why you are doing it. You just know they have outgrown their clothes and need a new coat and certainly new shoes. This also applies to prescription glasses. When your child grows, so do their eyes.

If their eyes grow too long, they develop myopia — nearsightedness. Children whose myopia develops quickly, and/or is moderate to severe, are at a heightened risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases in adulthood.

Changes in Your Eyes

Babies are born with eyes about 16.5 millimeters in length. When their eyes are about 24 millimeters long — at the age of 20 and 21 — they stop getting longer.

As our eyes grow larger, the way they refract light onto the retina can change, necessitating a new prescription.

During their first few years, children are mainly concerned with interacting with their surroundings, requiring them to use their intermediate and far vision. However, when the school years start, they begin to focus more intently on close-up activities like reading from books and using computers. As a result, their eyes may become more nearsighted.

School-age children can be impacted by progressive myopia, where the myopia continues to worsen throughout the school years. Their optical prescriptions can change, often dramatically, every 6-12 months

This progression in myopia continues as long as the eyes continue to grow, so as children grow, their prescription naturally changes as well.

Since most people’s eyes will stop growing in early adulthood, you will tend to see fewer changes in their prescription after the student completes high school or during their college years.

Myopia Management

If your child has myopia they will need prescription glasses. In some children, myopia progression is gradual. In others, their myopia progresses quickly, resulting in ever-higher levels of nearsightedness. Their eyeglass prescriptions need to be updated quickly.

To try and slow the progression of your child’s myopia, Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. may suggest a number of treatments, such as multifocal lenses and atropine drops, among others.

Atropine Drops

Atropine eye drops are most commonly used to dilate your pupils during certain eye exams. However, recent research has shown that a low-dose (0.01%) of atropine eye drops can effectively impede the progression of myopia in children. When the eye drops are applied, at bedtime, over an extended period of time, myopia progression can be reduced.

Multifocal Lenses

Multifocal soft contact lenses offer clear vision at various focal distances. Scientific evidence has shown that wearing multifocal glasses or contact lenses limits the progression of myopia compared to the standard single vision contact lenses or glasses most children wear.

At Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric, we provide our patients with effective, specialized treatment to control the progression of myopia. By stopping or slowing the progression of myopia, we reduce long-term risks to best ensure that your child enjoys the world with healthy eyes throughout their life.

Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients in Sacramento,Folsom, Roseville and Elk Grove, throughout California .

Does The Use of Digital Devices Cause Myopia In Children?

kid with tablet 640Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the eyeball grows too long, or the cornea and/or eye lens are too curved relative to the length of the eyeball. This causes faraway objects to appear blurry. More than 30% of North Americans have this refractive error starting from childhood.

Being nearsighted isn’t just an inconvenience. Children with moderate to severe myopia are at significant risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

But is there a link between spending too much time on digital devices and myopia? While digital devices keep our children busy and entertained, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to understand the implications associated with all this screen time.

What Does the Research Show?

There is growing evidence that up-close tasks raise the risk of myopia in children. In an analysis of 27 studies on 25,000 children published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers found that the more time children spent on near-work activities like reading, homework, writing, computer use, playing video games, and watching TV, the higher their risk of developing myopia.

The analysis found that the odds of myopia increased by 2% for every hour per week a child did near-work activities.

Other studies have found that children who spend a significant amount of time playing outdoors experience less myopia progression than children who are homebodies. Researchers theorize that looking at distant objects, such as a ball flying through the air at the far end of a sports field, and sunshine play a role in myopia prevention.

Not surprisingly, most eye doctors recommend limiting the amount of time a child stares at a digital screen in order to safeguard their eye health and overall wellbeing. To learn more about myopia or to slow its progression, contact Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Our Optometrists

Q: What Are the Signs of Myopia?

  • A: – Blurred vision: Using a digital screen for long periods of time can result in blurry vision, especially when focusing on distant objects.
    – Headaches: Untreated myopia can cause serious eye strain, which in turn results in headaches.
    – Head tilting or squinting: If you notice your child tilting their head while watching TV or squinting their eyes, it’s a sign that they are having difficulty focusing. This could be a sign of myopia.
    – Looking at objects a bit too closely: Oftentimes, children cannot verbally explain how they feel but they can express it in a non-verbal way. If you notice your child moving closer to the TV or that they have trouble seeing the blackboard at school, it can signal myopia.

Q: How Can I Prevent or Slow My Child’s Myopia?

  • A: Catching myopia early can help slow its progression and prevent serious eye diseases later in life. As a parent, here is what you can do to help prevent your child from developing this eye condition:
    – Try to limit the amount of time your child spends on close work such as reading, homework, and screen time.
    – When your child uses a computer, make sure they are properly positioned. Have your child take frequent screen breaks and look across the room for at least 20 seconds during each break.
    – Encourage outdoor time of at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Be sure your child wears UV protected sunglasses.
    – Discuss myopia management with your eye doctor to slow and potentially stop the progression of your child’s myopia.


How We Can Help Treat Myopia

If your child exhibits any myopia symptoms, schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Undetected myopia can cause many complications, whether academic, social, or emotional. Early diagnosis of myopia and other eye problems can improve your child’s performance in school, on the sports field, and can prevent serious sight-robbing eye diseases later in life.

Furthermore, if your child is diagnosed with myopia, we can help slow its progression with myopia management.

Our doctors work closely with each family and customize treatment programs for every child based on their unique needs. If you are concerned about your child’s myopia, schedule an assessment for myopia management to see if they can benefit from this life-changing treatment.

To learn more about myopia management or to schedule an eye exam, contact Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, and Elk Grove today!

Resources:

Protect Your Children’s Vision By Getting Them To Play Outside This Winter!

child playing snow 640As temperatures drop, some parents may be wondering how to get their kids outside for some healthy outdoor play.

Below, we share tips on fun outdoor activities you can do and explain why playing outside can help your child’s vision.

How Outdoor Play Impacts Myopia

Studies have shown that children who spend at least 11 hours per week outside during daylight hours have a slower rate of myopia progression than children who don’t. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure why, it appears that sunlight and the child’s use of distance vision outdoors may play a role.

So why would parents want to slow down their child’s myopia? The answer may surprise you.

Having myopia in childhood places the child at heightened risk for developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. These include cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and glaucoma.

3 Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Kids This Winter

Play With Snow

Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, playing with snow is something that everyone can enjoy. Bundle up your child so they stay safe and warm, and send them out to build a snowman, have a snowball fight, build an igloo, or make a snow angel. Older children and teens may enjoy building a snow maze.

If your kids like a bit of competition, you can conduct a snow castle building contest. This activity can be fun for the entire family!

If you don’t have enough snow to build a snowman or castle, you can play tic-tac-snow on the snow-covered ground.

Go Sledding

Sledding and tobogganing are classic winter activities that your child will love. All you need is a sled and a snowy hill — easy, right?

But before you soar down those snowy slopes, here are some guidelines that will ensure a safer sledding experience:

  • Use a sled that can be steered and has a brake
  • Protect your head with a helmet
  • Dress warmly, but leave your scarf at home, as it can get caught under the sled
  • Children under the age of 6 should always sled accompanied by an adult

Create Outdoor Art

This activity is perfect for kids who like to get a little messy. To make a colorful masterpiece on a canvas of snow, give your child a few squirt bottles filled with water and a few drops of food coloring gel. They’ll have heaps of fun squirting the colored liquid on snow or ice.

They can also paint on snow using watercolors and a paintbrush.

If it doesn’t snow where you live, you can always give your child some sidewalk chalk and let them get creative on the pavement. The important thing is to have your child play outdoors.

At Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric, our goal is to help slow down your child’s myopia progression and keep their eyes healthy for a lifetime.

To learn more about our myopia management program or to schedule your child’s eye exam, call us today!

Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Good & Bad Gift Choices For Children With Myopia

mario luigi yoschi figures 640Gift-giving season is just around the corner! If your child has myopia (nearsightedness), you may want to consider giving a gift that supports eye health and slows myopia progression.

Why Does Myopia Progression Matter?

Many parents assume that having myopia is only a matter of blurred distance vision, but that’s not the whole story.

Children who have myopia are significantly more likely to develop sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, like glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration. Rapidly progressing myopia further increases the risk of eye disease later in life.

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates, and light focuses in front of the retina instead of on the retina. The exact cause of myopia is unknown, but genetics play an important role. Certain environmental factors may also have an impact.

That’s why it’s important for parents to consider how holiday gifts can affect their children’s eyes and vision.

Gifts That Won’t Help Your Child’s Myopia

The first category of items to consider eliminating from your holiday shopping list includes toys or devices with digital screens. Although the association has not been clinically proven, most optometrists agree that increased screen time has a negative impact on myopia progression.

While spending time on screens is almost inevitable during the pandemic, it’s wise to be realistic about its potential ramifications for children. Even prior to COVID-19, the number of myopic children was steadily increasing and projected to affect 50% of the world’s population by 2050.

Another gift to rethink: eyeglasses. Tempting though it may be to purchase new glasses for your child this holiday season, it’s important to remember that new specs can only correct blurred vision; they don’t treat the underlying cause of myopia.

Better Gifts For Myopic Children

Try encouraging your myopic child to spend more time outdoors by giving them new outdoor gear. It is well documented that children who spend more time outdoors in the sunshine have a slower rate of myopia progression, so why not add a new bike, basketball, or rollerblades to your gift list?

However, the best gift you can give your child with myopia is a personalized myopia management program.

Why Myopia Management?

Myopia management is the only effective way to slow down the rate of your child’s myopia progression.

The myopia management program at Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric offers three effective and safe treatments for myopia, including Ortho-K lenses, atropine eye drops, and multifocal contact lenses.

A comprehensive eye exam with Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. will determine the best treatment option for your child’s eyes and lifestyle.

Consider myopia management — a gift that will help preserve your child’s precious gift of sight. Call Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric to schedule an eye exam today.

Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Flattening the Curve: Ortho-K Could Battle the Myopia Epidemic

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthMyopia (nearsightedness) is a vision epidemic that is spreading globally. It affects more than a quarter of the world’s population and could affect half of the population within 30 years. It’s important to slow myopia’s progression in childhood because moderate (-3.25 to -5.00 D) and high myopia (greater than -5.00 D) increase the chance of developing such vision-threatening conditions as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and myopic macular degeneration later in life.

Myopia results from the eyeball being too long, causing light to land in front of the retina rather than directly on it. While myopia doesn’t have a cure, it can be corrected with prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. But these prescriptions must regularly be updated as a child’s myopia progresses. LASIK surgery is not an option for children or teenagers because their eyes are still growing.

Why is the myopia pandemic so widespread? Experts point to genetics and also to the fact that many young people spend most of their waking hours indoors. In research studies, children who spent a significant amount of time in the sun experienced less myopia progression than children who did not.

How Can Ortho-K Address a Child’s Myopia Progression?

Ortho-k is a popular treatment option for slowing myopia’s progression. It is safe and painless, using rigid gas-permeable lenses that are customized for your child or teen. Ortho-k lenses are inserted at night and removed in the morning. During that time, they temporarily flatten the eyeball. (Think of it as the optical equivalent of the retainer or bite plate that your child might wear to bed at night to keep teeth straight.) During waking hours, your child can see clearly, swim, and play sports without wearing contact lenses or glasses.

As long as your child handles the lenses according to the instructions of Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. and observes hygiene protocols when using them — washing hands first, using only the designated solutions to clean and rinse the lenses — ortho-k lenses can be safely used.

Annual eye exams are vital so that Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. can monitor the rate at which the myopia is progressing. If your children’s vision is rapidly deteriorating, we can offer myopia-management measures to slow myopia’s progression.

Ortho-k is a treatment worth considering for your child’s short- and long-term optical health. One child at a time, ortho-k can help in addressing the worldwide myopia pandemic.

 


Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric can provide ortho-k expertise to patients in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

References:

How Do I Prevent My Child’s Myopia From Worsening?

child reading 640×350If you’re a parent of a nearsighted child, you know that myopia (nearsightedness) can sometimes be challenging. What many parents don’t know is that rapidly progressing myopia is more than just a hassle — it can harm your child’s eye health. Children with rapidly progressing myopia are far more likely to develop potentially sight-threatening eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration later in life.

Fortunately, Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. can help slow the progression of your child’s myopia with a customized myopia management program. Understanding what causes myopia to worsen and what can be done to slow it down can help safeguard your child’s vision.

What Causes Myopia to Progress?

Genetics play a large role in myopia development. Two nearsighted parents are more likely to have a myopic child than a couple with only one myopic parent, or no myopic parents at all.

No one knows exactly why myopia progresses, but spending most of the day indoors, focusing on near objects like screens and books, may be risk factors. More research is needed to determine whether the fact that children are spending less time looking at faraway objects like a moving baseball or a basketball net might be contributing to the increase in myopia cases around the world.

How Can I Prevent Myopia From Worsening?

One of the best pieces of advice for parents of nearsighted children is to increase their child’s outdoor playtime in the sun. In research studies, the progression of myopia was slower in children who spent a considerable amount of time in the sunshine than in children who did not.

The World Health Organization advises that children under 5 spend 1 hour or less per day in front of a screen, and no screen time is recommended for infants under 1. The Children’s Eye Foundation recommends outdoor play daily, and no screen time for children under 2. They also recommend no more than 1-2 hours per day for 2- to 5-year-olds, with frequent breaks.

How Can a Myopia Management Eye Doctor Help?

Myopia management eye doctors do more than prescribe corrective lenses. Although no actual cure for myopia exists, there are methods that can help control its progression.

Current treatments include:

  1. Atropine eye drops
  2. Orthokeratology (“ortho-k”) gas permeable contact lenses
  3. Multifocal glasses/contact lenses

Following a thorough eye exam, Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. will determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your child’s eye health and lifestyle. Annual eye exams for myopic children are recommended to monitor any changes in vision. It’s important to note that not all optometrists provide myopia management.

 

 

Feel free to speak with Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. or the friendly staff at Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric and ask any further questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!

Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

 

Offer Your Elementary School Graduate This Life-Changing Gift: Ortho-K

happy blonde childMyopia, or nearsightedness, is an all-too-common childhood eye condition. Unlike eyeglasses and traditional contact lenses, which merely correct refractive errors, orthokeratology (ortho-k, special rigid gas-permeable) contact lenses, actually slow the progression of myopia. This is important because rapid myopia progression can lead to sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration later in life.

Furthermore, ortho-k lenses are worn overnight, providing a clear and stable vision without having to wear any glasses or contacts throughout the day.

What is Myopia?

Myopia afflicts more than a quarter of the world’s population, a situation many experts consider an epidemic. By 2050, that number is expected to dramatically rise to 50% of the global population.

In addition to genetics, spending most of our waking hours indoors, and staring for long periods at close-up objects like smartphones and tablets, are among myopia’s main risk factors, and may explain the rapid rise in cases.

Myopia occurs when the axial length of the eyeball is elongated. This causes the cornea to curve beyond its normal shape, leading far away objects to appear blurry since light lands in front of the retina, rather than directly on it.

How Is Myopia Dangerous?

Mild myopia (-0.25 to -3.00 D) generally does not increase a person’s risk for eye diseases later in life. However, moderate ( -3.25 to -5.00 D) and high myopia (greater than -5.00 D) are linked to serious, vision-threatening conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration.

Cataracts

Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy, rendering it difficult or even impossible to see.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma develops when eye fluid build-up increases pressure on the eye, causing irreversible damage to the optic nerve. It is the leading cause of blindness in the United States and Canada.

Retinal Detachment

The retina detaches from the layers beneath it, causing field vision loss, flashes of light, floaters, and in the worst of cases — total vision loss.

Myopic Macular Degeneration

When myopia is extremely high, it can cause the retina to stretch, leading to macular tearing and bleeding in the areas beneath the retina. This can result in irreversible vision loss and even blindness.

How Does Ortho-K Work?

Think of the retainer or bite plate you might have worn to bed at night to keep your teeth straight. Ortho-k is the optical equivalent. Your child’s eye doctor may prescribe ortho-k lenses to gently reshape the cornea every night. A child who wears them from bedtime until the next morning will enjoy clear, unimpaired vision the following day. This enables your child to swim and play sports without requiring prescription goggles or sports glasses.

Within months of wearing ortho-k lenses, the eyeball growth may decrease, thus halting myopia progression. This, in turn, can diminish your child’s risk of developing any sight-threatening conditions in decades to come.

 

 

How Are Ortho-k Lenses Fitted?

All tokens name=’SpCenterMC’] patients undergo a full ortho-k assessment before being fitted for these lenses. We will measure the precise curvature of the child’s cornea using a device called a corneal topographer, ensuring that the lenses fit perfectly.

After the initial fitting, patients will be provided with in-clinic training on how to insert, remove, and care for their ortho-k contact lenses at home. Periodic check-ups will help ascertain any changes in refraction and corneal topography, and adjustments to the lenses will be made accordingly.

Not only does ortho-k offer clear vision the next day; it also lowers the risk of developing ocular diseases later in life.

Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, and Elk Grove, in California .

References

Why Do Most Practices Prefer Ortho-K for Myopia Management?

girl sleeping on bed 1359554Your child does not answer, and you can feel the tension in their body rising as they squint their eyes. They honestly can’t read the chart! The optometrist remains calm and assures your child that it’s okay. For you, however, this may be a very distressing moment.

Next, the optometrist explains to you that your child belongs to the 40% of North Americans with myopia – nearsightedness. To prevent the condition from rapidly progressing, the doctor suggests a treatment called orthokeratology. You’ve likely never heard of such treatment and wonder whatever happened to traditional eyeglasses.

Ortho-K Has High Success Rates in Slowing Down Myopia

Today it is commonly agreed that correcting nearsighted vision is not enough. Myopia progresses during childhood, and young adults may find themselves with high levels of myopia, and at risk of developing severe eye diseases. Among them are retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, and glaucoma, conditions that can lead to vision loss or even blindness later in life.

Fortunately, modern optometry offers a variety of treatments to manage myopia and keep it from progressing to dangerous levels. Orthokeratology (ortho-k) has proven highly successful and is convenient for the wearer. Studies show a 36-56% slower progression of myopia in children treated with ortho-k compared to other options that have some to marginal success rates.

What Makes Ortho-K Unique?

Ortho-k is often referred to as corneal reshaping therapy. It utilizes a therapeutic contact lens rather than corrective lenses. Children as young as 6 can wear the ortho-k lens overnight to provide them with perfect vision during the day. The concept is similar to how dentists use braces, only that braces gradually induce permanent changes, while ortho-k lenses induce temporary changes that last through the following day. This is why Ortho-K is reversible & safe for nearly any age.

Reshaping is accomplished by wearing custom-made rigid contact lenses overnight, while your child is asleep. In the morning, your child removes the lenses, and the cornea maintains its new shape for up to 72 hours. Clear vision is achieved through an altered corneal shape rather than a visual aid.

