Skip to main content
Make a Payment
Try On Glasses Virtually
Patient Forms
Home »

myopia

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.

4 Common Myopia Myths Debunked

4 Common Myopia Myths Debunked 640Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the eye elongates and rays of light entering the eye are focused in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it.

It’s by far the most common refractive error among children and young adults.

To help understand and learn more about what myopia means for your child’s vision, we’ve debunked 4 common myopia myths.

Myth: Myopia only develops in childhood

Fact: While it’s true that in most cases nearsightedness develops in childhood, it can also develop during one’s young adult years.

Myth: Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses cause myopia to worsen

Fact: Prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses in no way exacerbate myopia. Optical corrections help you see comfortably and clearly. Another common misconception is that it’s better to use a weaker lens power than the one prescribed by your eye doctor. This is simply not true. By wearing a weaker lens you are contradicting the purpose of using corrective eyewear, which is to comfortably correct your vision.

Myth: Taking vitamins can cure myopia

Fact: Vitamins have been proven to slow the progression of or prevent some eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts. However, no vitamin has been shown to prevent or cure myopia. All vitamins and supplements should only be taken under the advice of your healthcare professional.

Myth: There is no way to slow the progression of myopia.

Fact: There are a few ways to slow down the progression of myopia:

Get more sunlight. Studies have shown that children who spend more time playing outdoors in the sunlight have slower myopia progression than children who are homebodies.

Take a break. Doing close work, such as spending an excessive amount of time looking at a digital screen, reading, and doing homework has been linked to myopia. Encouraging your child to take frequent breaks to focus on objects farther away can help. One well-known eye exercise is the 20-20-20 rule, where you take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

Other options to slow myopia progression include:

  • Orthokeratology/Ortho-k. These are specialized custom-fit contact lenses shown to decrease the rate of myopia progression through the gentle reshaping of the cornea when worn overnight.
  • Multifocal lenses offer clear vision at various focal distances. Studies show that wearing multifocal soft contact lenses or multifocal eyeglasses during the day can limit the progression of myopia compared to conventional single vision glasses or contact lenses.
  • Atropine drops. 1.0% atropine eye drops applied daily in one eye over a period of 2 years has shown to significantly reduce the progression of myopia

Prevent or slow the progression of your child’s myopia with myopia management. Contact Myopia Control Center at EYEcenter Optometric to book your child’s consultation today!

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

Frequently Asked Questions with Palmer N. Lee, O.D.

Q: Can myopia be cured?

  • A: Currently, there is no cure for myopia. However, various myopia management methods can slow its progression.

Q: How much time should my child spend outdoors to reduce the risk of myopia?

  • A: Make sure your child spends at least 90 minutes a day outdoors.


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

 

Request An Appointment
Call Our Offices

5 Back-to-school rules to help protect your kids’ eyes (Distance Learning Edition)

Many kids are re-entering the classroom with nearly a year of distance learning under their belts. Going from all that screen time into an in-person learning environment might uncover some new visual challenges. Most kids simply don’t realize if their sight is off. So we’ve got a list of need-to-knows for parents aiming to keep their kids’ vision focused and healthy during this “back to school” season.

Kids Eye Exams Are Important Year Round

A whopping 80% of a child’s learning comes through the eyes, yet 1 in 4 school-age children have a vision problem. But often kids don’t even know something is wrong. It’s up to us parents to spot the signs of compromised eyesight and to take precautions against it.

  1. Your student’s digital “classroom” might have changed their vision. Because a computer forces the user to focus and strain more than many other tasks, heavy computer use among kids can lead to early myopia (also known as nearsightedness). According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, kids who develop myopia early in life have a greater chance of developing vision issues like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment. Now is the time to have their eyes checked to see what changes might have occurred during distance learning, and address them early.
  2. Screenings aren’t everything. In-school screenings may detect basic problems, but don’t assume total vision health in your student when one of these goes well. In fact, school vision screenings can miss up to 50% of visual issues. A comprehensive eye exam tests your child’s complete visual system and can help gauge how the eyes work together and other functions. Again, now is the time. Early detection is key!
  3. Vision issues can manifest as behavior problems. Because grades may suffer and behavior changes with degrading vision, children who have trouble seeing are often misdiagnosed with behavioral problems like ADHD. If your child has trouble keeping their focus or concentration, it might be time for an eye exam.
  4. Difficulty or disliking reading is the most common issue we see in kids–and it’s often not related to their intelligence level. If your child doesn’t like to read, it may be because they lose their place easily, or the letters are flipped or too fuzzy to detect. This can lead to headaches, fatigue and lightheadedness. Kids naturally want to avoid these and will therefore avoid reading.
  5. Watch out for body or head contortions. Head tilting may look inquisitive and cute, but when it’s a habit while reading, it could signal a potential vision issue in your child. The same goes for kids who rub their eyes a lot, crane their neck closer or farther away from a page, or cover one eye while reading.

Watch to learn more about how distance learning might have affected your students’ vision

All these issues can be identified and addressed with a comprehensive vision exam. If you want your kids to have a comfortable and successful transition return to the classroom, schedule a visit to EYEcenter as part of your back-to-school checklist.

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 .

Request An Appointment
Call Our Offices

What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor in Citrus Heights can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness with specialized digital eye exams, so that you can enjoy being out and about at night again.
Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

    • Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.
    • CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.
    • Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.
    • GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.
    • MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.
    • KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.
    • Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.
    • Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights to schedule your appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Herring

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

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

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:

Request An Appointment
Call Our Offices

How Can My Child’s Myopia Be Corrected?

At EYEcenter Optometric, we help children like yours achieve clear and comfortable vision, so they can succeed at the important things in life.

Methods of Myopia Correction

Contact Lenses

Contacts can be a great choice, especially for physically active children or teens who don’t want to worry about breaking or misplacing their eyeglasses. In some cases of very high myopia, contact lenses can offer clearer vision than glasses.

Corrective contact lenses are usually placed in the eyes upon waking and removed at night before bedtime. There are several types, including: soft contacts, daily disposables, extended wear, and rigid gas permeable (hard) lenses. Navigating through the differences between them can be daunting. Fortunately, if you’re located in Citrus Heights our eye doctor will be happy to guide you. Speak with Palmer N. Lee, O.D. to determine whether your child is ready for contact lenses.

Prescription Glasses

Glasses are a popular choice among our younger patients. Choosing from an array of styles makes the process fun and exciting! Allowing the children to be active participants in selecting their imeeyewear increases the likelihood that they’ll actually wear them. There are strong, flexible and resilient frames which look great and are comfortable too.

The optician can customize the lenses with additions and upgrades like impact-resistant or shatter-proof materials, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, UV filters, and transition lenses that darken in the sun. For those requiring vision correction for distance and near, we also offer bifocal or multifocal lens prescriptions.

We Can Help Correct Your Child’s Myopia

If you’re located near Citrus Heights, California , an eye exam with our optometrist can determine your child’s exact prescription, and give you the opportunity to receive answers to any questions you may have about your child’s eye health and vision. Progressive myopia, where a growing child’s prescription continues to worsen, is why it’s important for myopic children to undergo eye exams at least once a year.

At EYEcenter Optometric, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to recommend the most suitable method of correcting your child’s myopia to meet his or her individual needs. Thanks to the wide range options available, your child will walk away with eyewear that will not only enhance his or her style but will also be a boost of confidence.

Let us help your child see the world in a whole new light. To schedule your child’s annual eye exam or if you have any further questions, contact EYEcenter Optometric at 916-727-6518 today.

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?

 

 

 

Call Our Offices