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The Link Between Myopia Progression and COVID Confinement

The Link Between Myopia Progression and COVID Confinement 640×350Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic eye doctors began to notice that children’s myopia was worsening. Researchers set out to learn whether there was, in fact, a link between the pandemic and increased myopia progression, and if so, why.

How The Pandemic Affected Children’s Vision

A recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology (2021) found that children aged 6 to 13 experienced an increased rate of myopia progression since the beginning of the pandemic, and the lockdowns and restrictions that accompanied it.

The researchers examined the rate of myopia progression from 2015 to 2020 in more than 120,000 children from 10 elementary schools, based on school vision screenings. By the end of the study, children were shown to have significantly higher rates of myopia progression in 2020 than in previous years.

The higher rate of progression was especially severe in children between the ages of 6 and 8. Researchers theorized that the children’s earlier stage of visual development might have been the crucial factor.

Other studies have already determined that children who spend at least 2 hours a day outdoors experience less myopia progression than their peers who stay mostly indoors.

Researchers from the National Eye Institute found that children who spent significant time outdoors — about 14 hours a week — significantly reduced their chances of needing glasses for myopia. Among children with two myopic parents, the chances of needing glasses are roughly 60% if they don’t spend significant time outdoors. However, this study found that, after spending the prescribed 14 hours per week outside, the same children’s risk of myopia dropped to around 20%.

Similar results appear in a study published by the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (February 2019), that shows a significant link between the amount of time children spend engaged in near-work tasks and increased myopia progression.

Taken together, these studies give us a clearer picture of the challenges children have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and why myopia rates in children have soared.

What Can Parents Learn From All Of This?

Parents should make an effort to encourage their children to go outside as often as possible and to spend more time away from screens and other near-work tasks. Moreover, progressive myopia in childhood has been linked to heightened risks of developing sight-robbing eye diseases later in life, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.

If you’re concerned about your child’s myopia, make an appointment with their eye doctor as soon as possible, as delays in seeking professional advice can make myopia management more challenging in the future.

Our practice offers myopia management to patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.

 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33443542/

https://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(17)33464-4/fulltext

 

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

Can Restricting Online Gaming Time Reduce Myopia Progression?

Two kids playing online gamesThe Chinese government recently implemented a new policy that’s sparked conversations about childhood myopia and online gaming.

Under the policy, Chinese children and teens under the age of 18 are only permitted to play online video games for one hour on weekend evenings and public holidays — a significant reduction compared to their previous online gaming allotment. This restriction includes all forms of video games, from handheld devices to computer and smartphone gaming.

The government hopes to combat a common condition called online gaming disorder, or video game addiction, which affects more than 30% of children in China. Another potential benefit of limiting online gaming may be a reduction in childhood myopia progression, something we explore below.

The Link Between Online Gaming and Myopia Progression

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition that causes blurred distance vision. Several factors contribute to the onset and progression of myopia, including genetic and environmental.

Several studies have found that screen time, along with other forms of near work, is associated with higher levels of myopia and myopia progression in children.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (2019), children who engage in screen time for more than 3 hours per day have almost 4 times the risk of becoming myopic. Younger children, around ages 6-7, are even more susceptible to experiencing screen-related nearsightedness, with 5 times the risk compared to children who don’t use digital screens.

Limiting screen time may also encourage children to spend more time outdoors in the sun, a protective factor against developing myopia and slowing its progression.

In The Sydney Adolescent Vascular and Eye Study (2013), researchers found that spending at least 21 hours outdoors per week was more important for delaying the onset of myopia than limiting near work in both younger and older children, although both were effective.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Although online gaming can give children a sense of community and togetherness, excessive online gaming can increase a child’s risk of developing myopia and contribute to its progression.

The good news is that parents can make eye-healthy choices for their children that can have lifelong benefits. Limiting near work activities like online gaming and other screen time, and encouraging your children to play outdoors can significantly reduce their chances of developing high (severe) myopia.

