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5 Ways to Get Your Kids Outdoors This Winter and Save Their Vision

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Just because the weather is cooling down, it doesn’t mean that your kids should be kept indoors all winter long. In fact, there are many reasons to have them spend time outdoors, not least of which is to protect your child’s vision. Studies show that children who spend time playing outdoors in the sunshine experience less myopia progression than those who stay indoors. Moreover, encouraging more outdoor playtime is important for promoting overall health and wellbeing in your kids.

Below we’ll explore some fun outdoor activity ideas to try with your kids and discuss why spending time outdoors may slow a child’s myopia progression or even postpone its onset.

5 Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Kids This Winter

1. Snow Play

If you live in a snowy region, bundle up your kids in warm layers and have them:

  • Build a snowman
  • Enjoy a snowball fight
  • Paint the snow with some food coloring or watercolors
  • Make a snow maze
  • Build an igloo
  • Build snow castles (the same way you would sand castles)
  • Make snow angels
  • Collect snowflakes during a snow flurry and study their beautiful shapes

2. Blow Ice Bubbles

Kids love playing with and popping bubbles. If temperatures are low enough, they might freeze in mid air! They’ll get a kick out of watching them freeze and possibly catching or popping them.

To make your own bubble solution, mix 1 part water with 4 parts dish soap and a few drops of light corn syrup. It’s best to try this activity when winds are calm, as harsh breezes can cause the bubbles to pop before they freeze.

Once the bubbles have landed on a surface and are completely frozen, they are beautiful to photograph — which can be part 2 of this activity.

3. Go Sledding

Sledding is a classic winter activity that your child will love. To go sledding, all you need is snow, a sled, and a hill! Easy enough.

But before you hit the slopes (or hills), be sure to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Choose a sled that can be steered and can brake
  • Wear a helmet
  • Dress warmly, but be careful as the scarf can get caught under the sled
  • Children 5 years old and under should sled with an adult

4. Go on a Winter Scavenger Hunt

A winter scavenger hunt is a wonderful way to explore nature with all of your senses. Before you head out, make a list of things to see, smell, listen for, and feel. Ask your child to check each item off the list.

For example, your list can include listening for the sounds of birds chirping, footsteps crunching in the leaves, or water babbling in a nearby stream. On the list of things to look for, you can include different types of trees, animals, animal tracks, cloud shapes, birds’ nests, and more. Take your camera along and let your child take pictures of what they find.

You can also leave an empty space on the list for your child to fill as they explore new things on their own.

5. Decorate a Tree with Edible Ornaments For Animals

This activity is an unconventional twist on building a bird-feeder and perfect for those who live near a forest. The idea is to make edible ornaments and hang them on a tree (or potted plant in your garden) for wildlife to feed on during the winter.

Your ornaments can be made using various seeds, peanut butter, dried fruit, and popcorn. It’s best to use biodegradable materials to hang your ornaments, and don’t use fishing lines, as birds can get caught in it.

What’s the Connection Between Time Outdoors and Myopia?

There is increasing evidence that children who spend extra time daily playing outdoors have a reduced risk of developing myopia; and if they already have myopia, time spent outdoors could slow down the worsening of this condition, also known as myopia progression.

These findings are significant, as having myopia significantly increases a child’s risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. Moderate to high levels of myopia make a child more susceptible to developing cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and glaucoma later in life.

At Diamond Vision, our mission is to battle childhood myopia by providing myopia management to nearsighted children. Our myopia management treatments can effectively slow down your child’s myopia progression and reduce their future risk of eye disease.

If your child has myopia, or if you need your first consultation, contact us today to schedule a myopia eye exam.

Wishing you and all of our patients a healthy and enjoyable winter season!

FDA- Approved MiSight Contact Lenses Do Wonders in Reducing Myopia Progression!

If there is one thing that eye health professionals agree on, it’s that myopia is an eye disease of
growing proportions.

Having myopia as a child significantly increases the risk of developing sight-threatening conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment later in life. Even children with low levels of myopia have a greater risk of glaucoma and retinal detachment compared to their non-myopic counterparts.

