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Myopia Management

3 Facts about Myopia and What You Can Do For Your Child

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Myopia, often referred to as nearsightedness, is an eye disease in which the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to be focused in front of the retina instead of on the retina’s surface. Essentially, your child’s eye is growing too long.

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.

The hallmark symptom of myopia is blurred distance vision, but it can also cause headaches, eyestrain, and difficulty seeing at night.

What Causes Myopia?

Several factors lead a child to develop myopia, including genetic, environmental, and even socioeconomic status.

Excessive ‘Near Work’

More than ever before, kids all over the world are focusing their eyes on near objects for the majority of their day, whether reading a book, or using a smartphone, computer, tablet, or another device.

Numerous studies have shown that doing near work, especially in excess (more than 3 hours per day), contributes to the onset and progression of myopia.

Some findings suggest that the intensity and duration of near work are also important factors. For example, reading a captivating novel for 45 minutes straight will impact a child’s eyes more than skimming a magazine a few minutes at a time.

Genetics

A child is more likely to be myopic if one of their parents is nearsighted or myopic as well. If both parents are myopic, those chances increase even greater. Be sure to get your child’s vision checked if you or your spouse are myopic.

Not Enough Outdoor Time

Spending at least 2-3 hours outdoors has been shown to delay or prevent the onset of myopia in children. Make sure to send your children outside to play every day, especially if they’re at risk of developing myopia!

What Can You Do?

The good news is there are many things you can do you help slow or stop the progression of myopia.

Get Regular (annual or semi-annual) Eye Exams

Even if both parents aren’t myopic, it’s still recommended to get an annual eye exam for your child. You can schedule a myopia consultation with a Treehouse Eyes provider near you. Many pediatricians are able to complete basic eye exams – be sure to ask them to check for myopia!

Encourage Breaks from Excessive ‘Near Work’

More than ever before, kids are focusing their eyes on near objects for the majority of their day. Encouraging breaks from near work such as reading and electronic devices will help your child’s eyes and give them a chance to get back outside as it warms up.

Spend More Time in Natural Sunlight

As you encourage your child to take a break from near work, one of the best ways to enjoy that newfound time is to get outside! Natural sunlight, even in the classroom, can be protective of myopia. Be sure to wear some sunblock as well!

If Your Child Has Myopia, We Can Help!

What many don’t realize is that myopia can seriously affect a child’s future eye health and vision. Having myopia in childhood significantly increases the risk of developing serious eye diseases and conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachment, cataracts, and macular degeneration in adulthood.

The good news is that myopia can be effectively managed to reduce the risk of future eye disease. You can prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation with us today. Visit Scott Eye Care online scheduler or call 630-394-6133 to make an appointment. Help your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Are Myopic Parents More Likely to Have Myopic Children?

Myopic Parents 640×350If you have myopia (nearsightedness), can you pass nearsightedness on to your children? Yes, you can. Having myopic parents greatly increases a child’s risk of developing myopia.

Due to heredity and other risk factors, myopia is reaching epidemic proportions – with more than 50% of the population expected to be myopic by 2050. That’s worrying, as having moderate to severe myopia greatly increases the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration later in life.

What Is Myopia?

If you have myopia, distant objects will appear blurred. This happens when your cornea or eye lens is oval-shaped and excessively curved. As a result, the light entering your eye focuses images in front of your retina instead of directly on it, causing blurred vision.

Can Myopia Be Inherited? What the Stats Say

The answer is yes, myopia can be passed on from parents to children. There are 40 genes that influence the eye’s development and shape, and these could be responsible for nearsightedness.

Children with one myopic parent are 1.5x more likely to develop the condition, and the risk is tripled if both parents have myopia. This makes getting a comprehensive eye exam a must for any child of nearsighted parents.

Other risk factors include spending less than two hours a day outdoors and engaging in “near work” activities like reading and spending time on an electronic device, such as a computer or cell phone. Fortunately, there are ways to manage, slow and sometimes halt myopia progression.

What’s Myopia Management?

Myopia management is a systematic approach to preventing the progression of myopia. It includes lifestyle changes and treatments that help keep your child’s myopia from progressing.

​​We use the latest technology to ensure your child’s vision remains stable and healthy for years to come.