How Myopia Management Can Help

The best thing that parents can offer their children to prevent myopia and halt its progression is a custom-made myopia management treatment plan with an eye doctor.

Whether or not myopia has set in already, we can help preserve your child’s eye health and lower their risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment in the future.

To learn more about our services or schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact River Place Vision Center in Austin today!

River Place Vision Center offers myopia management to patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis Smith

Q: Who is an ideal candidate for myopia management?

  • A: Children, teens, and young adults who are nearsighted or are at risk of becoming nearsighted are ideal candidates for myopia management. If you think myopia management is right for you or your child, speak with us about how we can help. Remember, the sooner your child starts myopia management, the better their outcome will be.

Q: Is myopia management based on scientific evidence?

  • A: Yes! The treatments used in myopia management are all safe and clinically proven to slow the onset and progression of myopia in children and teens. There have been several scientific studies that support its effectiveness.

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

Can Myopia be Cured?

Can Myopia be Cured 640×350Myopia is not simply an inconvenience—it can have serious sight-threatening consequences in adulthood. And while myopia (nearsightedness) has no known cure, there are certain treatments and management strategies that can (and should) be implemented when a child has myopia.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a common refractive error that makes it hard to see distant objects clearly. This refractive error occurs when light passing through the eye does not focus correctly on the retina at the back of the eye.

Nearsighted people see distant items as blurry, while nearby objects tend to remain clear. Although eyeglasses and standard contact lenses can correct a person’s vision, they do not cure or slow down myopia’s progression.

Myopia usually starts in childhood and tends to increase as the eyeballs rapidly grow. It can progress slowly or quickly, especially between the ages of 8 and 18, at which time it typically stabilizes.

Myopia isn’t just about having to wear corrective glasses or lenses. As myopia worsens, the child is more likely to develop serious eye diseases later in life that can result in irreversible vision loss or blindness, like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

Treatments to Slow and Prevent Myopia Progression

While there is no cure for myopia, there are a number of treatments that can slow its progression and even halt it completely in children and young teens.

Our experts work directly with each family to create treatment plans tailored to your child’s specific needs. We thoroughly evaluate your child’s vision, prescribe the treatment most suited to them, and track their progress to ensure the best possible outcome. Follow-up visits are usually scheduled every 6-12 months to evaluate the treatment’s effectiveness.

Other ways to slow or prevent myopia

Outdoor activity and natural lighting

According to a recent study published by Ophthalmic Research (2020), children who spend more time outside (at least 14 hours per week) have lower levels of myopia (or none at all) as compared to those who spend significantly fewer hours outdoors.

Limited time on devices

Another study, published by PLOS One (2015), found a relationship between near-work activities and myopia progression. While more research is needed, various studies have found that excessive time spent on near-work activities like reading a book, using a computer and playing games on digital devices is linked to myopia. As a result, eye doctors recommend that parents keep track of and limit the amount of time their child spends on a phone or other digital devices.

If your child has myopia, book a myopia management assessment to determine whether they could benefit from this life-changing treatment. The child’s age, as well as their maturity level and lifestyle, will all play a role in determining which treatment to offer and the best time to begin myopia management.

Speak with Dr. Dennis Smith, who will advise you on the best myopia management treatment options for your child’s vision and lifestyle.

River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis Smith

Q: What is progressive myopia?

  • A: Progressive myopia is nearsightedness that worsens year after year. Severe myopia, also known as high myopia, can develop as a result of this trend, which can have significant eye health consequences in late adulthood.

Q: Can myopia lead to blindness?

  • A: Myopia in childhood has been linked to serious, vision-threatening eye conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration later in life. Furthermore, extreme myopia can progress to a stage known as degenerative myopia, which can result in significant loss of vision and even legal blindness.

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

Why Myopia Is Much More Than An Inconvenience

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthFor some parents, having a nearsighted child simply means frequent visits to the optometrist and regular eyewear purchases. But the truth is that nearsightedness (myopia) is more than an inconvenient eye condition that frequently requires correction.