The good news is that slowing down the progression of myopia can drastically lower the risks of
developing eye disease later in life. Innovative products like MiSight 1-day contact lenses help
ensure a healthier future for myopic children.

As part of the Treehouse Eyes network, we are proud to be one of the first practices in the country to be certified to fit MiSight 1-day contact lenses for myopia treatment and be part of the Brilliant Futures Myopia Management Program.

CooperVision, which manufactures MiSight 1-day lenses, calls Brilliant Futures “the new standard of care” for children with myopia. “It provides inclusive practice, child and parent support to create the optimal environment for compliance, satisfaction, clinical outcomes, and long-term loyalty, all via a comprehensive management program featuring MiSight 1-day daily disposable contact lenses.”

What are MiSight 1-Day Contact Lenses?

MiSight 1-day contact lenses are soft lenses that are worn daily and disposed of after each use.
A fresh pair of contacts are placed into the eyes every morning to provide the child with a crisp and clear vision while also slowing the eye’s elongation — the source of progressive myopia.

These contacts are safe and easy for children to use since they require almost no maintenance.

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MiSight 1-Day Contact Lenses: A Popular Choice

CooperVision recently partnered with Sarah Michelle Gellar, a well-known American actress, entrepreneur and producer, to help spread awareness about the importance of myopia management and annual eye exams for myopic children.

The need for myopia management hit home for Gellar, who is myopic herself and has a child with myopia. “My husband and I are both nearsighted and our myopia has continued to worsen over time. We want our kids to have a chance for better vision and lower their risk for future eye health issues” explains Gellar.

While regular eyeglasses or contacts help children see a whiteboard or tennis ball, “MiSight 1- day lenses offer children the benefits of clear vision while slowing myopia progression during their growing years. That is why I am thrilled to be partnering with CooperVision on this campaign,” Gellar says.

Moreover, many parents are pleased to learn that MiSight 1-day contact lenses are FDA approved. In November 2019, the lenses received FDA approval to slow myopia progression in children who are 8-12 years old at the time of their first fitting — making MiSight 1-day contact lenses the only FDA approved soft contact lenses for myopia management!

We Are Proud to Be Part of the Myopia Management Movement

In addition to MiSight, our highly trained and experienced doctors can offer other treatment options to manage childhood myopia, including specialized overnight-wear contact lenses and prescription eye drops.

Contact us today to make an appointment for a myopia consultation for your child. We’ll evaluate your child’s eyes and vision and recommend a personalized treatment plan that will work best for your child and your family.

Let us help ensure a clear and bright future for your child!

What’s All the Buzz Around Myopia Management?

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Over the last few months, myopia management has been a hot topic in several major news and consumer publications. This extra attention is partly due to concerns that online schooling and increased screen time will impact children’s eye health. It’s also a result of the recent NIH-funded study confirming the effectiveness and importance of myopia management treatments in reducing the risk of developing sight-robbing eye diseases later in life.

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates more than normal, causing light to fall in front of the retina rather than on the retinal surface. The symptom of myopia is nearsightedness or blurry distance vision. Myopia is more than an inconvenience; rapidly progressing myopia drastically increases a child’s long-term risks of developing serious eye diseases. While most eye doctors only correct the blurred vision with prescription lenses, Treehouse Eyes doctors use myopia management to slow the progression of myopia.

Keep reading to find out why myopia management is gaining more attention and how it can help preserve your child’s eye health and vision.

What Are People Saying About Myopia Management?

If this is the first time you’re hearing the term “myopia management” you may be wondering what it is. In this June 2020 article, The Wall Street Journal recounts the experience of Raghu Parthasarathi, a father from Maryland, who calls the myopia management program “a godsend” after he witnessed the positive outcome following the treatment of his 11-year-old daughter’s rapidly progressing myopia.

But how is this “godsend” really impacting children’s visual health? In a Women Fitness article, Dr. Kevin Chan, Senior Clinical Director of Treehouse Eyes, explains that myopia isn’t merely poor visual acuity that needs to be corrected. Myopia can actually lead to serious eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment later in life. Fortunately, the myopia management program at Treehouse Eyes can effectively slow down the progression of myopia, thus reducing the future risks of eye diseases.

