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Back-To-School: Why [Eye_Exams] Are More Important Than Ever

Since the onset of COVID-19, many children have been learning remotely through distance learning programs. While parents are concerned about their children falling behind academically, eye doctors are concerned that undiagnosed vision problems may impact the child’s school performance.

Undetected vision problems may hinder a child’s ability to learn. That’s why eye doctors strongly recommend that children undergo a thorough eye exam before the new school year begins.

While it’s tempting to rely on vision screenings provided by schools, these superficial visual acuity tests can identify only a limited number of eyesight problems. Only a comprehensive eye exam conducted by an eye doctor can accurately diagnose and address a wide range of problems related to vision and eye health.

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

Up to 80% of children’s learning is visual, so even the slightest vision problem can have a negative impact on their academic achievement. Taking a child in for an eye exam once a year will allow your eye doctor to detect and correct refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, and check their visual skills, such as convergence insufficiency, binocular vision, focusing and more.

Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to detect mild and serious eye health conditions. Routine eye exams are especially important for children with a family history of eye health problems.

How Is Vision Affected By Online Learning?

The amount of time children spend looking at digital screens was already a concern in the pre-pandemic era—but the COVID pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. According to the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, children spent twice as much time on screens during COVID-related closures than they did prior to the pandemic.

For one thing, spending prolonged periods of time on digital devices forces the eyes to work harder, making children (and adults) more susceptible to digital eye strain, one of the hallmark symptoms of computer vision syndrome. People who spend 2 or more consecutive hours staring at a screen are at higher risk of developing this condition.

Some computer vision syndrome symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms can be caused by a combination of the following factors:

  • Glare and reflections from the screen
  • Excessive time looking at a screen
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor posture
  • Screen brightness
  • Undetected vision problems

In addition to digital eye strain, several studies have found that children who spend many hours indoors doing “near work” — writing, reading and looking at computers and other digital devices — have a higher rate of myopia progression.

A study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s professional journal, Ophthalmology, found that first-graders who spent at least 11 hours per week playing outside in the sunshine experienced slower myopia progression. Some researchers think that exposure to sunlight and looking at distant objects while playing outdoors might help decrease myopia progression.

While regular eye exams are essential for every member of the family, they’re especially important for those who spend a good portion of their day in front of a screen.

Don’t put off your child’s annual eye exam. Schedule an appointment with EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights today!

Q&A

1. At what age should a child have an eye exam?

According to the American and Canadian Optometric Associations, it’s recommended for a child to have their first eye exam between 6-12 months of age.

Before a child starts school, they should undergo an eye exam, and every one to two years after that, based on their eye doctor‘s recommendation.

2. Does my child need an eye exam if they passed the school vision screening?

Yes! School vision screenings are superficial eye evaluations designed to diagnose a limited number of vision problems like myopia. They do not check for visual skills and other problems that may hinder your child’s academic success.

Your eye doctor will evaluate your child’s vision and eye health, along with visual abilities, including depth perception and eye tracking, to let you know whether your child’s eyes are “school-ready.”

 

Does Your Child Really Have Vision Issues?

Pediatric Eye Exam in Citrus Heights

Pediatric Eye Exam in Citrus Heights

Most kids don’t suspect that something is wrong with their eyesight and are thus unlikely to seek help with their vision. If you witness your child tilting his or her head too often, frequently squinting, or holding books or other objects unusually close or far away from his or her eyes, it may be time for an eye exam.

Book an appointment with at EYEcenter Optometric today. We will provide a comprehensive eye exam that will detect whether your child has any vision aberrations.

It’s up to parents to recognize the signs of compromised eyesight and to take the necessary precautions against it. Read on to learn the basics of keeping your children’s vision sharp and healthy.

Why Are Vision Screenings Not Enough?

School or pediatric vision screenings often offer superficial eye exams that cannot detect underlying vision issues that get in the way of your child’s success in school and life. In fact, it is estimated that up to 10 million kids suffer from vision issues, despite having passed a school vision screening. Therefore, it is critical to have your child’s eyes examined by an eye doctor in order to assess their overall eye health. The earlier they do it, the better.

Does Your Child Really Hate to Read?