Protect Your Child’s Vision With Myopia Management

Let us help your child diminish the risk of developing ocular disease and vision loss with our effective myopia management program. Schedule an appointment with Ronald Weingart, OD, Vasana Lerdvoratavee, OD and Chula Lerdvoratavee, OD at The Scott Eye Care Myopia Management Center in Oswego. We’ll use the latest technology to ensure your child’s vision remains stable and healthy for years to come.

Our practice serves patients from Oswego, Naperville, Aurora, and Chicago, Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ronald Weingart, OD, Vasana Lerdvoratavee, OD and Chula Lerdvoratavee, OD

Q: What are some ways I can reduce my child’s screen time?

  • A: It isn’t easy to change habits, but as a family, you can work together to reduce screen time. Try the following:- Set limits on total amount of screen time per day
    – Create routines around screen use–such as after homework and chores
    – Model healthy screen use for your child
    – Talk to your children about why it is important to limit screen time
    – Engage in physical activity and outdoor sports as a family

Q: When Does Myopia Typically Develop?

  • A: Myopia begins in children as young as 6 and tends to progress until roughly the age of 20. The more it progresses, and the higher the prescription, the greater your child’s risk of developing potentially sight-threatening eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment later in life.

3 Facts About Myopia You Should Know

treehouse girl Given the rapid increase in childhood myopia being seen in the U.S., the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their guidance on managing myopia in children. Both organizations now recommend children play outdoors more to delay the onset of myopia and support proactive treatment of myopic children to reduce the progression and eye disease risk associated with higher myopia later in life.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a disease where the eye grows too long, resulting in blurry distance vision and increased risks of serious, sight-threatening eye diseases, such as glaucoma1, cataract2, or retinal eye diseases3. An estimated 1 in 3 children in the U.S. have myopia and the prevalence has grown dramatically over the last 30 years4. Research has shown lack of outdoor time for kids and more near work, like reading and time on screens, drive the massive increase we are seeing in myopia5-7.

Myopia Progresses As Your Child Grows

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.

Natural Sunlight Can Help

Myopia incidence is rising in kids. Less time spent outdoors and more time on near work such as reading and device use has led to higher instances of myopia. This is a global phenomenon that is most acute in developed countries, and current estimates state half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.

In fact, a recent study found that increased exposure to outdoor light reduces myopia development.

There Are Now Treatments for Myopia

There is hope for parents is there are several treatments now available that can slow or even stop the progression of myopia in children. These treatments, usually involving a customized contact lens or prescription eye drops, are proven to slow down the elongation of the eye so a child’s vision does not deteriorate as quickly. Parents should talk to their eye doctor about their child’s risk for myopia and if their child is a good candidate for treatment.

You can prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation with us today. Visit Scott Eye Care online scheduler, or call 630-394-6133. Help your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

References:

  1. Ophthalmology, 118(10), 1989-1994.systematic …
  2. Ophthalmology, 112(8), 1395-1401
  3. Japanese journal of ophthalmology, 32(3), 310-315.
  4. Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 Dec;127(12):1632-9.
  5. Ophthalmology . 2008 Aug;115(8):1279-85.
  6. Ophthalmology . 2013 May;120(5):1080-5
  7. PLoS One. 2015 Oct 20;10(10):e0140419

5 Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Screen Time

Girl sitting in front of tv screenMany of us are spending more time in front of screens, and kids are no exception. Kids socialize on their phones and play video games, and may have spent a large part of the covid pandemic learning online.

However, research has shown that too much screen time is unhealthy for adults and kids. For this reason, it’s important to teach children to adopt healthy screen-time habits.

How Does Screen Time Affect the Eyes?

The Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health study (2019), found that excessive screen time was linked to higher obesity rates, and a tendency to eat more junk foods and exercise less.

The eyes, in particular, are adversely affected by hours spent in front of the screen. This is because screens emit blue light, which has shorter wavelengths and more energy than regular light, and the intensity of the light strains the eyes. There are also questions concerning the damage it can cause to the retina.

Screen time has also been linked to higher levels of myopia in young people, according to an Anglia Ruskin University study (2021). Extensive time spent texting or watching videos on a phone led to a 30% higher risk of myopia, or nearsightedness, in young people, and combined with excessive computer use, the risk rose to 80%.