What Can Parents Do for Their Myopic Children?

In August, as part of a tribute for children’s eye health and safety month, Indianapolis Fox-59 aired a short segment explaining the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on children’s vision. Although studies haven’t yet determined the exact link between increased screen time and the progression of myopia, numerous optometrists across the country are noticing a steep increase in the number of myopic children. It is estimated that a third of American children have some form of myopia, and that by 2050 about 50% of the world’s population will be myopic.

As a parent, you may find this statistic worrisome. The first step to take is to ensure that the child is evaluated by an optometrist on a yearly basis to check for changing prescription and eye health. If it is determined that the child has progressive myopia, a highly-trained and experienced Treehouse Eyes doctor will prescribe a customized myopia management program to mitigate the risks of future sight-threatening eye diseases.

Another thing parents can do is to ensure that myopic children (or those predisposed to developing it) increase the amount of time spent outdoors. “It’s well documented that lack of outdoor time actually contributes to the onset of myopia,” Dr. Chan tells WTOP News in a recent interview. He explains that “higher levels of screen time can lead to the onset of myopia and other eye-related changes, such as dry eye. Over the long run, it can lead to the onset of glaucoma, other retinal complications or cataracts.” As a general rule, children should take a brief break from screen time every 20 minutes.

Dr. Gary Gerber, a leading optometrist and co-founder of Treehouse Eyes, explained in a recent article published in EducationDive that “getting kids outside more has proven physical, mental and emotional benefits, and crucially….proven vision and eye health benefits as well.”

Treehouse Eyes Is Paving the Way In Children’s Myopia Management

We believe that the following statement from a PlanoMoms article sums it up perfectly:

“Treehouse Eyes is the first healthcare practice dedicated exclusively to treating myopic children. Children using the Treehouse Eyes patent-pending protocol, the Treehouse Vision System, show an average 78% reduction in the progression of their myopia (individual results vary).”

Our goal is to provide the highest level of care to all of our patients, using the most advanced and effective methods of myopia management. Join the growing number of parents who provide myopia management to their children by contacting us today.

Closure Notice

Greetings to all of our valued patients and friends

Due to the COVID 19 virus and for the safety of our patients and employees, our office will be closed starting Sunday, March 22 for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Diamond Vision will be open Thursday, March 19 from 9 AM to 7 PM, Friday, March 20 8:30 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday from 8 AM to 2 PM

If you have to pick up your contact lenses or eyeglasses you can come in during those designated hours or you can call us at 516.766.2423 and we will gladly waive all shipping charges.

Starting Monday, March 23 if you want to order contact lenses or have any other questions regarding the health of your eyes you can call the office at 516-766-2423 and all phone messages will be transferred over to my cell phone If you want to purchase your contact lenses, you can personally email Dr Galan any requests to
iguy1234@optonline.net

The staff of Diamond Vision and myself wishes you and your families stay safe during this current situation

Regards

Dr. Shane Galan

Progressive Myopia: When Your Child’s Vision Keeps Getting Worse

What Is Progressive Myopia?

Nearsightedness or myopia is one of the most prevalent eye disorders worldwide and its incidence is increasing. In fact by 2050, myopia is projected to affect half of the world’s population!

Many children diagnosed with nearsightedness (myopia) experience a consistent worsening of their vision as they grow into adolescence. This condition can be so aggressive that for some, each time they take their child to the eye doctor for a vision checkup, their prescription gets higher.

This is called progressive myopia and can be a serious condition for many children now and in the future. Not only is there a financial burden and inconvenience associated with having to replace eyeglasses on a regular basis, but high myopia is a risk factor for many eye diseases later in life such as retinal detachment, early onset cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

What Causes Progressive Myopia?

Myopia is a refractive error that happens when the eye focuses incoming light in front of the retina, rather than directly on it, resulting in blurred distance vision. While an exact cause of progressive myopia is not known, most research indicates that a combination of environmental and genetic factors trigger the condition.

First of all, there is evidence that a family history of nearsightedness is a contributing factor. Additionally, spending a lot of time indoors may play a role in myopia development, as studies show that children who spend more time outside have less incidence of myopia. Lastly, near point stress, which can be caused from looking at a near object for an extended period of time, can prompt the eye to grow longer and result in myopia. Several eye doctors recommend following the 20-20-20 rule when using digital devices (stopping every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds) to reduce near point stress caused by computer use.

What Can Be Done To Prevent or Treat Myopia?

There are several treatments that have been shown to slow the progression of myopia.

Orthokeratology (ortho-k):

Also known as corneal reshaping, this treatment uses rigid gas permeable contact lenses that are worn while the patient sleeps to reshape the cornea, which is the clear, front part of the eye. During the day, the patient is usually able to see clearly, glasses-free. In addition to allowing glasses-free vision during the day, this treatment has been shown to reduce the progression of myopia in many children.

Distance Center Multifocal Contact Lenses:

This treatment uses distance center (which means the area for seeing at a distance is in the center of the lens) multifocal soft contact lenses to provide clear vision and slow the progression of myopia. The lenses are worn as normal contact lenses during the day.

Additional Myopia Treatments:

While these treatments are available in all of North America, some countries offer additional options that are approved for myopia control. For example, in Canada, ZeissTM MyoVision glasses that have an innovative lens curvature design are available to help reduce the rate of myopia progression. Additionally some doctors in Canada offer Coopervision MiSight® lenses, which are 1-day contact lenses that are worn during the daytime. These contacts have a multifocal lens design with distance centre and near surround that is specifically designed for children.

Myopia & Your Child

If your child’s vision keeps getting worse, it’s more than an annoyance – it can be a serious risk factor for their eye health and vision in the future. The best strategy for myopia control depends on the child and the severity of the case, and requires consultation with an experienced eye doctor in order to determine the best solution. If your child wears glasses, make his or her vision a priority; schedule an eye exam to ensure stable vision and healthy eyes.

 

Inside a Life With Color Vision Deficiency

What’s it like to be color blind? Contrary to what the name implies, color blindness usually does not actually mean that you don’t see any color, but rather that you have difficulty perceiving or distinguishing between certain colors. This is why many prefer the term color vision deficiency or CVD to describe the condition. CVD affects men more than women, appearing in approximately 8% of men (1 in 12) and .5% of women (1 in 200) worldwide. 

Having color vision deficiency means that you perceive color in a more limited way than those with normal color vision. This ranges from mild, in which you may not even be aware that you are experiencing color differently, to severe, which is perhaps the more appropriate from to be called “color blind” and involves the inability to see certain colors. 

CVD can be inherited; it is caused by abnormalities in the genes that produce photopigments located in the cone cells in your eyes. The eyes contain different cone cells that fire in response to a specific color, blue, green or red and together allow you to see the depth and range of colors that the normal eye can see. The type of color blindness and therefore the type of color vision that is impaired, is based on which photopigments are abnormal. The most common form of CVD is red-green, followed by blue-yellow. Total color blindness or the complete inability to perceive color is quite rare. About 7% of males have congenital color blindness that they inherit from the mother’s X-chromosome. 

Color blindness can also be the result of eye damage, specifically to the optic nerve, or to the area in the brain that processes color. Sometimes an eye disease, such as cataracts, can also impact one’s ability to perceive color. Systemic diseases such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis can also cause acquired CVD. 

Living with CVD

Red-green color blindness does not mean only that you can’t tell the difference between red and green, but rather that any color that has some red or green (such as purple, orange, brown, pink, some shades of gray, etc) in it is affected. 

You many not realize all of the ways you use even subtle distinctions in color in your daily life. Here are some examples of ways that CVD can impact your life and make seemingly everyday tasks challenging:

  • You may not be able to cook meat to the desired temperature based on color. 
  • Most of the colors in a box of crayons will be indistinguishable.
  • You may not be able to distinguish between red and green LED displays on electronic devices that indicate power on and off. 
  • You may not be able to tell between a ripe and unripe fruit or vegetable such as bananas (green vs. yellow) or tomatoes (red vs green). 
  • Chocolate sauce, barbecue sauce and ketchup may all look the same. 
  • Bright green vegetables can look unappealing as they appear greenish, brown or grey. 
  • You may not be able to distinguish color coded pie charts or graphs (which can cause difficulty in school or work). 
  • Selecting an outfit that matches can be difficult. 

Knowing that one is color blind is important for some occupations that require good color discrimination such as the police officers, railway workers, pilots, electricians etc.  These are just a few of the ways that CVD can impact one’s daily life. So is there a cure? Not yet. 

While there is no cure for CVD, there is research being done into gene therapies and in the meantime there are corrective devices available including color vision glasses (such as the Enchroma brand) and color filtering contacts that for some can help to enhance color for some people. If you think you might have CVD, your optometrist can perform some tests to diagnose it or rule it out. If you have CVD, you can speak to your eye doctor about options that might be able to help you experience your world in full color. 

Innovations in Color Blindness

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There have been a lot of videos going viral lately of color blind people “seeing color” for the first time using specialized glasses. The emotional reactions of amazement, shock and joy even lead some to break down into tears. The glasses provide these individuals a way to view the world in vibrant, living color, as everyone else around them is able to.

One in every 12 men and one in every 200 women have some degree of color blindness or color vision deficiency (CVD). The condition is not actual blindness, but an inability or a decreased ability to see color and perceive differences in color. CVD can be a partial or total deficiency, although total color blindness is not as common. There are two main types of color blindness:

  • red-green – which is most often inherited from the mother’s side on the x chromosome, and

  • blue-yellow – which is much more rare and usually occurs from damage to the nerve. CVD can sometimes be acquired through disease, brain injury or certain drugs or chemical reactions

The World of the Color Blind

Contrary to common misconceptions, a person who is color blind does not see only grey.  He still usually sees color to some extent, but often the colors appear dull or washed out and can be easily confused with other colors. People often have trouble identifying or naming certain colors or distinguishing colors, for example, red and green, as well as orange, yellow and brown may appear similar, particular in low light situations. In fact, while people with normal color vision typically see about one million unique shades of color, individuals with color deficiency are only able to perceive 5-10% of that.

People with color deficiency often do not know they are color blind until they are tested. They assume everyone else perceives colors the same way. Often individuals are tested when they are seeking out certain career paths in which it is essential to distinguish colors such as pilots, electricians or police officers among others.  

Innovations in Color Vision

Color blindness can impair certain aspects of daily life and limit certain activities or job options and therefore there are a number of companies out there working on technology to overcome these difficulties. While there is no cure for CVD, there are aids available that can sometimes assist with increased color perception.  

Eyeglasses/Sunglasses

There are a couple of brands of color enhancing glasses available that help some individuals with red-green colorblindness.

Both EnChroma and o2Amp Oxy-Iso Color Correction Glasses work for about 80% of people with red-green colorblindness – which means that not everyone will have the same experience as those that appear in the videos. The lenses enhance color perception by filtering out the light into different spectral components. EnChroma has two versions – indoor, designed for looking at computer screens and outdoor, sunglasses.  

Another solution is a custom designed ColorCorrection System in which contact lenses and glasses are customized for the individual and are available with or without a prescription. These lenses work by changing the wavelength of the colors as they enter the eye to enhance color discrimination and perception.

Apps for CVD

There are a growing number of apps available for smartphones and tablets that serve as color vision aids for those with CVD.  One example is the Colorblind Avenger which is a color identification program will allows the person to use their mobile device as a visual aid. The user takes a photo or selects an existing photo and when he touches an area on the image the app displays the color of the selected area.

Huevue is another app of colorblind tools that help people with CVD identify, match and coordinate colors. There are many other apps available out there to help aid those with CVD and educate others about living with the condition.

There are even video games and software design tools that are now created with colorblind modes to allow use by people with CVD. While none of these tools and aids are able to restore color vision permanently, they do allow those with the condition to live a more vibrant life.

A Childhood Disease Worth Preventing | Nicholas Despotidis | TEDxAsburyPark