If your child dislikes or avoids reading, it might indicate a vision problem.

Does your child…

  • Use a finger or pencil to guide the eyes while reading?
  • Incessantly rub his or her eyes?
  • Cover one eye while reading?
  • Frequently tilt his or her head?

Reading with undiagnosed vision problems can result in headaches, fatigue and eye strain, which could explain why your child shies away from engaging in this activity.

Should your child need glasses for vision correction, EYEcenter Optometric has a wide variety of age-appropriate options, made of comfortable, durable, and kid-friendly materials.

Should Eye Exams be on the Back-to-School To-Do List?

By the age of 6, every child should have undergone three eye exams. Make sure to prioritize eye exams by adding it to the back-to-school to-do list. No matter how wonderful the pencils and markers are, if the vision isn’t there, your child will struggle through school, sports, and in life.

Is it Clumsiness or a Vision Problem?

If your child frequently bumps into desks, knocks things over, and trips, it may not be just clumsiness. Contact EYEcenter Optometric for an eye exam today.

Spending Too Much Time on Computer/Digital Screens?

Too Much Screen Time is Linked To Myopia

The use of digital devices is on the rise, and so is myopia (nearsightedness).

Research has shown that prolonged use of computers and digital devices among children can result in myopia. Focusing on images or words on the screen for extended periods of time can result in eye strain, and over time, can even change the shape of a child’s eye. As a parent, we recommend you limit your child’s computer or phone screen time and incorporate the 20/20/20 rule (every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds).

Blue Light Blocking Glasses or Lenses for Digital Screens

Another problem with using digital devices has to do with the blue light these devices emit. Smartphones expose us to the most blue light, since we hold them very close to our eyes. Long hours of blue light exposure can harm the eyes and disrupt sleep quality.

However, the harm caused by blue light can be reduced by wearing special Blue Light lenses.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we offer blue light filters for lenses, which block blue light from reaching one’s eyes and protect your vision when using digital devices. Ask us about adding blue-light filters to your or your child’s glasses, or about getting a full pair of blue light eyeglasses.

Why Opt for Polycarbonate Lenses?

When it comes to kids, the lenses you pick a matter. EYEcenter Optometric recommends opting for polycarbonate lenses when buying glasses. They are more lightweight, impact-resistant and scratch-resistant than traditional plastic lenses. Furthermore, the UV protection can protect your child’s eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

If you want your kids to ace their classes this year, remember to prioritize a visit to the eye doctor as part of your back-to-school checklist.

Prepare for Back to School with Blue Light Glasses | EYEcenter Optometric

Comprehensive Pediatric Eye Exams

At EYEcenter Optometric, we offer comprehensive pediatric eye exams, as well as a wide array of glasses and lenses for our young patients. EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from in and around Citrus Heights in the state of California .

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My child saw 20/20 at their school physical. That’s perfect vision for back to school, right?

  • A: Maybe! 20/20 only tells us what size letter can be seen 20 feet away. People with significant farsightedness or eye muscle imbalances may see 20/20, but experience enough visual strain to make reading difficult. Vision controls eighty percent of learning so include a thorough eye exam in your child’s Back-to-School list.

Q: My child passed the screening test at school, isn’t that enough?

  • A: Distance and reading are two different things. Someone with perfect distance vision can still have focusing problems up close. Doctors need to check for both, many children have undiagnosed accommodative (focusing) problems because no one ever looked for it before. We always check the distance and near vision on all ages because it is so important. Other areas that need to be checked is eye muscle alignment, color vision, depth perception, and overall health of the eyes.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit EYEcenter Optometric for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Childhood Myopia Is in Crisis Mode on a Global Scale

When it comes to the prevalence of myopia (nearsightedness), the statistics are staggering. By 2050, nearly half of the world’s population—about 5 billion people—will be myopic. Below are a few useful tips to help you prevent your child from being part of that statistic.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates, causing light rays to focus in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it, while looking at something far away. So, people with nearsightedness perceive distant objects as blurred while close-up objects can remain clear.