Another worrying factor is excessive exposure to blue light on the circadian rhythm, an internal clock that indicates when we should be asleep or awake. Hours of blue light exposure prior to going to bed can throw off these patterns and interfere with sleep.

How to Reduce Your Child’s Screen Time

Now the question is how should you implement these new rules? Here are 5 tips to help your child develop healthy habits while they’re still young, and help them preserve their mental and physical well-being, as well as their vision.

Set Limits

Set rules that are clear and easy to adhere to. Think about the number of hours per day you’re willing to allow your children to use the screen either for fun or for homework—factoring in a bit extra for holidays and weekends. For instance, one 1 hour per day during the week and 2-3 on the weekends. Also consider times that should be screen-free, such as during meals, before completing homework or chores, or an hour or two before bedtime.

Get Into a Routine

Once you’ve determined how much screen time should be permitted, create a routine that is manageable and easy to stick to. Setting a structure will reduce disagreements because everyone will know what’s expected of them. We recommend writing up the rules and posting them near the computer or in the family room.

For instance, assign each child an hour of screen time a day and ask them to sign up for specific slots. Leave the dinner hour vacant so no one is using screens at the time.

Set An Example

Setting rules specifying when screen time is allowed and for how long is fairly simple, but following them is a whole other thing! Modeling behavior can positively influence your kids, as they are more likely to abide by the rules if they see you setting limits on your screen time as well. Working together to limit screen time can engender a feeling of cooperation and shared goals. Instead of texting or scrolling or watching videos, spend more time together as a family doing things everyone enjoys.

Discuss WHY Screen Time Should Be Limited

Kids should not only know what the rules are but the reasons behind them. Discuss why it’s important to reduce screen time, including health issues that can arise, and explain how too much blue light can affect their eyes. Understanding the reasons behind rules can make them easier to follow.

Encourage Physical Activity, Particularly Outdoors

Your child might forget about screen time when engaged in fun activities that get the body moving. In fact, several studies have shown that children who spend a significant amount of time playing outdoors lower their risk of developing myopia (nearsightedness). Other studies have linked “near work,” such as reading and spending too much time on digital devices, to the development and progression of myopia. Myopia is more than simply an inconvenient eye condition that requires frequent correction—it can have serious sight-threatening consequences in adulthood. Namely, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, glaucoma, and even cataracts. The faster the progression, and the younger the child, the greater the risk!

So encourage your child to play outdoors for at least 30-60 minutes each day, with siblings, friends or as part of a sports team. Perhaps you can take a walk or a bike ride with them after work, or throw a Frisbee — essentially helping them get into the habit of having fun without depending on screens.

If your child has already developed myopia and you want to limit its progression, contact us today. Ronald Weingart, OD, Vasana Lerdvoratavee, OD and Chula Lerdvoratavee, OD at The Scott Eye Care Myopia Management Center can help reduce or slow down myopia progression so they can live their best life.

Our practice serves patients from Oswego, Naperville, Aurora, and Chicago, Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ronald Weingart, OD, Vasana Lerdvoratavee, OD and Chula Lerdvoratavee, OD

Q: Does blue light affect myopia?

  • A: A study in the International Journal of Ophthalmology (2018) has shown a link between extended exposure to blue light and nearsightedness or myopia. That’s because blue light has a shorter wavelength and its high frequency penetrates the front of the retina, and can potentially lead to nearsightedness. That said, there’s still more research to be done on the link between the two.

Q: What is myopia management necessary?

  • A: Myopia management helps slow myopia progression using specific proven treatments methods. This also involves making lifestyle changes, such as reducing screen time and spending more time outdoors. The goal is to keep the level of myopia as low as possible in order to reduce your child’s risk of developing vision-threatening eye diseases later in life.
  • References

Myopia Control and Prevention: 3 Different Types Of Myopia Control Explained

asian children playing the violin 640×350

Before discussing potential “cures” and ways to control for myopia it is important to ensure we define it correctly. A myopic eye is one that grows too long front to back. We know this because we measure it using special equipment that calculates the length of the eye from the front (cornea) to the back (retina). This distance is known as the axial length, and with advanced equipment we can now measure this down to fractions of a millimeter. So myopia is an abnormal elongation of the eye – if a normal eye is shaped like a basketball, then a myopic eye would more resemble a football.