Taking the short-sighted approach to myopia by simply updating a child’s lens prescription every year or two doesn’t help them in the long run.

Below, we explore the connection between myopia and eye disease, and how myopia management can help your child maintain healthy eyes throughout their life.

How Can Myopia Lead To Eye Disease?

Myopia is caused by the elongation of the eyeball. When the eyeball is too long, it focuses light in front of the retina instead of directly on it, causing blurry vision.

As childhood myopia progresses, the retina (the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) stretches and strains, making the child more prone to serious eye diseases, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment, in adulthood.

Having medium to high myopia (-3.00 to -6.00) also increases a child’s chances of developing cataracts fivefold, compared to a child with little to no myopia.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in adults around the world. Medium to high myopia makes a child 5 times more likely to develop this sight-threatening eye disease as an adult. Several studies have also shown that the higher the myopia, the greater the risk of developing glaucoma.

Retinal detachment is also heavily linked to childhood myopia. A child with low myopia (-1.00 to -3.00) is 4 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, while children with high myopia are 10 times more likely to suffer from retinal detachment.

Highly myopic children are also at a significantly greater risk of developing myopic macular degeneration — a rare condition where the retina thins so much, it begins to break down and atrophy, leading to visual impairment. This condition occurs in 10% of people with high myopia (-6.00 and higher).

The fact is that most parents aren’t aware of these risks. That’s why we’re here for any questions you or your child may have about myopia and how to slow its progression.

What Is Myopia Management?

Myopia management is an evidence-based treatment program that slows or halts the progression of myopia in children and young adults. These treatments reduce the ocular stress that contributes to the worsening of the child’s myopia.

Our optometric team will take the time to sit with you and your child to learn about their lifestyle and visual needs in order to choose the most suitable treatment.

Once a treatment plan is chosen, we will monitor your child’s myopia progression over a 6-12 month period to assess the plan’s effectiveness.

With myopia management, we bring your child’s future into focus.

To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact River Place Vision Center today!

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis Smith

Q: How old does my child have to be to begin myopia management?

  • A: Children as young as 8 years old can begin myopia management. In fact, children who are at risk of developing myopia or high myopia should ideally start before the age of 10 for optimal results, but it’s never too late to start! Either way, your optometrist will help determine whether your child is ready.

Q: Do children with very low myopia need myopia management?

  • A: Yes, definitely. Taking the ‘wait and see’ approach runs the risk of allowing your child’s prescription to rise as they grow older, increasing their risk of developing serious eye diseases in the long run.
River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.

 

 

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

Why Does Outdoor Time Delay Or Prevent Myopia?

outdoor children 640Now that myopia (nearsightedness) is reaching epidemic proportions across the globe, it’s all the more important for parents to understand how myopia can impact their child’s future, and learn which actions they should take to protect their child’s eye health in the long run.

You see, myopia isn’t simply an inconvenience. Childhood myopia raises the risk of developing vision-robbing diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy later in life.

Myopia develops as the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This manifests as blurred distance vision and clear near vision.

While myopia is caused by a combination of circumstances, including genetic and environmental, a key factor comes down to the amount of time a child spends outdoors in the sunlight.

How Does Outdoor Play Affect Myopia?

Although researchers haven’t yet pinpointed exactly why “sun time” prevents or delays myopia, almost all agree that it plays a large role.

One possible reason is correlated to the brightness of the sun. Some experts have found that the intensity of the sun’s rays triggers a dopamine release in the retina which is thought to slow down the elongation of the eye.

Another theory holds that outdoor time encourages a child to shift their gaze from near objects to faraway ones. Excessive near work, like staring at a digital screen, is believed to be a driving force behind the stark increase in myopic individuals today.

Sending a child outdoors to play gives their eyes a break from focusing on their tablets, smartphones, homework, gaming and other near work.

Additionally, spending more time in the sunshine means more Vitamin-D production. Small-scale studies have found nearsighted people have lower levels of Vitamin D than those with normal eyesight. However, more research is needed to confirm this theory.

