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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 Tallahassee Eye Center today!

Our practice serves patients from Tallahassee, Florida and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Whaley

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.

 

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 850-374-6438

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. Susan Whaley today.

Our practice serves patients from Tallahassee, Florida and surrounding communities.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Whaley

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.

    Myopia Management Appointment
    Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 850-374-6438

    Are Myopic Parents More Likely to Have Myopic Children?

    Myopic child wearing glassesIf 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.

    At ​​Tallahassee Eye Center , 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. Susan Whaley at Tallahassee Eye Center in Tallahassee. 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 Tallahassee, Florida and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Whaley

    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.

    Myopia Management Appointment
    Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 850-374-6438

    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. Susan Whaley at Tallahassee Eye Center can help reduce or slow down myopia progression so they can live their best life.

    Our practice serves patients from Tallahassee, Florida and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Whaley

    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.
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