Myopia tends to develop during childhood, when the eyeballs rapidly grow (along with the rest of the body), mainly between the ages of 8-18. It can worsen slowly or quickly, but it is not simply an inconvenience. People with progressive myopia are more likely to develop serious eye diseases like cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration and glaucoma later in life—conditions which may lead to permanent loss of vision and even blindness.

How To Know Whether Your Child Is Myopic

Below are some telltale signs to watch for:

  • Blurred distance vision – Objects in the distance are blurred; kids may complain that they can’t see the board
  • Headaches – When myopia isn’t corrected, it can cause eye strain and headaches.
  • Head tilting or squinting – If your child squints or tilts his or her head while watching TV, for example, it may be a symptom of myopia.
  • Looking at objects too closely – If you notice your child moving closer to the TV or squinting as they try to see the writing on the board, it may indicate myopia.

What Parents Can Do to Slow Their Child’s Myopia Progression

  • Encourage your child to go outdoors for at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Studies show that playing outdoors reduces the risk of developing myopia and slows its progression.
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends staring at a screen, reading and doing close work such as homework.
  • When your child uses a digital screen, make sure that it isn’t too close to the face.
  • Teach the 20-20-20 rule: During screen time, take a break every 20 minutes to look at an object across the room or out the window about 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Randy Fuerst F.A.A.O., O.D.

Q: How is myopia diagnosed?

  • A: Your child’s eye doctor will perform a thorough pediatric eye exam to diagnose myopia, which often includes a visual acuity test, where the eye doctor will use an eye chart made up of letters of varied sizes. If the test results indicate myopia, then the optometrist may shine a light into their eyes and evaluate the reflection off the retina to determine the degree of refractive error for their prescription.

Q: Can myopia lead to blindness?

  • A: High myopia may increase your child’s risk of developing more serious eye conditions later in life, such as cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma. Left untreated, high myopia complications can sometimes lead to blindness—which is why routine eye exams are critical.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sacramento, California. Visit EYEcenter optometric for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Reading and Learning Difficulties

Up to 25% of children have a visual problem impacting their school performance, and many of these are due to Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD) – a misalignment of the eyes. Most times BVD has no known cause, but can occur as a result of facial asymmetry, an injury, a concussion while playing sports, or genetics. BVD symptoms can severely impact your child’s quality of life.

Does Your Child Have BVD?

Many parents and teachers have never heard of BVD, and are unaware of its signs and symptoms. So when a child has difficulty learning or paying attention, experiences motion sickness or complains of blurry vision or headaches, they don’t realize the problem could be BVD. Any amount of eye misalignment can lead to attention difficulties and reading problems.

If your child struggles with reading or learning at school, they may be struggling with BVD.

Learning Difficulties and Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Binocular Vision Dysfunction can cause blurred or possibly double vision, so when a child has difficulty reading and comprehending the words on a page, it affects their ability to succeed in school or at work.

In some cases, children diagnosed with certain conditions related to learning and/or concentration are actually suffering from BVD. These can include:

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Children suffering from ADD and ADHD struggle with the ability to maintain attention. BVD can cause blurred and double vision, making it difficult to read and comprehend words on a page. Visual misalignment — and not ADD/ADHD — may be the cause of your child’s inability to concentrate.

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is often known to cause trouble with word sequences, spelling, and letter jumbling. These same symptoms are found in children with BVD.

BVD Treatment

When BVD causes a child to struggle while reading and in school, specialized aligning glasses can help them see clearly without causing stress or strain on their eyes while reducing blurred and distorted vision and words. Once your child’s BVD is treated, this can ease or eliminate a child’s learning difficulties. These lenses can also help the two eyes to function and work as a team, making it easier for your child to read.

We understand the difficulties that accompany learning and reading difficulties. Let us EYEcenter Optometric in , Gold River, Rocklin, Folsom, Sacramento, treat your child’s binocular vision dysfunction. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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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!

 

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Fun Home-Based Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Vision

crayons coloringAlthough 20/20 clarity is important, it’s not enough. You see, the visual system is made up of the eyes and the brain — and it’s how these two parts work together that makes all the difference. When your eyes and brain don’t communicate with each other properly, you may experience decreased reading comprehension, disorientation, lack of focus, and decreased cognitive abilities.

