Myopia Management Demands Ophthalmologists’ Attention – Dr. Vance Thompson

Updated May 10, 2022

Treehouse Eyes is proud to have clinical advisors who include some of the world’s leading eye doctors involved in research and clinical care for pediatric myopia. Dr. Vance Thompson, an internationally recognized specialist in Laser Vision Correction and Advanced Cataract Surgery, recently published an article in Healio discussing the need for ophthalmologists to start paying attention to the growing demand for myopia management, as well as building awareness of the epidemic in the eye care community

As a leading international researcher, Dr. Thompson has played a key role in the development of the most advanced technologies and techniques for both laser and implant vision correction. He has served as the medical monitor lead or principal investigator in over 55 FDA-monitored clinical trials studying laser and implant surgery.

“As ophthalmic surgeons, we tend to be justifiably focused on surgery. However, it remains critical to stay abreast of developments in all areas of eye care, such as myopia management, so we can provide our patients with the best care, as well as offer advocacy, support, and education throughout our communities.” – Dr. Vance Thompson, M.D.

To read the full article, click here.

Treehouse Eyes Can Help!

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!

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. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Or Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff, and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

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3 Facts about Myopia and What You Can Do For Your Child

Updated April 28, 2022

Myopia, often referred to as nearsightedness, is an eye disease in which the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to be focused in front of the retina instead of on the retina’s surface. Essentially, your child’s eye is growing too long.

Because the eye elongates and grows with the rest of the body, naturally, it stops elongating once the rest of the body stops growing in early adulthood. This also means there may be times in a child’s development where they experience growth spurts—suddenly requiring a higher prescription due to an increase in their myopia.

The hallmark symptom of myopia is blurred distance vision, but it can also cause headaches, eyestrain, and difficulty seeing at night.

What Causes Myopia?

Several factors lead a child to develop myopia, including genetic, environmental, and even socioeconomic status. 

Excessive ‘Near Work’ 

More than ever before, kids all over the world are focusing their eyes on near objects for the majority of their day, whether reading a book, or using a smartphone, computer, tablet, or another device. 

Numerous studies have shown that doing near work, especially in excess (more than 3 hours per day), contributes to the onset and progression of myopia. 

Some findings suggest that the intensity and duration of near work are also important factors. For example, reading a captivating novel for 45 minutes straight will impact a child’s eyes more than skimming a magazine a few minutes at a time.  

Genetics 

A child is more likely to be myopic if one of their parents is nearsighted or myopic as well. If both parents are myopic, those chances increase even greater. Be sure to get your child’s vision checked if you or your spouse are myopic. 

Not Enough Outdoor Time 

Spending at least 2-3 hours outdoors has been shown to delay or prevent the onset of myopia in children. Make sure to send your children outside to play every day, especially if they’re at risk of developing myopia!

Other Risk Factors Associated with Myopia

  • Height — taller children and adolescents have a higher incidence of myopia than their shorter counterparts likely due to growth spurts.
  • Education level — There is a higher incidence of myopia in people with advanced degrees, as well as higher parental education levels. 
  • Ethnicity — Individuals from Asian/Pacific Islander communities are more at risk of developing myopia.

What Can You Do?

The good news is there are many things you can do you help slow or stop the progression of myopia. 

Get Regular (annual or semi-annual) Eye Exams 

Even if both parents aren’t myopic, it’s still recommended to get an annual eye exam for your child. You can schedule a myopia consultation with a Treehouse Eyes provider near you. Many pediatricians are able to complete basic eye exams – be sure to ask them to check for myopia!

Encourage Breaks from Excessive ‘Near Work’ 

More than ever before, kids are focusing their eyes on near objects for the majority of their day. Encouraging breaks from near work such as reading and electronic devices will help your child’s eyes and give them a chance to get back outside as it warms up.

Spend More Time in Natural Sunlight

As you encourage your child to take a break from near work, one of the best ways to enjoy that newfound time is to get outside! Natural sunlight, even in the classroom, can be protective of myopia. Be sure to wear some sunblock as well!

If Your Child Has Myopia, We Can Help!

What many don’t realize is that myopia can seriously affect a child’s future eye health and vision. Having myopia in childhood significantly increases the risk of developing serious eye diseases and conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachment, cataracts, and macular degeneration in adulthood. 

The good news is that myopia can be effectively managed to reduce the risk of future eye disease. At Treehouse Eyes, we offer the latest and most effective myopia management treatments to limit the progression of myopia so that your child can live his or her best life. 

Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff, and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

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Get the Facts About Myopia: What You Should Know

Updated April 1, 2022

Given the rapid increase in childhood myopia being seen in the U.S., the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their guidance on managing myopia in children. Both organizations now recommend children play outdoors more to delay the onset of myopia and support proactive treatment of myopic children to reduce the progression and eye disease risk associated with higher myopia later in life.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a disease where the eye grows too long, resulting in blurry distance vision and increased risks of serious, sight-threatening eye diseases, such as glaucoma¹, cataract², or retinal eye diseases³. An estimated 1 in 3 children in the U.S. have myopia and the prevalence has grown dramatically over the last 30 years⁴. Research has shown lack of outdoor time for kids and more near work, like reading and time on screens, drive the massive increase we are seeing in myopia⁵ – ⁷.

Myopia Progresses As Your Child Grows

Myopia generally begins in childhood and progresses throughout the school-age years, usually stabilizing into the late teens.

Because the eye grows in tandem with the body, it’s only natural that it stops elongating once the rest of the body stops growing in early adulthood. This also means there may be times in a child’s development where they experience growth spurts and suddenly require a higher prescription. There are ways to effectively treat myopia in order to prevent it from progressing as the child grows. Slowing myopia early on can make all the difference to your child’s eye health as they age.

Natural Sunlight Can Help

Myopia incidence is rising in kids. Less time spent outdoors and more time on near work such as reading and device use has led to higher instances of myopia. This is a global phenomenon that is most acute in developed countries, and current estimates state half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050

In fact, a recent study found that increased exposure to outdoor light reduces myopia development.

There Are Now Treatments for Myopia

There is hope for parents is there are several treatments now available that can slow or even stop the progression of myopia in children. These treatments, usually involving a customized contact lens or prescription eye drops, are proven to slow down the elongation of the eye so a child’s vision does not deteriorate as quickly. Parents should talk to their eye doctor about their child’s risk for myopia and if their child is a good candidate for treatment.

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!

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%

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff, and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

References:

  1. Ophthalmology, 118(10), 1989-1994.systematic …
  2. Ophthalmology, 112(8), 1395-1401
  3. Japanese journal of ophthalmology, 32(3), 310-315.
  4. Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 Dec;127(12):1632-9.
  5. Ophthalmology . 2008 Aug;115(8):1279-85.
  6. Ophthalmology . 2013 May;120(5):1080-5
  7. PLoS One. 2015 Oct 20;10(10):e0140419
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Myopia Control and Prevention: 4 Different Types Of Myopia Control Explained

Updated March 1, 2022

Before discussing potential “cures” and ways to control myopia progression it is important to ensure we define it correctly. A myopic eye is one that grows too long front to back. We know this because we measure it using special equipment that calculates the length of the eye from the front (cornea) to the back (retina). This distance is known as the axial length, and with advanced equipment we can now measure this down to fractions of a millimeter. So myopia is an abnormal elongation of the eye – if a normal eye is shaped like a basketball, then a myopic eye would more resemble a football. 

Once an eye is too long, there are currently no known treatments or cures which can cause the axial length of the eye to reverse. