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The Nearsighted Epidemic – How the Digital Device Addiction is Changing our World

dr fuerst

Randall Fuerst O.D., F.A.A.O.

Being nearsighted—otherwise known as myopia, is a growing concern in the eye health industry. It's effects are lifelong, and it's rates of occurrence are increasing drastically. Further, suggested links to digital device use have us looking to the future as more and more kids find focusing up close on a phone or laptop a significant part of daily life.

Earlier this month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued a statement regarding a global initiative to address the myopia epidemic. EYEcenter joins the eye health community in heightened concern that the coronavirus pandemic may worsen the epidemic of children at risk of nearsightedness. EYEcenter’s Dr. Randall Fuerst weighs in on the subject below, including suggestions to help your children avoid increased risk.

Last year, the CDC issued a report that stated the average US adult is using digital devices approximately eleven hours per day.  I ask my adult patients how many hours they are using a computer, smartphone, or tablet—and these numbers are certainly borne out. Research is starting to show a strong causative impact between screen time and eye and vision changes for the worse. Newer research is now showing strong links to sight-threatening diseases—macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachments—all of which can lead to blindness.

A recent 2020 report out of South Korea, where military service is compulsory, stated that 95.1% of 19-year-old males in South Korea measured as nearsighted (myopic). On November 11, 2020, the Academy of Ophthalmology in a joint statement with the American Academy of Optometry noted that in the US the number of nearsighted Americans has doubled in the past 50 years—to about 41.6% of our population. In Asia, the numbers are now at between 80-90% nearsighted.

So Why is This a Problem?

The trends suggest that by 2050, half the world’s population will be nearsighted. The bigger problem is not more people needing glasses or contact lenses. It is that those who genetically are destined to be myopic are starting earlier—and ending up significantly more myopic—a condition called high myopia, or pathologic myopia.

“Myopia needs our focus now”, states Richard Abbott, MD, leader of the Academy of Ophthalmology’s Myopia Task Force. “Kids who develop myopia early in life and progress to high myopia face an uncertain future. They have 50% greater risk of glaucoma, they are 17% more likely to need cataract surgery, and have 6 times greater risk of retinal detachment and retinal tears.”

In a study out of Finland that followed myopic progression for 22 years, researchers found that ‘over 80% of those getting their first myopic spectacles at age 9 become highly myopic.’

“Right now, the world’s myopia rates are expected to be closer to Asia’s by 2050. It’s possible—but not inevitable,” said Donald Tan, MD, a director of the Myopia Task Force. “ Public health officials need to recognize that high myopia is a disease and promote interventions to reduce its overall incidence and slow progression. Action now can change the future.”

The challenge with myopia is that in the early years, you don’t need to wear your glasses all the time due to your vision only being minimally challenged. In fact, it is called nearsighted for a very descriptive reason—you can see well at near—possibly better than with glasses. But, as the months slip into years, and the vision loss progresses, we miss an important window for intervention. Like the age-old adage states, the earlier, the better. There have been hundreds of millions of dollars spent researching how we can slow and possibly even stop the progression of myopia. “There are a number of treatments available, which slow myopia progression. They include drops, special contact lenses, and glasses.  Many of these treatments have been around for decades, and some have undergone rigorous clinical trials.  The future for newer and better methods is bright with some newer methods already approved in Europe,” states Jeffrey Cooper, OD, MS, FAAO, professor emeritus, SUNY College of Optometry, and one of the foremost myopia treatment experts.

The key, however, is early intervention – a time when most kids and parents look at nearsightedness as a minor irritation.

There are several common-sense recommendations that we make to parents.

What Has Shown to Be Effective
  1. Limit screen time.
  2. Read and work in good lighting. Lower light levels are adapted to visually by increasing your pupil size. Larger pupils, like camera lenses with larger aperture settings, decrease depth of focus. This, in turn, increases the load on the patient’s focusing system, called accommodation.
  3. Maintain a good working distance from the eyes to the digital device. This should be at least 12”, and preferably, 14-16” away.
  4. 20/20 Rule – it is easy to spend hours working on near tasks. For hours then, the accommodative system is engaged and active. This ‘rule’ suggests that whenever possible, every twenty minutes, take a 20-second break, look at least 20 feet away to relax your eyes focusing muscles, and blink 10-20 times (extended computer use has been shown to decrease blinking).
  5. Go outdoors! There are a number of good studies that show that by being outside in the sunlight, there is a decrease in the progression of myopia.
  6. MiSight Soft Contact lenses—These FDA approved soft contact lenses have been demonstrated to slow the rate of myopic progression by nearly 50%.
  7. Orthokeratology gas permeable contacts. These FDA approved contact lenses are worn during sleep, flattening the corneal and slowing the increase in axial length- the factors that change in myopia.
  8. Low dose atropine—an eye drop that has been shown to be surprisingly effective with slowing nearsighted progression. Atropine is one of the world’s oldest drugs known to man. Eye doctors don’t argue as to whether or not atropine works or not, rather, the argument is on what strength is most effective.

Who would have thought, twenty years ago or so, that we would be so incredibly involved with our digital devices? In the past month, I have had several patients reporting that they are on their devices 16-18 hours a day! Twelve to 14 hours daily is not uncommon. When I asked about sleep and eating and how that factors in, patients just shake their heads.

Optometrists and ophthalmologists are being encouraged to push for greater intervention earlier in children’s lives. The concern is that, by waiting and missing the window when a child has low levels of myopia, you allow the more devasting vision loss causing diseases to, in essence, take root. Noel Brennan, MScOptom, PhD, FAAO, and Clinical Research Fellow at Johnson and Johnson Vision Care wrote recently, Our ability to isolate those myopic children who will not become highly myopic later in life is poor.  And suppose you did identify a child who has progressed by, say, a diopter or a diopter and a half a year—that’s progression you now cannot take back. And every diopter reduction in progression lessens the risk of myopic macular degeneration (MMD) by about 40%. The risks associated with, say, increasing outdoor time and use of daily disposable myopia control contact lenses are minimal compared to those risks associated with myopia-related complications later in life. 

Be sure and ask your EYEcenter doctor about your child’s risks regarding nearsightedness (myopia) and screen time. Our dedication to keeping you and your family seeing and enjoying the world around us to the fullest is our absolute drive and motivation!

Fit & Fog: A Guide for Glasses and Mask Wear

As we all don masks amidst the pandemic, more than just your nose and mouth can be obstructed. Fog caused by your breath escaping your mask causes unwanted fog on your eyewear too. The AARP offers these tips to avoid this annoying side effect.

As more Americans don face masks to venture outside during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those who wear glasses are finding that their lenses fog up. It’s a problem that bespectacled surgeons, as well as goggle-wearing skiers, have long experienced.

Why does it happen? In a 1996 article in Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics, Tom Margrain, a professor at Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, explained that in general “when a spectacle wearer enters a warm environment after having been in a cooler one, his/her spectacles may ‘mist up’ due to the formation of condensation on the lens surface.” He went on to say that polycarbonate lenses demisted more rapidly than those made of glass.

With that in mind, if your eyeglasses are fogging when you put on a face mask, it’s because warm, moist air you exhale is being directed up to your glasses. To stop the fogging, you need to block your breath from reaching the surfaces of your lenses.

The Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England published an article in 2011 that offered a simple method to prevent fogging, suggesting that, just before wearing a face mask, people wash their spectacles with soapy water, shake off the excess and then allow the lenses to air-dry.

“Washing the spectacles with soapy water leaves behind a thin surfactant film that reduces this surface tension and causes the water molecules to spread out evenly into a transparent layer,” the article reveals. “This ‘surfactant effect’ is widely utilised to prevent misting of surfaces in many everyday situations.” Antifogging solutions used for scuba masks or ski goggles also accomplish this.

Another tactic is to consider the fit of your face mask, to prevent your exhaled breath from reaching your glasses. An easy hack is to place a folded tissue between your mouth and the mask. The tissue will absorb the warm, moist air, preventing it from reaching your glasses. Also, make sure the top of your mask is tight and the bottom looser, to help direct your exhaled breath away from your eyes.

If you are using a surgical mask with ties, a 2014 article in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England advises going against your instincts. Tie the mask crisscross so that the top ties come below your ears and the bottom ties go above. It will make for a tighter fit.

shutterstock 1812597541

Don’t touch your face! Wiping fog from glasses with your fingers could lead to more dirt, germs, and smudges on your lenses. Read the tips below to keep fog away.

Click here for more information or you can read the full article at https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/eyewear-face-masks.html?cmp=SNO-ICM-FB-HLTH&socialid=3674304838.

Diabetes in the era of COVID-19

In a recent research article published in the Journal, Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental, a group of researchers from the UK reviewed nearly 338,000 diabetic patients. They evaluated the percentages who had contracted Covid-19, and compared this to their glycemic control measure, known as hemoglobin A1c. This percentage of glucose in the bloodstream , known as glycosolated hemoglobin, gives a more longer term measure of diabetic control, versus the up and down dynamics experienced on a day to day basis.

Normal A1c is between 5.3% and 5.7%. If a patient’s measure falls between 5.8% and 5.99%, the patient is classified as pre-diabetic. At 6.0% and higher, diabetes is diagnosed. The higher the percentage, the more ‘out of control’ the patient’s diabetes is, and the sooner the destructive impact of the disease will be manifested.

This study found that between March 16, 2020 and April 26, 2020, there were 649 cases of Covid-19 serious enough to warrant hospitalization.

Here is from the study’s abstract:

  • Multivariable adjusted analyses demonstrated an increased risk of COVID-19 in persons who had undiagnosed diabetes at baseline (defined as A1C ≥6.5%) and in those with poorly controlled diabetes (defined as A1C ≥8.6%). Relative risk was 2.68 in those with undiagnosed diabetes at baseline and 1.91 in those with poorly controlled diabetes.
  • With increasing A1c—even within the normal range—the risk of COVID-19 increased progressively. Regulation of blood glucose may have a significant role in immune response to COVID-19.

Put in very simplistic terms, the higher the A1c, the greater the risk of not only contracting COVID-19, but experiencing more and more severe complications. So, the take home message for our patients with diabetes is this: Anything you can do to maintain control, and, hopefully in lowering your A1c is worth the effort! Thanks for everything you do to maintain your diet, exercise, sleep and medications in the face of this destructive disease!

Dr. Fuerst on dry eye and blepharitis: causes and treatment

“Most people have no idea they have glands in their eyelids” says Randall Fuerst, OD FAAO of EyeCenter Optometric. “ These tiny glands are implicated in more than 86% of patients suffering from dry eye disease. Called meibomian glands, a typical person has between 70-80 glands in their upper and lower eyelids. We are alarmed at the substantial increase of meibomian gland disease , also known as blepharitis brought on by a host of factors. Among them are allergies, makeup, extended digital device use (which drops the blink rate by approximately 30%), dry environments, skin mites, rosacea, and a host of other contributing factors. I have been stunned at how many people have lost more than 50% of their glands, never to return.”In a recent post in the health care online magazine, Healio, they write:

Healio Highlights Blepharitis As A Common Condition That Needs More Attention

Healio Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/5, Yu) reports on blepharitis, also known as eyelid margin disease, which “is a common condition that affects all ages, ethnicities and genders.” Healio suggests that people need to take eyelid hygiene more seriously in order to decrease “the incidence of eyelid margin disease.” According to Healio, “Lid hygiene should be advocated as an essential part of the daily skin care routine, especially in the female demographic.”

“I am so pleased to see more attention being brought to this disease of blepharitis. Like almost all diseases, early detection and treatment can save a lot of pain and suffering if left untreated,” insists Dr. Fuerst.

For more information on Blephex, please see: https://www.eyecenteroptometric.com/eye-care-services/dry-eye-optometrist/blephex-for-blepharitis/

Here is the link to the article Dr. Fuerst references in full:

https://www.healio.com/news/aesthetics/20200805/eyelid-hygiene-requires-more-attention

Dr. Fuerst reviews study on links between allergies and humidity

Study Reveals Relationship Between Allergic Conjunctivitis Risk, Sudden Change In Temperature

Healio (7/13, Cimberle) reports, “A retrospective study” evaluating “the effect of temperature change on allergic conjunctivitis for patient visits at all U.S. Veterans Affairs clinic from January 2010 to December 2013” revealed “a statistically significant relationship between allergic conjunctivitis risk and sudden change in temperature, which can be compounded with a decline in humidity.” The findings were presented at an association meeting.

This study, as noted below, looked at why, when temperature changes occur, do we see increased itchy, red, irritated eyes. Let me give you some background.

Allergieshumidity

The human eye is a remarkable engineering marvel. We blink at an average rate of roughly every 3-5 seconds—meaning about 15 blinks per minute. Doing the math, this runs to between 14,000-17,000 blinks a day. As long as your eyelids are gliding on a layer of tears, this process is largely frictionless. Further, we have the lacrimal gland that secretes the majority of your tears located over the temporal, outermost region of your eye, producing tears at the rate of between 3 and 4 microliters per hour. Towards the nasal region of your eye are located the upper and lower tear drainage ducts, which empties tears into your nasal sinuses. As your tears drain, it draws your tear film across the eye—in essence, creating a ‘streaming current’ of tears flowing across the surface of your eyes. Any pollens, dust, or other tear film debris is brought across the eyes’ surface and dropped into your sinuses, effectively protecting and maintaining the optical clarity of your eye.

Dry eye and ocular (eye) allergies are closely related. Both are mild inflammatory response mechanisms. When humidity drops, your tears can begin to evaporate. Now, when you are blinking, the lid gently rubs against the surface of your eye (called the cornea). After a while, this rubbing begins to trigger inflammation —redness, itching, burning, along with the eye’s attempt to resolve this irritation through increased tearing. At the same time, evaporation can disrupt the flowing of your tears into the sinuses. Now, instead of washing out the pollens and dust, they stagnate in the eye, irritating the eye and eyelids.

Mast cells are part of your immune system. Their primary responsibility is to act as an early warning system to alert your immune system of an imminent attack. We have approximately one million mast cells around each eye! One of the signaling chemicals these mast cells release is histamine. What do we take for allergies? Antihistamines!

So, if your tear film is adequately thick, not evaporating too quickly, and maintaining the flow across the eye— you are symptom-free! Throw in evaporation, and suddenly allergies and /or dry eye show up! The study below documents this link. Decrease humidity, and suddenly patients go from asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic to full-blown symptoms!

What can we do?

We have a host of treatments—from glasses with protective cupping behind the frame to reduce evaporation to prescription and non-Rx drops. We also have treatments that effectively combat evaporation by increasing the lipid layer of your tear film. I will discuss these in a future article.

Randall Fuerst, OD FAAO

View the full article here

Vision and Learning: A Guide for Parents During Back to School Season

Not sure how to navigate distance learning for your student? An effective tool to prepare them for self-motivated attention to their studies is having their visual system checked to make sure their functional vision skills are strong.

1 in 4 kids has a vision issue significant enough to impact learning. During back to school season, it's typically our goal to educate parents on the importance of a complete visual system exam instead of relying on the vision screenings provided at school--and now with distance learning in place, their annual eye exam becomes even more vital. Give your students the tools to reach their full potential--read on and click above or call us to schedule them a comprehensive vision exam for your student today.

Three vision issues unrelated to glasses that could be affecting your child’s ability to learn

We all know vision and learning are linked. Our eyes give you about 80 percent of the information we need to process new information. So while kids are in school, checking their eyesight becomes especially important.

A similar method is used in many school vision screenings. Typically a Gant chart (the lettered poster with the big ‘E’) is used to see if a child has issues making out objects from a distance.

But a simple distance vision test doesn’t give any information about other visual skills that could be affecting the way a child’s brain gets information

Failing to evaluate the entire visual system of a child could leave them at a disadvantage in the classroom. Here are three visual skills that should also be assessed, to ensure your child has the tools for successful learning: shutterstock 369842096

  1. Eye teaming: Also known as binocular fusion, is the eyes’ ability to stay aligned at the same point, at the same time. When eyes have trouble working together, this can cause double vision and loss of depth perception.
  2. Tracking: Otherwise known as ocular motor control. Troubles in this area cause eyes to jump around when we’re trying to move them in a straight line—like while we’re reading. This often caused readers’ eyes to skip around, missing words and even entire lines. They can also lose their place easily while reading.
  3. Focusing: Also known as accommodation, is the eyes’ ability to see clearly. Sometimes objects appear blurred only at certain distances or are a struggle to remain in focus. Headaches can also be caused by a struggle to keep objects clear in our sight.

When these skills are functioning properly and smoothly, this offers higher levels of processing visual information.  In other words, concepts are more easily understood by the learner.

EYEcenter will evaluate your child’s complete visual system. We’ll be able to tell you if your child has difficulties with any of the above skills, and if one is found, help you plan treatment options.

Click here or call us to schedule their back to school appointment today.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Click here to take our free functional vision assessment

What does a functional vision issue look like? The symptoms above stem from issues with the following:

  • Eye focusing – Blurred vision or ability to shift focus between objects between near and far distances may be compromised.
    Accommodation blur2
  • Eye teaming - Your eyes may not work together properly as a team even to the point of experiencing double or very blurry vision.Double vision 2
  • Eye movements – You may experience difficulty with eye movements when reading or trying to follow a moving object (like a ball being thrown). Losing your place while reading is a common complaint.
    Tracking text2 1

Learn more about functional vision here

More information on comprehensive vision tests and school vision screenings.

The Alarming Increase and Incidence of Myopia

As this author has stated during numerous personal interactions and is almost universally accepted by experts, the numbers of myopia patients, and especially among young people, has been experiencing a near-epidemic rise world-wide. To wit, myopia is now one of the leading causes of vision loss in the world. Dr. Fuerst often says that “myopia is approaching epidemic proportions, having increased nearly 70% in the US in the last century” and it is estimated to affect 50 percent of the worlFd’s population by 2050. Obviously, the concern with the increasing prevalence of myopia as a global health concern is due to the potentially sight-threatening pathologies such as myopic macular degeneration, choroidal neovascularization, cataract, and glaucoma associated with high myopia. While these ocular diseases are generally associated with older patients, often the seeds that ultimately cause the eye diseases mentioned above, are sown decades earlier. Indeed, Dr. Fuerst often cautions “it’s important for parents to understand that myopia, left untreated, can cause serious vision problems later in life including retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.”

While the exact mechanisms causing myopia and its progression, particularly in the juvenile population, remain unknown, a number of strong theories exist. One theory that we at EYEcenter subscribe to relates to the fact that the human eye is focused on drastically different stimuli than it historically has been. Whereas hunter-gatherer societies relied upon their eyes for primarily distance vision, the modern eye is increasingly and continuously adapting to the modern (often, near) environment. The high prevalence of myopia among populations that spend a lot of time doing near vision tasks (school children, people working with computers) further support this hypothesis.

One very popular innovation that may deserve some of the blame is technology, such as computers, television and particularly smartphones. Concomitant with the stark increase in the incidences of myopia, a number of significant technological leaps have been developed and are now commonplace. For example, the number of smartphone users has doubled in the last 15 years and there are more cellphone plans in the world than there are people! People are using technology and watching and sharing media in a way that was only made possible in the relatively recent past – whether entertainment video, sharing photos, social media, surfing the Internet, or work-related uses and all this can be done on a smartphone screen that may only be a few inches large.

Regular Eye Exams With Your Family Eye Doctor

Articles are replete with statistics regarding the median age when a child gets his or her first smartphone. This ‘rite of passage’ is happening at younger and younger ages. Couple the young and immature smartphone user with a general lack of boundaries, and the result is that some children as young as 8 years old can spend between 4 and 6 hours a day on a mobile device. Dr. Fuerst often laments that “of particular concern is the increase in incidences of myopia in children. Treatment comes in two parts, prevention and intervention. Parents can take steps to limit close work like screen time and consult with their optometrist about ways to manage the impacts of nearsightedness on their kids’ lives.” The fact that our relatively recent technological advancements coincided with higher and increasingly higher myopia rates while the screens that people are watching are getting smaller and smaller and thus the necessity for keeping the device closer to your eyes does seem to indicate a connection. In all, the question must be pondered, can these changes that are occurring in our lifetimes be causing, at least in part, the worldwide myopia epidemic?

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day 2020

My father, Fred Fuerst, founded EYEcenter Optometric in May, 1960—60 years ago last month! In the early years, when the practice was just starting out, that first office was adjacent to our home. When the phone rang, my mother would drop what she was doing and run to answer it. When a patient arrived, if my father was in with a patient, she would quickly move to serve as the receptionist and front desk person. I would be placed in a crib kept in a back room at the office. So I can truly say I have grown up with EYEcenter Optometric as it grew. Today, we have five offices, 10 doctors, more than 75 staff members—all since these humble beginnings!

As a young boy, I loved going into the office after hours or on weekends with my dad. My brother Mike and I would go into an exam room and one of us would sit in the exam chair while the other pumped the hydraulic foot pedal to make the chair elevate up. When it went as high as it could go, we then let it come down —and repeat this over and over again. To us, this was almost as good as a carnival ride at the fair! You can imagine how thrilled we were when a replacement chair was purchased that had an electric motor to propel us up and down! As a wide eyed 5 year old, this was wonderful.

Growing up around my dad and his optometric practice gave me a ‘front row seat’ to what a wonderful profession this is. Helping people see, helping change kids’ lives who had visually related learning disabilities, fitting small pieces of plastic—contact lenses—that could work as well or better than glasses, was very intriguing. Plus, you had the added benefit that patients who come in for eye care are not sick, so you get to see people at their best. Running into patients around town, serving on community groups and chamber of commerce panels set a tone for how rich life can be in working with patients, friends and neighbors within the community.

For whatever reason, as a teen I didn’t want to be perceived as being a ‘chip off the old block’, taking the easy way and pulling family strings to be involved in the family business. So I looked into law, into finance and banking, and into medicine. Aptitude testing pointed me squarely towards healthcare, and by my senior year in high school, I began to envision my career involving optometry.

This has been a terrific choice. Working alongside my father for 25 years was something I truly treasure. I appreciate this more and more as the years pass since his retirement. His insight, perspective, and mentoring have helped mold me into the optometrist I am today!

By Dr. Randall Fuerst, EYEcenter Optometric

Is Your Child Struggling With Reading?
We Can Help!

For your child to succeed in school, reading and writing skills are necessary. Proper vision development and visual processing skills are critical. It is aFather (wearing eyeglasses) and Daughter, reading a book well-established fact that poor vision can affect learning in a number of ways. Vision issues will make it hard for your child to focus on school work; poor vision can mean poor hand-eye coordination; reading comprehension and vision go hand in hand; and poor vision can affect your child’s confidence.

Is your child struggling with reading? If so, it can be due to a vision problem. It’s important for you to address this to help your child and set him/her on the path to succeed at school and in life.

What Does The Screening Result Say?

It is believed that at least 1 in every 10 school children has vision problems that can undermine their academic performance. In most schools, the solution to assess vision is to provide vision screenings. However, these screenings often miss critical visual skills that cause parents and teachers to overlook the underlying cause of the problem.

The traditional “20/20” vision screening administered to children at school and pediatrician’s offices only assesses how well your child sees at a distance. More than 50% of the serious vision problems that affect children are not diagnosed by a standard vision screening. Even if your child has 20/20 vision, he/she may still have difficulty reading due to other visual issues that are not detected through a vision screening.

Reading Requires Several Visual Skills

Reading is a complex task that requires 7 of the 17 vital visual skills. Here is a highlight of what we do when we are reading:

  • When we aim two eyes at the same point simultaneously and accurately, we use: Skill #1 Eye Movement Control, Skill #8 Simultaneous Alignment at Near and Skill #9 Sustaining Alignment at Near.
  • When we focus both eyes to make the reading material clear, we use: Skill #4 Simultaneous Focus at Near and Skill #10 Central Vision (Visual Acuity).
  • When we continue to sustain clear focus, we use: Skill #5 Sustaining Focus at Near.
  • When we move two eyes continually as a coordinated team across the line of print, we use: Skill #1 Eye Movement Control, Skill #9 Sustaining Alignment at Near and Skill #15 Fine Visual-Motor.

As you can see, even if a vision screening shows that your child has 20/20 vision, there are so many other reasons he or she may have difficulty reading. Any problem that interferes with any of the vision skills mentioned above can make it difficult for your child to read.

Have Your Child's Vision Evaluated, Today!

Vision-related learning problems can cause your child tremendous difficulty at school. This will in turn affect the child’s ability to develop important Little girl having eye examfoundational skills. The earlier a visual processing issue is detected, the easier it is to treat and the sooner your child will have the skills needed to continue on a path of success.

Schedule a developmental eye exam for your child today at EYEcenter Optometric. Our developmental eye exam remains the most viable way to detect any problem that can affect reading and ensure that your child’s vision will enable him or her to succeed.

Our qualified and experienced optometrists are available to speak with you and discuss your options. We use state-of-the-art equipment and assessments to examine your child’s vision and eyes and if an issue is detected, we will recommend the best possible treatment available. We serve patients all over Sacramento.

Don’t delay in getting your child the help they need! Schedule your developmental eye exam today!

 

Is My Toddler Too Young For A VT Evaluation?

little girl with blue eyes, cuddling with rabbitA child’s vision changes rapidly as their bodies grow and develop. This is especially evident during the school years when reading, writing, homework, and after-school activities become a part of their normal daily routine.

It’s essential for both parents and teachers to pay close attention to children’s’ vision needs. Certain vision problems can interfere with a child’s learning in school. Refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism are the most common examples of this.

Myopia causes difficulty focusing on objects at a distance, while objects or images that are up close remain normal. Hyperopia is the opposite when close objects appear blurry and things at a distance are clear. Astigmatism is a condition caused by an irregularly-shaped cornea, which results in blurry or distorted vision

When a child’s vision difficulties negatively impact their learning or social interactions, it may be time to try vision therapy.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Pre-school child with blue eyesVision therapy is a personalized plan of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions. Each patient has unique needs and different degrees of visual health, which is why Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes and the team at Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric create a customized vision therapy program to get the best results for your child.

Vision therapy is compared to physical therapy, only for the eyes instead of the entire body. The techniques and exercises can teach the eyes to improve specific areas of vision, such as focus, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, and visual tracking, among other skills. The doctor may include prisms or special eyeglasses to boost the therapy program.

Is Vision Therapy For All Children?

Kids can develop problems with visual perception and clarity that aren’t always detected with a standard vision exam or school screening. In fact, even a child with 20/20 vision can have trouble with visual tasks.

Vision therapy is often done for toddlers and kids between the ages of 3-5, during their early preschool years. Some doctors prefer to wait until the child is around 6-7 years old and in elementary school. Of course, every child is different, and the best way to know if they’re ready for vision therapy is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes.

Vision problems such as difficulty tracking, eye coordination, lazy eye, or cross eyes can be diagnosed even in babies.

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