Here’s the Bottom Line

Childhood myopia increases the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. Parents should be proactive about their child’s eye health and do what they can to prevent myopia from developing or progressing at a rapid rate.

Even if your child doesn’t have myopia, encouraging them to play outdoors for several hours a day has been found to prevent the onset of myopia in certain instances.

So go ahead and give your child a water bottle, sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses—and send them out to play! Children aged 6 and up should spend about 2 hours daily outside in the sunshine.

But sun time alone isn’t enough to ensure the best possible outcome for their eye health. A myopia management program can help give your child the best odds of healthy vision for a lifetime.

To learn more about the myopia treatments we offer and schedule your child’s myopia consultation, call River Place Vision Center today!


Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis Smith

Q: #1: What is myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management is the science-based method used to slow or halt the progression of myopia. There are several options available, and your optometrist will sit down with you and your child to discuss which treatment option is most suitable for your child’s needs.

Q: #2: Who can benefit from myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management treatments have been approved for children as young as 8 and can be used until early adulthood. Myopia management is great for children with low myopia but can also be effective for slowing myopia progression in kids and teens with moderate to high myopia. Contact us to find out whether your child is a candidate for myopia management.

River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills and Hudson Bend, all throughout Texas.

 

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

Is the Myopia Epidemic Caused by Screen Time?

screen time and myopia 640More than 40% of North Americans have myopia (nearsightedness), most of them since childhood.

Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the eyeball grows too long, and the shape of the eye causes light rays to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina. This causes distant objects to appear blurry.

Children with moderate to severe myopia are at significant risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma later in life.

Is the myopia epidemic even partly due to children spending too much time looking at digital screens? While digital devices keep our children entertained and help them learn via online classrooms, it’s important to understand the ramifications associated with using them.

Is There a Link Between Digital Screens and Myopia?

That’s an excellent question, with no easy answers.

Several studies have found that children who spend many hours indoors doing “close work” — reading, writing, and looking at computers and other digital devices — have a higher rate of myopia progression.

In Denmark, teenagers who spent more than six hours a day on screens doubled their risk of myopia, while in Ireland, researchers determined that spending more than three hours a day on a screen increased the chances a child would be myopic.

However, some other studies haven’t found a definitive correlation between screen time and myopia.

What is clear is that children who spend a considerable amount of time playing outdoors in the sunshine appear to develop myopia at a slower rate than children who spend almost all their time indoors.

A study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s professional journal, Ophthalmology, found that the progression of myopia in first-graders who spent at least 11 hours per week playing outside in the sunshine was slower in the “sunshine” children.

And a study by the Singapore Eye Research Institute found that each hour teenagers spent outdoors doing activities lowered their risk of myopia by 10 percent.

Whether this was due to them looking at far-away objects or to sunlight’s effect on the children’s eyes requires further study.

What is certain: Children, teens and adults who look at screens for an extended period of time often experience blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes and digital eye strain.

Signs of Myopia

Looking at objects too closely

If you notice your child moving closer to the TV, or having trouble seeing the board in their classroom, it can be a sign that they have myopia.

Head tilting or squinting

If your child tilts or squints their head while watching TV, it may be a sign that they are having trouble focusing.

Blurred vision

If your child can’t see clearly in the distance or complains of blurry vision, it may be due to using a digital screen for long periods of time.

Headaches

Untreated myopia can cause serious eye strain, which can cause headaches.

How to Help Prevent Myopia or Slow Its Progression

Many cases of myopia are inherited, but it’s still possible to slow and sometimes halt its progression. Here is what you can do to help prevent your child from developing this eye condition:

  • Encourage your child to go outdoors at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Be sure to follow local health recommendations regarding children and exposure to sunlight, including wearing UV-protected sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends doing close work such as homework, reading and staring at a screen.
  • When your child uses a digital screen, make sure the screen isn’t close to their face. Encourage your child to take a break at least once every 20 minutes, and to look across the room for at least 20 seconds during each break.
  • Discuss myopia management with your eye doctor to help slow and potentially stop the progression of your child’s myopia.