Once an eye is too long, there are currently no known treatments or cures which can cause the axial length of the eye to reverse. Refractive surgery performed on adults, such as LASIK, does not “shrink” the eye, but rather reshapes the front surface of the cornea to enable clear vision without corrective lenses. While the patient who has successful refractive surgery can now see clearly, they still have an elongated eye, so still have the risks associated with the disease.

The Dangers of Having Myopia

There are different types of myopia as well. If a child develops myopia at a young age, we know that they are at higher risk to develop high myopia and even pathological levels of myopia. High levels of myopia can lead to an increased risk for diseases of the eye such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, and myopic maculopathy. Unfortunately, those diseases can all lead to permanent vision loss. These life-altering diseases are another layer of danger besides the obvious need for optical correction in glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.

When you have pathological or degenerative myopia, other signs can form on your eyes that your eye doctor needs to monitor over time. Lattice degeneration and lacquer cracks of the retina all show signs that the retina is under duress because the eyeball has grown excessively long. Ask your doctor about these signs and other ones such as a tilted optic nerve head disc and choroidal neovascularization that happen exponentially higher in cases of extremely high levels of myopia.

What are the Best Ways to Treat Myopia?

The best treatment is to first prevent myopia if possible. More research is being conducted in this area, but as a general rule, eye doctors are encouraging at least two hours of outdoor activity per day. More outdoor activities under natural sunlight have been associated with a lower risk of developing myopia in the first place. If your children have to do intense studying or reading, it is recommended to do as much reading as possible when the sun has set versus reading during the day.

Regular checkups with your eye doctor to diagnose myopia as early as possible are also critical. By catching myopia at an early age, there can be many different types of interventions to prevent myopia from worsening. Myopia typically begins in school-aged children and can worsen until the leveling out usually in your mid-twenties.

As far as the visual component is concerned, usually, a pair of glasses or contact lenses are sufficient. Once the eyes have stopped growing, refractive surgery procedures can be employed as well. But keep in mind that simply correcting your vision will not stop your eyes from getting worse. The root cause of myopia, an eyeball that continues to grow excessively long during our youth, needs to be addressed.

Special pharmaceutical agents such as atropine have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia considerably. Special contacts such as orthokeratology lenses worn at night are effective as well. Even soft contact lenses and glasses designed with special optics different from the traditional pair of glasses can be effective to slow down the rate of myopic progression.

Custom Orthokeratology or Overnight Contact Lenses

Orthokeratology involves using a specially designed contact lens to gently reshape the cornea. The lenses are worn only while sleeping and are removed upon awakening in the morning. There are other names for orthokeratology such as corneal reshaping treatment, gentle vision shaping system, and custom retainers. The technology works by gently flattening the curvature of the cornea to redirect light directly onto the retina.

While initially created to help improve vision so that children and adults can see more clearly, studies have shown that the technology is extremely effective in reducing the rate of myopia progression. The theory is that light is focused in front of the retina in your peripheral vision. This effect changes the optical signals the eye receives to stimulate eye growth. Like all contact lenses, patients need to be diligent in handwashing and cleaning and disinfecting the lenses for safe use. However, studies show that with proper hygiene ‘ortho-k’ is an incredibly safe and effective treatment for treating children of almost any age.

Atropine

Atropine is a pharmaceutical agent that can be made into an eye drop. This eye drop has been used for many years to treat children with amblyopia, sometimes called a ‘lazy eye’. It can be used to dilate the pupils of the eye and also used to treat uveitis as well. What we’ve learned as well is that the use of a diluted concentration of atropine can also slow down the speed of myopia progression. The mechanism of action is still little known, but we believe that it blocks certain signals of the eye to reduce the signal to grow longer. By slowing down the speed at which the axial length increases, this can directly impact the rate of myopic progression.

Custom Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses

More contact lenses are being designed and FDA approved to slow down myopic progression. The MiSight contact lens is an example that has been shown to slow down the rate of myopia by almost 60% compared to control groups. These lenses have different powers throughout the lens that optically focuses light in front of the peripheral retina. By designing these special powers, a patient can wear a simple contact lens during the day to treat both the vision problems associated with myopia as well as prevent the eye from growing too long.