Ortho-K Is Becoming the Standard for Myopia Management

Ortho-k has been available for more than half a century and has been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to advanced technologies, higher efficiency, and easier handling. Optometrists, such as Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. have a digital corneal topographer—a device that measures and maps the corneal surface—in their practice. This allows them to carry out all necessary examinations for precise custom-shaped lenses, designed to meet your child’s prescription requirements with high accuracy.

Another reason ortho-k lenses are popular: they’re extremely convenient. Eyeglasses have never been popular among children, and regular contact lenses can move around in the eye and even get lost during play. Because children wear ortho-k lenses only when they sleep, and don’t need lenses or glasses during the day, they can go about their day unencumbered.

Ways to Manage Myopia

Four main treatments can slow down the progression of myopia. Each has its advantages and is suitable for different circumstances.

  • Orthokeratology – overnight contact lenses that reshape the cornea and provide clear vision during the day have proven to slow down myopia progression. Because the lenses are worn only at night, the child is free of glasses or contacts throughout the day.
  • Atropine eye drops – applying low-dose atropine eye drops once a day has been shown to slow down myopia progression. There are few side-effects of this medication, and the eye drops can be used in combination with corrective lenses.
  • Contact Lenses – a specific type of contact lens, called a distance center multifocal soft contact lens, can slow down myopia progression.
  • Multifocal lenses – both multifocal glasses and conventional multifocal soft contact lenses can slow down myopia progression to some extent.

Several factors need to be taken into consideration when determining whether ortho-k is a suitable option for your child. These include age, myopia level, and general eye health. Many optometrists prefer ortho-k; however, they may recommend any of the methods mentioned above after assessing the best way to manage your child’s myopia. At Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric we will help you find the best possible option for your child. Schedule an eye exam with Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. to evaluate how to best prevent myopia from progressing and be comfortable at the same time.

Resources:

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03465748

https://www.myopiainstitute.com/types-of-myopia-control/

 

Is Your Child Suffering From Nearsightedness?
Here’s How You Can Help

Proper vision is one of the most important elements of your child’s development. In school, sports, and other activities, the right vision skills are Child suffering from nearsightednessessential. Vision problems that are not addressed in time can cause serious consequences.

One of the most common vision problems is nearsightedness. It’s a common refractive problem that plagues children and adults of all ages, but fortunately, it’s easily treatable.

How To Spot Eye Problems In Kids

Children may not be willing to discuss any difficulty with their vision, and in most instances, they may not even be aware that they have a vision problem. It takes the close attention of teachers and parents to spot any issues. When a child starts sitting too close to the TV or finds it difficult to see the board in the classroom, they may be suffering from nearsightedness.

What You Need To Know About Nearsightedness In Children

Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, won't have any meaningful impact on the academic performance of your child if it’s detected and treated in a timely fashion. A proper eye exam can reveal if your child has myopia, and if so, eyeglasses and contact lenses can easily treat the condition.

However, the problem with myopia is that it causes your child’s vision to constantly change. The implications of this are that your child may require frequent changes to his/her prescription. Annual eye exams may not be enough. Waiting a full year before taking your child to the doctor can mean that he/she will spend months wearing the wrong glasses or lenses. This can negatively affect your child.

What Is The Best Approach To Managing The Problem?Cute smiling boy with glasses

As stated above, nearsightedness demands constant care for the right result. Annual eye exams can be helpful, but due to the fact that changes caused by myopia can occur in less than 12 months, your child may need to see an eye doctor more than once a year.

The good news is that there are ways of managing myopia. This comprehensive management system can slow down the changes to your child’s eyes and reduce the likelihood that his/her vision will change dramatically.

Act Now

If your child has myopia, myopia management is the best solution. Let us ensure that your child has the right vision to succeed.