How We Can Help Treat Myopia

If your child shows signs or symptoms of myopia, schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor as soon as possible to discuss a myopia management plan. Early diagnosis of myopia or other eye conditions can improve your child’s performance in school, on the sports field, and can help prevent serious sight-robbing eye diseases later in life.

Contact River Place Vision Center to schedule an appointment to discuss your child’s myopia management plan.

Q&A

Q: What is Myopia Management?

  • A: Myopia management is a treatment program prescribed by your eye doctor to slow, and sometimes halt, myopia progression.

Q: What is involved in myopia management?

A: Depending on the severity of myopia and age of your child, your eye doctor may prescribe any of the following myopia management techniques:

  • Eyeglasses, such as bifocal or multifocal
  • Multifocal contact lenses
  • Atropine eye drops
  • Orthokeratology (Ortho-k) contact lenses

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Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

Why Bother With Myopia Control?

Boy Trouble LearningMyopia control is a hot topic these days — and for good reason. More and more parents are providing their nearsighted children with myopia control treatments in hopes of slowing down the rapid progression of this very common refractive error.

Is myopia control worth all the effort? Why not just get new glasses every time your child needs a higher prescription? Is childhood myopia really that big of a deal?

Below, we’ll answer these important questions so you can make informed decisions and feel confident about your choices. If your child has myopia, contact River Place Vision Center to learn more about how we can help.

Myopia Is Not Harmless

Myopia is far more than just blurry distance vision. What many don’t realize is that it can seriously impact a child’s long-term eye health.

A child with myopia is significantly more likely to develop sight-threatening diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment and macular degeneration, later in life.

Because the cause of myopia is an elongated eye, the stretching of the eye takes a toll on the retina (the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye). Over time, the stressed retina is more prone to damage and tearing.

Your Child’s Lens Prescription Matters

Suppose your child’s lens prescription is -3.00D (mild to moderate myopia). Although you may think that it’s too late for myopia control at this point, research suggests otherwise.

The level of myopia a child has is directly correlated to their risk of eye disease — the higher the myopia, the greater the risk.

A child with myopia that’s between -0.75D and -3.00 is more than 3 times more likely to develop retinal detachment in the future. That number triples for individuals with high myopia (-5.00 and above).

The risk of myopic maculopathy is also influenced by the level of a child’s nearsightedness. Children under -5.00 have just a 0.42% of developing this serious eye condition, but anything above -5.00? That risk level leaps to 25.3%.

Slowing down or stopping your child’s eyesight from worsening will greatly increase their chances of having a healthy vision in adulthood. Halting myopia as early as possible renders the best outcome.

Myopia Is On The Rise

This is the time to act. With myopia cases escalating exponentially, it’s expected that about half of the world’s population will be nearsighted by 2050, and about 10% of those individuals will have high myopia.

Offering your child myopia control now can potentially prevent them from being part of that 10% in 2050.

If your child has myopia or is at risk of developing it, we can help! To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact River Place Vision Center today.

Q&A

 

Q: #1: How do I know if my child is at risk of developing myopia?

  • A: If one or both parents have myopia, a child is predisposed to becoming nearsighted. Other factors that influence myopia include excess screen time, not enough time spent in the sunlight, and being of a certain ethnicity (people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent have the highest risk).

Q: #2: What treatments are used for myopia control?

  • A: The 3 main treatments are atropine eye drops, orthokeratology (Ortho-k) contact lenses and multifocal contact lenses. Your optometrist will help you decide which method best suits your child’s eyes and lifestyle.

 

River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills and Hudson Bend, all throughout Texas.

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Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

How Much Time Should My Child Spend Outdoors?

child outdoor 640The benefits of outdoor play are well known. It allows children to exercise, socialize, develop skills like problem-solving and risk-taking and lets them soak up some vitamin D.

