As a parent myself, I know first-hand that parents want the best for the children. And because both my wife and I grew increasingly near-sighted during our schooling, we were worried about our children facing the same difficulties. That's why I've made tackling the recent Myopia Epidemic in young children a primary focus in my practice and on-going clinical education.
If you are concerned about your child's eye sight, or if the school vision screening indicated a possible issue, please contact us today. We would be honored to team up with you to help give your child a lifetime of maximum performing vision.
For tips on things you can do now to help your child, see our helpful tips, below.
Myopia, also called near-sightedness, occurs when patients can see well up close, but have blurred distance vision.
Myopia is caused by the eye itself growing longer over time, stretching the retina and neurological tissue, which results in progressive vision loss and prescription changes.
Myopic patients are at a significantly higher risk of retinal detachments, glaucoma, and a host of other ocular diseases later in life, in addition to overall worsening vision.
Myopia is caused by a combination of genetics and lifestyle. If one or both parents are nearsighted, the risk that a child will also be nearsighted increases to 33% and 50%, respectively. Yet even if neither parent is nearsighted, there is still a 33% risk of your child developing myopia. Studies have shown that decreased time spent outdoors, prolonged time on digital devices, and poor lighting are also factors which increase the chance of myopia progression. Look closely at how much screen time your child has (especially with on-line coursework), and you will see why their generation suffers from
such high levels of myopia.
High myopia is becoming much more common: In fact, the prevalence of myopia has doubled during the past 20 years! With experts predicting that more than 50% of the world’s population will be nearsighted by 2050, the term “epidemic” is not mere hype. Post-pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in myopia progression in young children. In the United States, more than 40% of people are nearsighted, and that percentage is increasing rapidly among school-age children.
Myopia is commonly diagnosed during childhood. The concern is that myopia often worsens over time due to abnormal eye growth. This uncontrolled growth may lead to severe sight-threatening conditions later in life, which include:
Studies also show that myopia affects a child’s psychological well-being, self-esteem, confidence, athletic ability, academic ability, social interactions, and daily functioning. These myopic children tend to report comparatively lower self-perception regarding their appearance, performance, and social life. Because progressive myopia causes so many negative effects, a great deal of research is directed toward how to remedy this epidemic. The good news is you can find the best of the latest treatments at Northside Vision, so your child can enjoy the benefits of better vision and healthier eyes.
If you choose to pursue myopia management for your child, it is important to start early during childhood to slow down myopia progression. While traditional prescription glasses and contacts lenses will help your child see clearly, a myopia management program gives you the power to minimize myopia progression and thereby decrease the risk of sight-threatening conditions in the future.
For decades, parents have invested in orthodontics to help their children enjoy a lifetime of proper dental alignment. Wouldn’t it be nice if parents could find a similar remedy for their children’s worsening nearsightedness? Well, we’re excited to report that Northside Vision now offers you the opportunity to finally have some control over how nearsighted your child will become. Gone are the days when the only help we could offer is new glasses or contact lenses each year… then wait to see how much your child’s nearsightedness will advance. Now Northside Vision lets you and your child enjoy the latest options for controlling the progression of myopia (nearsightedness).
Northside Vision is a leading Myopia Management practice in the Pacific Northwest and offers several Myopia Management Programs to help slow your child’s myopia progression. At your child’s scheduled Myopia Management consultation, we will work with you to determine which program is likely to be the most effective based on your child’s prescription, risk factors, and lifestyle. Until recently there was little that could be done to control myopic progression, but now we finally have an FDA approved contact lens treatment designed specifically to slow down this growth in children. Please be aware that some of our myopia management options may involve off-label use. Here are some of our current offerings:
Dual focus contact lenses, such as the MiSight® 1 Day contact lenses are daily disposable soft lenses your child wears during the day. The MiSight® disposable lenses are FDA-approved to slow myopia progression during the growing years using ActivControl™ Technology, while simultaneously correcting your child’s vision. Learn more about MiSight lenses here.
CRT or Orthokeratology uses unique rigid gas permeable contact lenses, which are designed to correct myopia by gently reshaping your child’s cornea while he/she sleeps. The lenses are removed in the morning, and your child may then be able to go throughout the day without the need for any visual correction.
Atropine sulfate eye drop therapy involves using low-concentration pupil dilation drops, which are instilled into your child’s eyes once every evening. When these drops are used in conjunction with glasses or contacts, they can reduce myopia progression.
Interested in ways to help your child slow down their myopia progression? Dr Fairborn’s study of the latest research indicates there are a few things you can do. Work with your child to apply these recommendations:
Go Outside and Play: Spend at least two hours a day outdoors whenever possible.
Limit Screen Time: Time spent on digital devices should be kept to less than 2 hours a day.
Use the 20-20-20 Rule: Take Regular Breaks. For every 20 minutes of device use, look 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
Regular Eye Exams: Maintain an annual eye exam schedule (or more frequently, as recommended).