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Myopia Management

Can We Stop Myopia From Progressing?

boy and a girl with myopiaIf you think more powerful prescription glasses are the right solution to keep your child’s myopia from getting worse, think again. Talk to us about myopia management, which can slow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) by up to 78%.

How Does Myopia Worsen?

In nearsighted people, the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye, is more curved than in non-myopes. This elongated eyeball shape refracts incoming light in front of the retina rather than directly on it. The result? Blurred vision.

In other words, the longer the eyeball, the more severe the myopia.

The following can contribute to myopia progression:

  • Eye growth – as children grow, so do the eyeballs. And in certain cases, they become elongated (myopia).
  • Hereditary factors – if one or both parents have myopia, the condition is likely to progress at a rapid pace.
  • Not enough outdoor time –1 to 2 hours a day outdoors is recommended to prevent myopia progression.
  • Excessive screen time – myopia development and progression have been linked to extended screen time.

What Is Myopia Management?

Myopia management is a custom-designed treatment plan that identifies slows or stops myopia progression. Our optometrists provide diagnostic eye exams and create a myopia management program to keep your child’s nearsightedness in check.

Why Is Myopia Management Important?

Myopia doesn’t just affect your child’s ability to see distant objects; it can increase your child’s risk of developing these serious eye problems in adulthood:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Myopia macular degeneration
  • Retinal detachment

The sooner your child begins myopia management, the better the chances of slowing myopia’s progression and reducing the risk of eye diseases later in life.

Myopia Management Can Preserve Your Child’s Vision

If you’re eager to preserve your child’s eyesight now and in the future, myopia management can help. Book an appointment at Ortho-K & Myopia Management Center At Diamond Vision today!

Our practice serves patients from Long Island, Five Towns, Hempstead, and Nassua County, New York and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shane Galan

Q: Does screen time affect myopia?

  • A: Yes. In a study published in The Lancet Digital Health (October 2021), an international team of researchers found that at least 3 hours of screen time per day can increase the risk of developing myopia by 30%. Other research suggests that reducing your child’s screen time and encouraging more outdoor activities can prevent myopia and keep it from progressing.

Q: When should one start myopia management?

A: As soon as possible! Research shows that the earlier a child becomes myopic, the faster their myopia will progress. Act quickly if you want to have the greatest impact on slowing myopia progression.

 

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How Myopia (Nearsightedness) Can Affect Your Child’s Life

child in school unable to work due to myopiaMyopia (also known as nearsightedness) is nothing short of a global epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, 27% of the world’s population has myopia, and that number is expected to rise to 50% by 2050.

Myopia almost always begins in childhood and can progress rapidly until the late teens or early twenties. Children with moderate or severe myopia are at a much greater risk of developing eye conditions that can cause vision loss and even blindness.

Fortunately, there are proven ways to slow and sometimes halt myopia’s progression during childhood, to safeguard your child’s vision for a lifetime.

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia is often inherited, but other risk factors include spending too many hours indoors engaged in ‘near work’ like reading and staring at electronic screens.

Myopia occurs when the eyeball grows longer, which causes light rays to refract incorrectly, focusing images in front of your retina instead of on your retina. This results in blurry vision.

How Myopia Can Impact Your Child

Nearsightedness can affect your child in many ways:

Difficulties at School and While Playing Sports

Sometimes parents don’t realize their child is experiencing myopia-related blurry vision until they notice a recurrence of poor grades on their report cards or tests.

Eyestrain

Trying to focus on faraway objects to see them with more clarity when they appear blurry often results in eyestrain. Yet many parents and teachers don’t realize that a child’s headaches, tired, burning, itchy eyes, blurry vision, neck and shoulder pain may be caused by myopia.

Poor Sports Performance

When you try to catch a ball, aim for a target or locate a goal post, you need to see clearly at a distance. Nearsightedness can interfere with a child’s ability to succeed on the sports field.

How Does Myopia Affect Quality of Life?

Myopia isn’t just about difficulty seeing faraway objects. Rapidly progressing myopia increases a child’s risk of developing serious eye conditions in the future. They include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal detachment
  • Cataracts
  • Myopic maculopathy

What is Myopia Management?

Myopia management is the area of optometry devoted to slowing down and even halting the rapid progression of myopia in childhood. Myopia can be managed thanks to a customized treatment program provided by an eye doctor near you. The sooner a child’s myopia is managed, the lower the risk of myopia-related complications in adulthood.

To find out how myopia management can transform your child’s vision, confidence and success in life, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shane Galan today.

Our practice serves patients from Long Island, Five Towns, Hempstead, and Nassua County, New York and surrounding communities.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shane Galan

Q: Can Myopia Be Cured?

  • A: While there’s no cure for myopia, myopia management has been scientifically proven to slow and at times halt myopia’s progression. LASIK and other laser surgeries aren’t an option until a child with myopia reaches adulthood and their eyes have stopped growing (meaning, their eye prescription has stopped changing).

Q: What is High Myopia?

  • A: High myopia is a more severe form of regular myopia, usually above -3.00 dioptres. Children who develop high myopia often have rapidly progressing myopia that begins in early childhood and are at a higher risk of developing serious sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Myopia management can help slow or halt the rapid progression of myopia, offering the child a higher quality of life in the long term.

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    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 Dr. Shane Galan at Ortho-K & Myopia Management Center At Diamond Vision in Long Island. 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 Long Island, Five Towns, Hempstead, and Nassua County, New York and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shane Galan

    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.

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    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. Dr. Shane Galan at Ortho-K & Myopia Management Center At Diamond Vision can help reduce or slow down myopia progression so they can live their best life.