A lesser-known benefit of outdoor play is its effect on myopia (nearsightedness). Numerous studies have confirmed an association between increased “sun time” and lower levels of myopia.

Below, we’ll explore why this is and recommend ways to keep your child’s eyes healthy, whether or not they are nearsighted.

Why “Sun Time” Helps Control Myopia

While researchers haven’t yet pinpointed the exact reason, some believe that the sun’s intense brightness and increased vitamin D play a role. Others theorize that children who spend time looking into the distance while outdoors prevent myopia from progressing or even developing.

How Much Outdoor Time Is Recommended?

There isn’t a unanimous opinion on an exact amount of time, but the general recommendation is that children ages 6 and up should spend 2 or more hours outdoors per day.

It’s important to note that UV rays can be harmful to the eyes and skin. So before you send your little ones out to play, be sure to hand them a pair of UV-blocking [sunglasses], a wide-brimmed hat and sunblock lotion.

What Can Parents Do For Their Children’s Vision and Eye Health?

Encourage your children to spend time outdoors whenever possible. It is also important to follow local health guidelines pertaining to the exposure of children to sunlight. Limit their daily screen time, and offer minimal screen time (if any) to children under the age of 2.

Make sure your child takes frequent breaks whenever doing near work like homework, reading, and spending time on a digital screen. A 5-10 minute break should be encouraged for every hour of near work.

However, the best thing you can do for your myopic child is to provide them with myopia management treatments, all of which have been scientifically proven to reduce the progression of myopia and risk of sight-robbing eye diseases later in life.

To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, call River Place Vision Center today!

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis Smith

Q: What is myopia?

  • A: A: Myopia is the most common refractive error among children and young adults. It occurs when the eye elongates, and rays of light are focused in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it. For those with nearsightedness, distant objects appear blurred while nearby objects remain clear. Although eyeglasses and standard contact lenses can correct a person’s vision, they do not treat the underlying cause of myopia or slow its progression.

Q: Why is myopia management important?

  • A: A: By 2050, half of the world’s population is expected to be diagnosed with myopia. That’s worrying because having myopia raises the risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life. Myopia management, which entails the use of eye drops, specialized contact lenses or multifocal glasses, can help slow the often rapid visual deterioration caused by myopia in children. If you’re concerned that your child’s vision is deteriorating, contact us today. We can help.



River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, all throughout Texas.

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

 

River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, all throughout Texas.

NaturalVue Multifocal Lenses for Myopia Control

NaturalVue Multifocal lenses 640Myopia (nearsightedness) has reached pandemic proportions, with nearly a third of the world’s population being myopic.

Myopia occurs when the shape of the eye causes light rays entering the eye to bend incorrectly. This leads to blurred vision when viewing objects that are far away. Most myopic children are diagnosed between ages 3 to 12, according to the American Optometric Association.

Once a child becomes myopic, the condition generally worsens as they get older. While glasses and contact lenses can provide clear distance vision, they don’t cure myopia. They only relieve the symptoms.

Why Is Myopia Problematic?

Myopia can have a very negative impact on your child’s learning, athletics and overall school performance. Additionally, having myopia as a child can significantly raise the risk of developing serious ocular complications such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment in adulthood.

Is your child at risk?

Some factors that increase a child’s risk of becoming myopic include:

  • Race (Asians are more prone to myopia)
  • Family history (one or both parents are myopic)
  • Less than 2 hours per day playing outdoors
  • Excessive time spent indoors reading, looking at a screen, or doing other close-work

How To Reduce The Risk of Myopia

To reduce the risk of your child developing myopia, increase their outdoor playtime and reduce their amount of near work.

It is important to have your child’s eyes tested by an eye doctor before they start school. The doctorwill be able to give a reliable indication of their future risk of developing myopia.

If your child is already found to be myopic, their eye doctor will be able to discuss all the myopia management options available.

Myopia Management Options

Myopia management can help stabilize your child’s vision and improve their school performance. A program of myopia management can include these options:

  • Atropine eye drops
  • Orthokeratology (“ortho-k”)
  • Multifocal contact lenses (NaturalVue)

Your child’s eye doctor will decide which option is best for your child based on many factors, including your child’s age, degree of myopia, how their eyes work together and their level of maturity.