Special Myopia Treating Eyeglasses

More glasses are coming out that can also redirect light in a similar fashion to orthokeratology and soft multifocal contact lenses. This is a particularly exciting alternative for patients who cannot tolerate contact lenses and are wary of putting pharmaceutical drugs into their children’s bodies. From large bifocal eyeglasses to lenses with specialized rings of power in them, lenses are becoming more and more advanced to prevent axial length elongation.

Treehouse Eyes Can Help Prevent Myopia Progression

The good news is we help prevent or slow down myopia progression in kids—just like yours—so they can have their best shot at academic and social success! Above are four of the best ways we treat myopic progression once your child has been diagnosed with myopia. Orthokeratology involves reshaping the eye gently with a contact lens while sleeping. Atropine involves an eye drop that can signal the eye to grow a little slower. Custom soft multifocal lenses are worn during the day. And even specially designed glasses are on the horizon to improve the progression of myopia.

The Treehouse Eyes eye doctors use state-of-the-art equipment to develop a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our non-invasive treatments include customized contact lenses and special prescription eye drops. Moreover, data shows that our patent-pending Treehouse Vision System® treatment plan can decrease myopia progression by 78%.

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, visit our online scheduler or to see a list of all providers near you visit Treehouse Eyes today.

Research Suggests a Link Between Childhood Obesity and High Myopia

Three kids playingMyopia (nearsightedness) is a vision condition that causes distant objects and images to appear blurry. It develops when the eye is too long or the cornea – the front covering of the eye – is too curved.

Both genetic and environmental factors have been shown to increase a child’s risk of myopia. But now, researchers have discovered that childhood obesity may be a risk factor for myopia progression and high (severe) myopia.

In recent years, high myopia has become a growing concern among eye care professionals because it raises the risk of developing sight-threatening eye conditions in adulthood.

The Link Between Obesity and High Myopia

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), high myopia is more prevalent among children with higher body mass index (BMI) levels.

Starting in 2016, a study involving 1,114 Korean children and adolescents (aged 5 to 18) was conducted to determine whether there is a correlation between childhood obesity and high myopia. Data was collected for each participant detailing any family history of myopia, diagnosis of a refractive error, waist circumference and BMI.

The results of the study found that the overweight and obese participants were at a greater risk for high myopia, compared to those with normal BMI levels.

Although a firm link between obesity and high myopia has yet to be established, it is important for parents to be aware that their child’s weight could potentially impact not only their general health, but their eye health as well.

How Is Progressive Myopia Treated?

Myopia typically progresses gradually until the eyes reach their adult size, usually at around age 20. However, progressive myopia that requires stronger vision correction each year can be a cause for concern, as it can increase the risk of vision-robbing eye diseases later in life, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

Fortunately, myopia management has been proven to help slow or even stop myopia progression. In fact, several studies show that myopia management can slow myopia progression by up to 78%.

At The Scott Eye Care Myopia Management Center, we offer personalized myopia management programs to help protect your child’s eyes and vision. Contact us today to book an appointment.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Ronald Weingart, OD, Vasana Lerdvoratavee, OD and Chula Lerdvoratavee, OD

Q: Is myopia dangerous for children?

  • A: While myopia is not a dangerous vision condition in and of itself, higher levels of nearsightedness can increase a child’s risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment and macular degeneration in the future.

Q: Is my child a candidate for myopia management?

  • A: Most children with myopia are candidates for a myopia management program. Although it is best to begin a treatment program as early as possible, many older children and young adults can also benefit from myopia management.
Our practice serves patients from Oswego, Naperville, Aurora, and Chicago, Illinois and surrounding communities.

References:

What Does Myopia Mean?

Dr and patient min

You’ve probably heard the term myopia before. But what exactly does myopia mean? Is it a disease? How should I cure or treat myopia? If I wear glasses, will it make my myopia even worse? This article covers everything you need to know about what it means to have myopia.

The Classic Definition of Myopia

Classically defined myopia is a vision condition where you will see objects up close much more clearly than objects you see far away. Another word to describe myopia is nearsightedness and these words are used interchangeably at times. Myopia happens when the eyeball is too long or if the front part of the eye called the cornea is too steep. The majority of the time, however, myopia occurs because the eyeball size, or the axial length, is too large. When this happens, a clear image doesn’t land far enough back onto the back of the eye called the retina.

