As the school year comes to an end, it’s important to make sure that your child’s eye health remains on track during the summer and beyond. Younger generations are more susceptible to myopia, which is caused by the lengthening of the eye from front to back. Consequently, light is focused in front of the retina and not directly on it, causing distant objects to be blurry. The best way to prevent child myopia from developing or worsening is to get them in to see a Reno optometrist who will create a treatment plan designed specifically for their eye needs.
Myopia is prominent in children today because of environmental factors ranging from poor lighting and not enough time outdoors to excessive screen time. Genetics also can play a role based on if both parents or only one is myopic. A fifty percent chance of myopia is possible if both parents have it, a thirty-three percent chance if one parent has it, and a twenty-five percent chance if neither parent is myopic.
Children who spend at least two hours a day outside with sunglasses on are less likely to become myopic. However, researchers found that once a child has become nearsighted, outdoor time does not slow myopia progression.
Myopia can put an individual at risk for complications like retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, chorioretinal degeneration, and more as they age. It is definitely considered an epidemic with a forty percent diagnosis in young patients and climbing.
Another increasingly common issue in children today is eye turns, or strabismus. Known as being “cross-eyed,” it’s the result of excessive focusing. Sometimes it is a genetic issue in children, and other times it can be developed between the ages of one year to four years. We can detect and treat both of these issues with vision therapy and surgical treatments, all while ensuring you or your child have the proper depth perception.
The MiSight 1-day program is FDA approved and helps optometrists across the country change the futures of young patients on the road to myopia. According to CooperVision, the corporation behind the high-quality contact lenses, age-appropriate children wearing MiSight experience an average of 59% reduction in myopia progression during a three-year period. There’s also a 52% reduction in eye lengthening, and more than 90% of children continued to express a strong preference for MiSight 1-day contact lenses over their glasses at the five-year check-up. Their parents expressed the same sentiment as well.
We typically do recommend that for much lower levels of myopia (approximately -1.00 or less) to go with MiSight as opposed to Ortho K for vision correction and control over any possible issues. If you’d like to learn more about these efforts to educate people and prevent worsening side effects of myopia, check out their Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Over half of the country’s eye care practitioners agree that if myopia is left untreated, it will lead to irreversible vision loss. After some time, detrimental diseases like retinal detachment or myopic maculopathy are possible. MiSight lenses accommodate a more active lifestyle, provide and correct distance vision immediately, and are comfortable at any age.
As a pediatric optometrist in Reno NV, Visionary Eye Center has plenty of experience helping children and even their parents navigate the different tests and procedures for vision health. Here is a quick rundown of what some of the most common machines we use to treat myopia while lessening its side effects over time:
One of the machines our practice utilizes is the Zeiss IOLMaster for axial length measurements as it’s the best way to monitor myopia progression. This equipment for ocular biometry tests the measurements and size of the eyeball to calculate the dioptric power of intraocular lenses implanted at the end of the crystalline lens (near the inner lens of the eye that helps to focus better.)
Intraocular lenses are also called IOL for short, and you may have seen them implanted in the eyes of cataract patients too.
This is something that can be easily monitored in children because when the elongation reaches and goes beyond 26 millimeters, the risk of potential vision impairment increases. Even better, this machine is quick – we can measure both of a patient’s eyes in less than a minute!
Measuring axial length is a required measurement when looking at treatment, and it’s the leading practice when compared to detecting myopia progression over-refraction. Unfortunately, many doctors haven’t equipped their offices with the technology at this time– but we have it here at Visionary Eye Center, setting us apart as experts treating myopia at a higher level.
Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, creates specially designed corneal molds to considerably reshape the eye overnight as part of an FDA-approved process for all ages. Similar to how dental braces can reshape your teeth, Ortho-K processes help fix those refractive errors that cause myopia or hyperopia and astigmatism as well.
Keratographs are for fitting contacts using MiSight and dry eye testing with the crystal tear report. It’s an incredibly helpful tool for diagnosis and education about a plan to improve potential issues when it comes to the evaporation of tear film, too. As an advanced corneal topographer with a built-in real-time keratometer, it can examine the meibomian glands and evaluate the lipid layer. Keratographs are effective in measuring the tear film break-up time and the tear meniscus height measurement in a non-invasive, painless way for patients.
Maestro equipment is used for the screening of glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. Taking a look at a patient’s retina, optic nerve, and anterior segment of the eye is a much quicker practice than before. Using Maestro technology allows our Reno optometrist to rapidly and clearly analyze various functions and facets of the eye for the most reliable results.