Strong visual skills are essential for learning and performing well in school and in sports. These include:

  • Fixation: The ability to fixate or hold your gaze on a target for an extended period.
  • Pursuit: The ability to follow a moving target as you would follow a tennis ball.
  • Saccade: The ability to rapidly shift focus between targets, such as moving from word to word while reading.
  • Accommodation: The ability to shift focus between distant to near objects (and vice versa), such as looking at the board and then writing notes in your notebook.
  • Binocularity: Using both eyes simultaneously.

If any of the above vision skills are deficient, your child may have difficulty paying attention, experience fatigue, exhibit behavioral problems, rub their eyes while reading, or use their finger to follow each word in a text. Furthermore, your child may appear to be performing well below their potential, and their writing may be messy despite having good fine motor skills. If your child has been diagnosed with reduced visual skills, why not continue to develop these skills at home? There are several activities that parents and caretakers can do during this time to help kids improve their vision.

At-Home Vision Exercises

Below are some ways you can help kids develop healthy vision from the comfort of their home.

Reading, Mazes, Puzzles and Writing — tracking

Visual tracking is made up of two skills: moving your eyes between targets (also called “saccades”), and following moving targets (called “pursuits”). We all make use of these basic skills every time we read, write, draw, drive, or do sports. Problems with tracking are manifested when we frequently lose our place while reading, or skim over words without processing them. Increasing the amount of time your child assembles puzzles, draws, and reads will improve their visual tracking.

Focusing on Static Targets — focus and depth perception

Focusing problems refer to the inability to sustain focus on a single point, or to easily switch between two targets (near and far, for example). One exercise is to hold a crayon or pen in front of your child and have them focus on it. Slowly move the pen closer to their eyes, and then away again. This develops focus and depth perception.

Alphabet Ball — fixation, binocularity, pursuits

With a permanent marker, draw letters, animals or colors on a ball or balloon. As you roll or toss the ball/balloon, ask your child to call out the last thing they noticed before catching it.

Near-Far Tasks — accommodation

Children are often required to alternate between near and far objects, such as when looking at their notebook and then at the blackboard, and back again. Have your child sit at a table and draw the shapes you have sketched on a piece of paper and hung on a nearby wall. The motion of looking from a near point to far point will help improve accommodation skills.

Pencil Movement — fixation

Ask your child to find a colored crayon they plan to use for drawing. But before they begin drawing, slowly move it in figure 8’s — horizontal, vertical, and circular motions in front of them — while having them follow it with their eyes. Doing this 5 minutes a day is an excellent way to improve fixation.

From all of us at Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric, we wish you and your family a safe and healthy few months ahead.

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

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Building Your Child’s Confidence Through Vision Therapy

girl in blue t shirt reading book 3755619We all know that success tends to be accompanied by confidence. However, because children with visual dysfunctions struggle to perform daily tasks, whether academic or otherwise, their confidence is adversely affected. For example, a 7-year-old child struggling to read will likely refuse to read aloud in the classroom in order to hide his or her challenge. This problem may result in poor grades and the inability to keep up with the class. Over time, this could cause the child to become frustrated and have a negative self-image, leading the child to see him or herself as a “failure”.

It’s quite common for reading struggles and other school-related endeavors to be attributed to a learning disability, when in fact, the child may have undetected poor visual skills. Basic vision screenings do not assess visual skills and won’t catch functional vision problems, such as poor eye teaming, poor focus, or how the eyes move while reading. Only a functional eye exam can determine whether a child is struggling with visual difficulties and assess whether vision therapy can help develop and improve these skills. It’s important to note that even a child with 20/20 vision can have a visual dysfunction that interferes with learning.

Vision therapy helps thousands of children a year. The vision therapy program offered at Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric can help your child by retraining the brain and eyes to work in unison — offering them their best chance at success.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy (VT) is a progressive treatment program made up of a variety of eye exercises, personalized to fit the needs of each child. The goal of vision therapy is to develop or enhance fundamental visual skills and abilities while increasing visual comfort and processing. Each treatment session takes place at the office once or twice a week under the supervision of Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Lynch.

To further support in-office treatment and accelerate progress, certain visual exercises are expected to be performed at home on a regular basis.