Recent research shows that myopia affects more than 42% of the United States population. This number has been increasing every year at epidemic levels worldwide as we expect half of the world to have myopia by 2050. While many scientists initially believed that genetics were the primary cause for developing myopia, we now know that the environment in which we grow up can tremendously impact the level of myopia we have as adults. Increased digital device usage, lack of outdoor activity, and too much near work have been associated with developing high levels of myopia.

The Dangers of Having Myopia

There are different types of myopia as well. If a child develops myopia at a young age, we know that they are at higher risk to develop high myopia and even pathological levels of myopia. High levels of myopia can lead to an increased risk for diseases of the eye such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, and myopic maculopathy. Unfortunately, those diseases can all lead to permanent vision loss. These life-altering diseases are another layer of danger besides the obvious need for optical correction in glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.

When you have pathological or degenerative myopia, other signs can form on your eyes that your eye doctor needs to monitor over time. Lattice degeneration and lacquer cracks of the retina all show signs that the retina is under duress because the eyeball has grown excessively long. Ask your doctor about these signs and other ones such as a tilted optic nerve head disc and choroidal neovascularization that happen exponentially higher in cases of extremely high levels of myopia.

What are the Best Ways to Treat Myopia?

The best treatment is to first prevent myopia if possible. More research is being conducted in this area, but as a general rule, eye doctors are encouraging at least two hours of outdoor activity per day. More outdoor activities under natural sunlight have been associated with a lower risk of developing myopia in the first place. If your children have to do intense studying or reading, it is recommended to do as much reading as possible when the sun has set versus reading during the day.

Regular checkups with your eye doctor to diagnose myopia as early as possible is also critical. By catching myopia at an early age, there can be many different types of interventions to prevent myopia from worsening. Myopia typically begins in school-aged children and can worsen until the leveling out usually in your mid-twenties.

As far as the visual component is concerned, usually, a pair of glasses or contact lenses are sufficient. Once the eyes have stopped growing, refractive surgery procedures can be employed as well. But keep in mind that simply correcting your vision will not stop your eyes from getting worse. The root cause of myopia, an eyeball that continues to grow excessively long during our youth, needs to be addressed.

Special pharmaceutical agents such as atropine have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia considerably. Special contacts such as orthokeratology lenses worn at night are effective as well. Even soft contact lenses and glasses designed with special optics different from the traditional pair of glasses can be effective to slow down the rate of myopic progression.

Myopia Roundup

Regardless of your age or background, it is important to get educated about myopia because it is a widespread disease of the eye. Seeing your eye doctor or chart a proper course of action to prevent or treat myopia is incumbent on every parent in this new digital age. It is not just the digital age as well, results coming from studies of children after the COVID year of 2020 give strong evidence that the environment that COVID induced with social distancing may be causing the largest spike in myopia amongst children we’ve ever seen. Myopia is now viewed as a disease worth treating.

Treehouse Eyes Can Help Prevent Myopia Progression

The good news is we help prevent or slow down myopia progression in kids—just like yours—so they can have their best shot at academic and social success! Above are four of the best ways we treat myopic progression once your child has been diagnosed with myopia. Orthokeratology involves reshaping the eye gently with a contact lens while sleeping. Atropine involves an eye drop that can signal the eye to grow a little slower. Custom soft multifocal lenses are worn during the day. And even specially designed glasses are on the horizon to improve the progression of myopia.

The Treehouse Eyes eye doctors use state-of-the-art equipment to develop a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our non-invasive treatments include customized contact lenses and special prescription eye drops. Moreover, data shows that our patent-pending Treehouse Vision System® treatment plan can decrease myopia progression by 78%.

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye
exam, visit our online scheduler or to see a list of all providers near you visit Treehouse Eyes today.

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 Oswego, Naperville, Aurora, and Chicago, Illinois and surrounding communities.