The team frequently relies on Pentacam technology for custom contact lens design to ensure they are gas permeable. Most contacts are gas permeable because they are made of firm, durable polymer with high oxygen permeability. It helps with orthokeratology for myopia control or sclera lenses, in concurrence with the IOL Master, WAVE contacts, and Scanfit Pro. When used with the IOL Master, the Pentacam eye scanner offers patients safe and precise LASIK procedures and corrects potential intraocular refractive issues.
How does the collaboration work? It simply combines elevation-specific technology with exciting new developments from ocular topographical scanning for ophthalmologists to access in their clinics to custom design software for printing sclera lenses.
All in all, we strive to have the best technology for our patients and the services and scans provide vast treatment options. If you’re struggling with myopia, dry eye, or the after-effects of either of these conditions, Dr. Jason Bolenbaker is here to help.
The MiSight program is just one of the ways we reach our goals based on our philosophy of how an educated patient makes better health decisions for their families. We want our patients to be educated on every treatment option offered to them, and make the best choices for their care.
Our team of optometrists in Reno is ready to help patients of all ages begin their eyesight correction journey and prevent any further issues. Contact Visionary Eye Center today and make an appointment with a medical care team you can trust.
Myopia is the condition that is commonly referred to as nearsightedness, and recent studies have revealed that it is becoming increasingly common in children. Myopia is caused by the lengthening of the eye from front to back, and consequently, light is focused in front of the retina and not directly on it—causing far-away objects to be blurry. Myopia progresses quickly in children if not treated, but there are now multiple myopia control options that can slow down or the progression.
So you may be asking yourself what exactly is myopia control? It is the use of treatments, medicines, eyeglasses, and contacts to reduce the progression and risk of eye disease from myopia.
The most crucial aspect of myopia control is being proactive. This means communicating early and often with your eye doctor. Later complications from myopia can include serious, even life-threatening, complications such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment leading to blindness.
In regards to children—because they are still growing—even if they aren’t experiencing eyesight problems, it’s important to take them in regularly to get their eyes checked. There is a much greater chance of success with the myopia control options if you are proactive and aware.
Experts say that adults and children should be getting at least 2 hours of sunlight per day to reduce the chance of myopia onset. Studies are inconclusive at this time whether this prevention technique helps slow progression in children that already are myopic.
The best thing to do to start is getting with your optometrist to create a personalized treatment plan. The most common myopia control options are atropine eye drops, multifocal contacts, orthokeratology (Ortho-k), and special types of glasses.
Atropine eye drops: As more and more people are being diagnosed with myopia, atropine eye drops have come out as one of the most effective control options. Multiple studies have shown the higher the dose of atropine the better the control. Atropine in higher doses dilates the pupil, but studies have also shown very low dosages (.01-0.05%) can effectively slow myopic progression without bothersome side effects.
The use of a low dosage drop—used usually before bed—has shown to substantially slow the effects of myopia in children compared to those who don’t.
Multifocal contacts: Multifocal contact lenses have also been proven to be effective. The FDA even recently approved the MiSight 1 day for myopia control, the first soft contact lens to carry such designation. This option can be used as a sole treatment or in combination with low dose atropine.
Bifocal Glasses: Lined bifocals have been shown to slow myopia correction by a small but meaningful amount. If your child is hesitant about eye drop and contact lens options this is a great alternative to get them started on myopia control therapy.
Orthokeratology (Ortho-k): Ortho-k has been at the forefront of myopia control options for many years. They are a set of gas permeable contacts worn at night that gradually reshape your eye, eliminating the need for daytime glasses or contacts as well as slowing the progression of myopia.
This control option is becoming increasingly popular because it is a non-surgical alternative to LASIK.
The prevalence of myopia has increased dramatically in the United States over the last 50 years, with almost 40% of the US population being nearsighted today, compared to just 25% in the 1970s. While genetics play a key role in many patients, environmental aspects like increased time indoors and increased levels of near work have also been implicated in this dramatic rise. As myopia can occur even in children with no family history, it is imperative to talk with your child and see your optometrist often.
Myopia studies are increasing, but doctors are unable to offer a foolproof explanation of who will or will not develop myopia or significant myopic progression.
Factors include increased screen time, decreased time outdoors, and long periods of near work like reading. Studies have also shown that the under-correction of myopia in eyeglasses or contacts may contribute to myopia progression.
As technology becomes increasingly integrated into our everyday lives, it is also posing health risks. While the evidence is not clear cut, many doctors agree that there is a correlation between screen time and the increased prevalence of myopia.
A study from the Singapore Eye Research Institute concludes that since the introduction of smartphones and tablets there has been a rise in myopia, but the results are “mixed.”
Visionary Eye Center strives to provide all of our patients with custom eye care and the knowledge to make the best decisions for their care. To learn more about our Reno myopia control services, contact us to get started!