VT has been proven to improve the following eye conditions:

  • Ambylopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (eye turn)
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Focusing/accommodative disorders
  • Visual-Perceptual difficulties
  • Eye movement problems
  • Visual disorders resulting from brain injury

As part of the therapeutic process, vision therapists turn to various tools, such as specialized lenses, prisms, patches, filters, balance boards, and digital simulations.

Building confidence through vision therapy from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Improved Vision Can Impact Confidence Levels

At the risk of sounding cliche, vision therapy can change lives — especially in children whose vision problems are at the root of academic or other vision-related struggles. Children who once experienced difficulty reading or playing certain sports due to vision problems will now have the skills needed to excel in those areas, leading to improved self-confidence and a feeling of competence.

When simple tasks become obstacles, children may become frustrated, or even angry. For this reason, VT also assists with behavioral issues. Once these daily tasks become easier to perform, episodes of frustration diminish in frequency.

Improving a child’s visual skills with VT allows them to become better learners, and helps them achieve their academic goals. In fact, VT can be a key component in preparing a child for higher education, as increased success can develop a greater belief in one’s abilities. This newfound confidence will inevitably trickle into other areas positively impacting the quality of life and achievements.

With vision therapy, schoolwork, sports, and other daily activities that were once challenging become easier.

The trained visual skills developed through vision therapy empowers the child and shows them that they, too, can succeed. Don’t let poor visual skills hinder your child or yourself from accomplishing goals. Speak with Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Lynch to discover how vision therapy can unlock your or your child’s hidden potential. Call Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric today.

Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometricprovides vision therapy and other services to patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .


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Why a New Pair of Glasses Is NOT the Best Holiday Gift for Your Child

girl hugging her present 3154363If your child is nearsighted (myopic), it may seem like a great idea to get him or her a new pair of glasses. They will surely improve how well your child sees but, unfortunately, will do nothing to slow myopia progression. You can offer your child MUCH more than a pair of specs — something that will ensure long term vision health care and quality of life: Myopia Management.

Myopia Management is made up of several treatments designed to slow down how quickly myopia, or shortsightedness, progresses. In other words, their prescription will remain the same as they grow older. The treatments include uniquely designed multifocal contact lenses, atropine eye drops, and orthokeratology (“ortho-k”). Evidence suggests that myopia management can reduce the progression of myopia by up to 60% after two years of treatment.

What Makes Myopia Management An Excellent Gift?

Currently, myopia is among the leading causes of permanent vision loss and legal blindness.

As a child quickly develops and their nearsighted vision worsens, the child is at a higher risk of developing dangerous eye diseases later in life, such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.

To thwart any of these sight-robbing conditions, Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric offers evidence-based treatment to prevent the onset or reduce the progression of myopia in our pediatric patients.

Myopia management enables your child to experience a more mild form of myopia than he or she would have otherwise had without treatment. Having mild-degree myopia means that your child’s likelihood of developing retinal detachment or macular degeneration is dramatically reduced.

So why don’t you make this holiday gift a particularly special one by protecting your child’s precious gift of sight. And the best part? It will pay off well after the holidays are over.

On behalf of Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D. and the staff at Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric in Sacramento, we’d like to wish you all the best for the holiday season and the New Year!


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Does Your Child Have Myopia? Send Them Outside!

Girl Smiling Grass Flower blog imageMyopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that affects millions of adults and children worldwide. This condition occurs when a person’s eyeball is too long, or the cornea or lens has an irregular shape. A myopic eye focuses the image at the front of the retina, as opposed to directly on the retina. it is often hereditary, especially if both parents are nearsighted.

Recent studies show that the more time spent outdoors can slow the onset or progression of myopia for reasons explained below. These findings are significant, as myopia can seriously impact eye health if left untreated. At Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric, we’re here to answer any questions you may have and ensure that your child’s myopia is under control.

How Does Spending Time Outdoors Benefit Myopia?

By spending time outdoors, children train their eyes to focus on distant objects and relax their eyes. Just as with any other muscle in the body, the muscles in the eye need to be trained and strengthened in order to produce clear vision. Experts further suggest that moderate exposure to sunlight has a positive impact on myopia and general eye health.