NaturalVue vs Other Contact Lenses for Myopia

While regular soft contact lenses can provide clear distance vision, they don’t slow or halt the progression of myopia.

NaturalVue lenses are multifocal lenses that were originally developed to help older people read without reading glasses. However recent research and clinical trials have shown that these lenses may also help patients with myopia.

Studies have found that children who wear multifocal contact lenses have a significantly slower progression of their myopia compared to those who wear regular contact lenses. A study published in Eye and Contact Lens Journal: Science and Clinical Practice found that children who wore NaturalVue Multifocal contact lenses for 5 years had lower rates of myopia progression.

NaturalVue Multifocal lenses provide clear and comfortable vision while slowing myopia progression.

If your child is myopic or you are concerned they might become myopic, contact River Place Vision Center to schedule an appointment. We can help diagnose and manage your child’s myopia so that they can enjoy clear vision while slowing or preventing this condition from worsening.

Q&A

Q: How do multifocal contact lenses reduce myopia progression?

  • A: The lens design has two parts. The central part corrects your vision, allowing you to see clearly. The peripheral part of the lens has a lower power, allowing light from the side of vision to focus in front of the retina. This effect has been shown to slow down or even stop the worsening of the child’s myopia.

Q: How does NaturalVue compare to Ortho-k?

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Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

5 Facts About Myopia You Probably Didn’t Know

myopia controlAs time goes on, chances are you probably know someone who has myopia – whether your child, a friend, family member or yourself. But how much do you really know about this eye disease?

Some parents expect that simply receiving a pair of glasses for their child is the only way of dealing with the effects of myopia. In truth, there’s much more to myopia and what you can do about it than meets the eye.

Below, we’ll explore 5 facts about myopia that may inspire you to be more proactive about your child’s eye health and long-term vision.

Myopia is an Eye Disease

Myopia is an eye disease where the eyeball grows too long, leading light to be focused in front of the retina instead of directly on it. Because the eye is elongated, incoming light doesn’t focus on the retina as it should, leading objects in the distance to appear blurry. As an example, If a normal eye is round like a basketball, a myopic eye would look more like a football.

Because the eye elongates and grows with the rest of the body, naturally, it stops elongating once the rest of the body stops growing in early adulthood. This also means there may be times in a child’s development where they experience growth spurts—suddenly requiring a higher prescription due to an increase in their myopia.

It’s More Common Than You Think

Myopia is an eye disease of epidemic proportions, affecting close to 2 billion people worldwide. If things don’t change, half of the world’s population will have some degree of myopia by the year 2050!

It’s a Progressive Condition

Myopia generally begins in childhood and progresses throughout the school-age years, usually stabilizing into the late teens.

Because the eye grows in tandem with the body, it’s only natural that it stops elongating once the rest of the body stops growing in early adulthood. This also means there may be times in a child’s development where they experience growth spurts and suddenly require a higher prescription. There are ways to effectively treat myopia in order to prevent it from progressing as the child grows. Slowing myopia early on can make all the difference to your child’s eye health as they age.

Myopia Puts Kids At Risk of Developing Future Eye Disease

Myopic children are significantly more likely to develop sight-threatening eye diseases and conditions, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment later in life.

Children with high myopia have a 50% higher risk of developing glaucoma, are 3 times more likely to develop cataracts, and 6 times more likely to develop retinal detachment as adults than children who don’t have myopia.

Myopia is more than just a matter of clear vision — a child’s eye health is at stake. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Optometry and Vision Science noted that when parents provided their children with myopia management, the risks of developing myopic maculopathy fell by 40%.

Myopia Can Be Managed

At Treehouse Eyes, we know how important your child’s eye health is to you, and we’re here to help! We offer the latest and most effective myopia management treatments to limit the progression of myopia so that your child can live his or her best life. Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020