    Our practice serves patients from Long Island, Five Towns, Hempstead, and Nassua County, New York and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shane Galan

    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

    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 Ortho-K & Myopia Management Center At Diamond Vision, 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 Dr. Shane Galan

    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 Long Island, Five Towns, Hempstead, and Nassua County, New York and surrounding communities.

    References:

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    The Link Between Myopia Progression and COVID Confinement

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

    How The Pandemic Affected Children’s Vision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What Can Parents Learn From All Of This?

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

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

    Our practice offers myopia management to patients from Long Island, Five Towns, Hempstead, and Nassua County, New York and surrounding communities.

     

    References:

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

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

     

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    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 Ortho-K & Myopia Management Center At Diamond Vision in Long Island today!

    Ortho-K & Myopia Management Center At Diamond Vision offers myopia management to patients from Long Island, Five Towns, Hempstead, and Nassua County, New York and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shane Galan

    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.

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    Childhood Myopia: What It Is and What You Can Do To Help Your Child

    Dozens of parents bring their children into our practices every day for eye exams and other services, and many ask us questions about myopia. While instances and awareness of myopia are on the rise, to help spread myopia awareness we’ve written out the basics on childhood myopia, why it matters, and what you as a parent can do to help preserve your child’s eye health in the long run.

    What is Myopia?

    Myopia (often referred to as nearsightedness) is the most common cause of impaired vision in people under age 40, and its prevalence in children is growing at an alarming rate.

    Myopia typically starts in childhood and progresses (the eye keeps getting bigger), or gets worse, until early adulthood. During this time the symptom of myopia, blurry distance vision, gets worse, meaning the patient needs stronger glasses to continue to see clearly. If blurry distance vision is the symptom of myopia, what exactly is myopia? Stated again, myopia is an eye that is growing too long. How do we know this?

    We measure it using special non-invasive technology to calculate the length of the eye from the front (cornea) to the back (retina). This distance is known as the axial length and is measured down to fractions of a millimeter with advanced equipment. So, myopia is an abnormal elongation of the eye.

    Risk Factors for Myopia

    Myopia risk factors include genetics (having one or both parents myopic), an insufficient amount of time spent outdoors, and excessive near work (time spent reading, school work, & digital screens).

    Childhood myopia is progressive, which is why your child may need a new prescription every year or two. Unless treated, a child’s myopia will continue to worsen until early adulthood. What some people don’t realize is that myopia is far more than simply blurred vision — it’s associated with drastically higher risk of developing eye disease in the future.

    How Can Myopia Impact a Child’s Health?

    Childhood myopia places a child at a greater risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life, as compared to non-myopic children, and the odds only increase as myopia continues to progress.

    In fact, a child with myopia is 2 to 40 times more likely to develop myopic maculopathy (also known as myopic macular degeneration, a serious vision-threatening complication) depending on their degree of nearsightedness.

    Retinal detachment is another serious eye condition that can cause permanent blindness. A myopic child is 3 to 21 times more likely to develop this emergency eye condition in adulthood.

    Moreover, children with myopia have a threefold risk of developing glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness worldwide, in the long run.

    And although cataracts are considered a normal part of aging, having myopia advances the age at which they develop. According to a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, individuals with high myopia are more likely to need cataract surgery at an earlier age than those with no myopia.

    Furthermore, aside from an increased risk of adult eye disease, untreated myopia can prevent a child from succeeding academically and socially.

    A 2019 study published in the Community Eye Health Journal underscores the importance of excellent visual acuity in school-aged children. It found that offering vision correction to students with myopia has more of an educational impact than providing them with vitamins or medications to maintain or improve their physical health.

    Myopia has equally serious ramifications outside the classroom. A study published in BMC Ophthalmology (2016) found that adolescents with myopia are more likely to have anxiety than their peers with normal vision.

    Furthermore, adverse visual symptoms impact a child’s self-esteem, according to a study published in the Journal of Optometry and Vision Science.

    The good news is that certain lifestyle choices, especially when coupled with myopia management treatment, can have a lasting positive effect on your child’s eye health.

    What Can Parents Do To Help Slow Myopia Progression?

    We know that parents want what’s best for their children. So here are a few recommendations that will help keep your child’s eyes healthy — whether or not myopia has set in.

    Take your kids outside to play. Several studies have indicated that children who spend over 2 hours outdoors during the day have lower levels of myopia and slower myopia progression.

    A recent study published in BMC Ophthalmology and cited in Review of Optometry (2021) found that for non-myopic children with myopic parents, “a high level of outdoor exposure had a remarkable influence on the risk of new myopia for children even with one myopic parent.”

    Although it’s not always easy, try to limit the amount of continuous near work your child does. Whether it’s reading or scrolling through a phone, remind your child to take breaks.

    However, the most important thing you can do to protect your child’s long-term eye health is manage their myopia with treatment.

    We Can Help Preserve Your Child’s Eye Health

    At Treehouse Eyes, our goal is to provide expert care to each and every child with kindness and a smile.

    Our state-of-the-art equipment and diagnostic technology enable us to thoroughly assess your child’s visual condition and needs. We offer the latest treatments to manage your child’s myopia and effectively slow down how quickly myopia progresses.

    Help your child succeed in school and in activities, and offer them a better overall quality of life with myopia management.

    Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, call
    516-730-9559 or to see a list of all providers near you visit Treehouse Eyes today.

    Can Myopia be Cured?

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

    What is Myopia?

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

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

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

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

    Treatments to Slow and Prevent Myopia Progression

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

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

    Other ways to slow or prevent myopia

    Outdoor activity and natural lighting

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

    Limited time on devices

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

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

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

    Ortho-K & Myopia Management Center At Diamond Vision serves patients from Long Island, Five Towns, Hempstead, and Nassua County, New York and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Shane Galan

    Q: What is progressive myopia?

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

    Q: Can myopia lead to blindness?

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

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