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Myopia Management

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 The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care today!


Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Vaughan

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.

The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care serves patients from Siloam Springs, Northwest Arkansas, Springdale and Northeast Oklahoma, all throughout OK.

 

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 918-203-7434

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 The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care 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 The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care 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.

 

The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care serves patients from Siloam Springs, Northwest Arkansas, Springdale, and Northeast Oklahoma, all throughout OK.


Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 918-203-7434

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 The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care to book your child’s consultation today!

The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care serves patients from Siloam Springs, Northwest Arkansas, Springdale, and Northeast Oklahoma, all throughout OK.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Vaughan

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.


The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care serves patients from Siloam Springs, Northwest Arkansas, Springdale, and Northeast Oklahoma, all throughout OK.

 

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 918-203-7434

Does Myopia Get Worse With Age?

Myopia Social Blog Image

Many parents who come into our practices consider their children’s myopia as a simple vision problem that needs correction. Each time the child needs a higher prescription, they just “fix” it by buying them a new pair of glasses.

What many parents don’t realize is that myopia can actually harm a child’s eyes and vision, especially as the child ages.

Below, we’ll explain what myopia is, how it progresses with age, and why parents should take action now to preserve their children’s gift of sight for the future.

What is Myopia?

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. This causes distant objects to appear blurry.

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.

Myopia typically starts in childhood and progresses throughout the school-age years, usually stabilizing around their late teens.

While scientists don’t fully understand all the causes of myopia, we know that genetics and certain environmental factors play a key role in its development and progression.

Why Should Parents Care About Myopia Progression?

Myopic children are at a higher risk of developing sight-threatening diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration later in life.

Children with rapidly progressing myopia are even more prone to developing these diseases.

So why wait for your child’s myopia to worsen before seeking treatment? Slowing myopia early on can make all the difference to your child’s eye health as they age.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Optometry and Vision Science found a jarring statistic about myopia progression that all parents should be aware of. The researchers discovered that 1 diopter change in a child’s prescription was associated with a 67% increase in developing myopic maculopathy (myopic macular degeneration) — a leading cause of irreversible visual impairment and blindness.

The same study also noted that when parents provided their children with myopia management, the risks of developing myopic maculopathy fell by 40%.

Can Myopia Progression Be Slowed?

Yes! It certainly can be slowed, and even halted.

At My Family Eye Care, we offer the latest and most effective treatments for childhood myopia so that every one of our patients receives the best shot at lifelong healthy vision.

Our optometric team will meet with you and your child to determine the most suitable treatment for your child’s eyes and lifestyle.

Why wait? It’s never too early to start treating myopia. To schedule your child’s myopia eye consultation, call us today!

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 918-203-7434

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, Dr. Susan Vaughan 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 The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care, 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.

The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care serves patients in Siloam Springs,Northwest Arkansas, Springdale and Northeast Oklahoma, throughout OK.

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 918-203-7434

Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Child’s Eyes?

treehouse eyes child at an eye exam

Is your child squinting more than usual? Is she or he having difficulty reading or seeing distant objects, even if they already wear glasses or have recently had an eye exam?

Optometrists throughout the country are seeing more cases of myopia than ever before due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The drastic increase in indoor and screen time associated with virtual classrooms is taking a toll on children’s eyes, resulting in what optometrists are calling “quarantine myopia”.

How Has the COVID-19 Lockdown Contributed To Myopia?

COVID-19 has impacted the lives of many, whether through infection or as a result of the ripple effect of this pandemic, such as lockdowns. The periodic school shutdowns are causing children to spend significantly more hours a day inside and in front of their screens. It is, therefore, no coincidence that eye doctors have been detecting a steep rise in myopia cases during this period.

But First, What Is Myopia?

Myopia is a disease where the eye grows too long, causing light to be focused at the front of the retina instead of directly on it. This results in blurred vision when looking at a distant object. Myopia typically starts in childhood and progresses throughout school-age years, meaning a child’s vision continues to deteriorate as their eye grows too long.

While the causes of myopia are not yet fully understood, we now know that genetics and certain environmental factors play a significant role in its development. Doing excessive near work activities, like spending hours on a computer or other digital device, and staying indoors has been linked to the development or progression of myopia in children.

A recent study observed the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on over 120,000 Chinese children and found that home confinement had considerably increased myopia levels in those aged 6-8. These children had a diopter change of 0.3 during the lockdown. In other words, their vision significantly deteriorated during the lockdown.

When children have myopia, it’s not just an inconvenience. It can also put them at risk of developing serious, sight-threatening eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment later in life. That’s why so many parents choose myopia management to protect their children’s long-term vision and eye health.

Can Myopia Be Treated?

Yes, it most definitely can! At The Myopia Management Center at My Family Eye Care, we’re committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for your child’s visual and ocular health. That means using the best, most effective treatments to slow or even halt your child’s myopia progression.

We work with you and your child to find the most suitable, convenient, and comfortable myopia treatment based on your child’s needs and lifestyle.

It’s never too early to start treating your child’s myopia. Offer your child the gift of sight for the long term by finding the nearest provider to you:

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 918-203-7434