A recent study was conducted by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science. The study shows that children who spend 1 extra hour outdoors each week reduce their risk of developing myopia by over 14%.

In contrast, according to the National Institute of Health, children who spend a considerable amount of time indoors watching TV or playing video games are at a significantly higher risk of developing nearsightedness.

Outdoor time should be incorporated into every child’s routine, especially those at risk of developing myopia. Parents and caregivers can make being outdoors fun by playing sports, hiking new trails, enjoying picnics or barbeques, or organizing scavenger hunts.

Why Is Slowing Myopia Progression So Important?

Myopia generally worsens over time, mostly during childhood and into the adolescent years. If your child’s prescription regularly increases, this can lead to more serious complications. Myopia progression heightens the risk of developing other eye conditions and disorders, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal detachment. In more severe cases, permanent vision loss — or even blindness— may occur.

This is why it is crucial to monitor your child’s condition with a yearly visit to Randy Fuerst, O.D. and Joseph Lilly, O.D.. Not sure whether your child has myopia? Refer to the following list.

Signs of Myopia in Children

Children with myopia may exhibit any of the following:

  • Squinting when reading the board or watching TV
  • Lack of interest in playing sports that require distance vision
  • Positioning oneself at close proximity to the TV or screen
  • Sitting at the front of the classroom to clearly see the teacher and board
  • Holding books close to the eyes

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or if you’ve noticed some of these behaviors, give outdoor time a try and bring him or her in to Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric for a comprehensive eye exam. We offer evidence-based myopia management treatment to slow down the progression of nearsightedness, thus preventing severe vision loss later in life.

Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric provides myopia management and other treatments to patients in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

REFERENCES:

Centre for Ocular Research & Education

National Institutes of Health


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Are We Missing Dry Eye in Children?

Learn all about dry eye in the classroom

When you hear about dry eye syndrome, you probably envision either a senior citizen taking off his or her glasses to rub sore eyes, or a frantic middle-aged office worker who is glued to the computer 24/7. Most likely, a picture of kids in school does not pop into your head.

However, dry eye in the classroom has become a contemporary health problem – most of which can be traced back to the increasing use of computers and smartphones amongst the youngest population groups. At EYEcenter Optometric, our Citrus Heights, California , eye doctor sees many children who present with the annoying symptoms of dry eye. Learn more about how to prevent this condition from bothering your kids.

Dry eye in the classroom

In recent years, kids have been complaining about the same irritating symptoms of dry eye that older adults experience, such as:

  • Fluctuating blurry vision
  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Burning or stinging
  • A feeling that something is stuck in their eyes
  • Tearing

During pediatric eye exams in our Citrus Heights, California , office, it is typical for kids to tell our optometrist that these bothersome symptoms get in the way of seeing the classroom board, reading, gazing at their computer screens, or texting on their smartphone.

The link to blinking

A primary reason that dryeye in the classroom is on the rise has to do with modern methods of education and popular types of after-school recreation, which are mainly visual and involve digital screens. Classrooms are equipped with computers for learning, and once the bell rings – many kids head home to spend their afternoons gaming or texting with friends, activities which all contribute substantially to the amount of daily screen exposure.

As kids spend more time staring at screens, they spend more time concentrating without blinking – or only blinking partially, which doesn’t moisturize the eyes fully. And when the rate of blinking goes down, the rate at which tears evaporate goes up – leading directly to dry eye.

Ways to help prevent dry eye in kids

  • Encourage your child to take frequent breaks when he or she watches TV, uses a computer, or reads
  • Make sure your child avoids smoke and other irritants in the air
  • Fit your child with a pair of wraparound sunglasses to protect against the sun and wind
  • Install a humidifier in your child’s room
  • If kids wear contact lenses, they should carry around a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears for lubricating their eyes, or wear glasses when they have dry eye symptoms
  • Limit screen time; a 2016 Korean study published in the journal BMC Ophthalmology found that when kids stopped using their smartphone for about four weeks, their dry eye symptoms improved significantly

Schedule your child for regular eye exams with our Citrus Heights, California , eye doctor. The earlier dry eye syndrome is detected, the easier it can be treated with the right education and intervention.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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