 

References:

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

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

 

The Four Best Ways to Treat and Manage Myopia

If you or your children have myopia and it is getting worse each year, this article is for you. We will be discussing the four best ways to treat your myopia so it no longer gets worse. Everything we discuss is based on solid science and research, double-masked clinical trials, and recommendations based on mountains of peer-reviewed data. Certainly, we’ve heard and researched other more holistic approaches, if they turn out to be effective, know that this is surely a growing field however and as things change you’ll certainly hear it from us first!

What is Myopia?

Before you can defeat your enemy, you need to know exactly what it is. Myopia is a disease of the eye that is usually the result of an eyeball that has grown too long. We call how long the eyeball is the ‘axial length’. When the axial length grows excessively long, your vision will suffer in direct correlation. So any treatment we discuss has to show efficacy in its ability to reduce axial length elongation compared to a control group. Other times, the cornea may be too steep which can also cause myopia. However, for the sake of this article, we will address the major cause of myopia which is the excessive axial length of the eye. As when we talk about managing myopia, we will be talking about ways that have shown clinical evidence in slowing down axial length growth.

Custom Orthokeratology or Overnight Contact Lenses

Orthokeratology involves using a specially designed contact lens to gently reshape the cornea. The lenses are worn only while sleeping and are removed upon awakening in the morning. There are other names for orthokeratology such as corneal reshaping treatment, gentle vision shaping system, and custom retainers. The technology works by gently flattening the curvature of the cornea to redirect light directly onto the retina.

While initially created to help improve vision so that children and adults can see more clearly, studies have shown that the technology is extremely effective in reducing the rate of myopia progression. The theory is that light is focused in front of the retina in your peripheral vision. This effect changes the optical signals the eye receives to stimulate eye growth. Like all contact lenses, patients need to be diligent in handwashing and cleaning, and disinfecting the lenses for safe use. However, studies show that with proper hygiene this is an incredibly safe and effective treatment for treating children of almost any age.

Atropine

Atropine is a pharmaceutical agent that can be made into an eye drop. This eye drop has been used for many years to treat children with amblyopia, or sometimes called a ‘lazy eye’. It can be used to dilate the pupils of the eye and also used to treat uveitis as well. What we’ve learned as well is that the use of a diluted concentration of atropine can also slow down the speed of myopia progression. The mechanism of action is still little known, but we believe that it blocks certain signals of the eye to reduce the signal to grow longer. By slowing down the speed at which the axial length increases, this can directly impact the rate of myopic progression.

Custom Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses

More contact lenses are being designed and FDA approved to slow down myopic progression. The MiSight contact lens is an example that has been shown to slow down the rate of myopia by almost 60% compared to control groups. These lenses have different powers throughout the lens that optically focuses light in front of the peripheral retina. By designing these special powers, a patient can wear a simple contact lens during the day to treat both the vision problems associated with myopia as well as prevent the eye from growing too long.

Special Myopia Treating Eyeglasses

More glasses are coming out that can also redirect light in a similar fashion to orthokeratology and soft multifocal contact lenses. This is a particularly exciting alternative for patients who cannot tolerate contact lenses and are wary of putting pharmaceutical drugs into their children’s bodies. From large bifocal eyeglasses to lenses with specialized rings of power in them, lenses are becoming more and more advanced to prevent axial length elongation.

Treehouse Eyes Can Help Prevent Myopia Progression

The good news is we help prevent or slow down myopia progression in kids—just like yours—so they can have their best shot at academic and social success! Above are four of the best ways we treat myopic progression once your child has been diagnosed with myopia. Orthokeratology involves reshaping the eye gently with a contact lens while sleeping. Atropine involves an eye drop that can signal the eye to grow a little slower. Custom soft multifocal lenses are worn during the day. And even specially designed glasses are on the horizon to improve the progression of myopia.

The Treehouse Eyes eye doctors use state-of-the-art equipment to develop a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our non-invasive treatments include customized contact lenses and special prescription eye drops. Moreover, data shows that our patent-pending Treehouse Vision System® treatment plan can decrease myopia progression by 78%.

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, visit our online scheduler, or to see a list of all providers near you visit Treehouse Eyes today.

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 The Scott Eye Care Myopia Management Center in Oswego today!

The Scott Eye Care Myopia Management Center offers myopia management to patients from Oswego, Naperville, Aurora, and Chicago, Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ronald Weingart, OD, Vasana Lerdvoratavee, OD and Chula Lerdvoratavee, OD

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.