Schedule an eye exam with our pediatric optometrist today at EYEcenter Optometric. Our qualified optometrist will be available to perform a thorough eye exam and recommend the best solution for you and your child. An amazing experience awaits you when you visit our vision center.

Myopia – An Epidemic Across The Nation
(And The World)

girl wearing eyeglasses, playing baseballWhen we think of the word “epidemic”, it brings to mind visions of desolated villages in third-world countries, overflowing hospitals, and quarantines. However, there are other less deadly, but equally serious, health concerns impacting people on a global scale.

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is one of the most common eye conditions today. It affects almost 9 and a half million American adults and 30% of the entire Canadian public. On a global scale, 11% of the worldwide population has it and the medical community predicts these numbers will continue to rise.

How Big Is The Problem?

These statistics show just how prevalent myopia currently is:

  • 300 million people have been diagnosed with myopia worldwide
  • 820,000 American adults have a degenerative form of the disease
  • 1 in 4 parents have reported having a child with the condition
  • 75% of children are diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 12
  • Loss of productivity due to myopia costs world economies $202 billion a year

Studies indicate that by 2050, myopia will impact nearly half of the global population – that’s approximately 5 billion people! Medical researchers expect the condition to increase by 40%, which means that roughly 60 million children will likely have myopia in the next few years. Individuals with high degrees of nearsightedness will reach close to 1 billion.

Due to these high numbers, which are increasing at an alarming rate, myopia is now considered an epidemic.

What Causes Myopia?

Close up of woman's eyes, with cornea transplantMyopia is a refractive error. This happens when the cornea of the eye, which is usually a round shape, instead has an irregular shape. This causes light to enter the eye and refract (bend) incorrectly, leading to blurry or cloudy vision.

Most people with myopia wear eyeglasses or contacts to correct the refractive error. The lenses refract light correctly, allowing your brain to process the images you see, resulting in clear, sharp vision. However, while these solutions enhance vision, they do not cure the condition itself.

How Serious Is It?

Myopia is about more than just blurry vision. Other symptoms include headaches, eye fatigue or eye strain. If left untreated, it can gradually lead to serious vision problems including glaucoma, early onset cataracts, macular degeneration, or even retinal detachment. The US National Library of Medicine considers myopia “one of the leading causes of functional blindness in the world”.

If you or a loved one is experiencing blurry vision or other symptoms of myopia, we can help. Speak to Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. about a personal consultation.

Myopia In Children

Myopia is very common in children. In fact, nearly 1 in 10 American children (9.2%) between the ages of 5 and 17 have it. It is usually diagnosed in the early childhood years and stabilizes by their 20s. The condition is often hereditary, so a child can develop nearsightedness if one or both of their parents have it, although certain environmental factors also play a role.

Environmental Factors

There is growing concern that in today’s digital age, the amount of screen time and decreased amount of outdoor activities are contributing factors to myopia development.

Natural sunlight – in reasonable doses – is good for the eyes, due to the Vitamin D found in the sun’s natural ultraviolet (UV) rays. So, spending more time outside is a good idea. In fact, a recent study found that children who spend 1 extra hour outdoors on a weekly basis had a more than 14% decreased risk of developing myopia.

Ethnicity and gender may also play a role. Myopia is more prevalent in people of Eastern Asian descent. Women tend to be diagnosed with the condition significantly more often than men.

Stopping The Myopia Epidemic

Elderly woman with myopiaDespite the rising numbers, there is hope. Typically, myopia control involves wearing glasses or soft contact lenses to give the patient visual clarity. Other treatment options include Ortho-k lenses, rigid gas permeable contact lenses that gently reshape the cornea, and atropine therapy, prescription eye drops which dilate the pupil and relax the eye muscles. Both Ortho-k lenses and atropine drops have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia.

Early diagnosis is critical for successful treatment and slowing down the development of the condition. Contact Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric and let us help you enjoy improved vision and eye health.

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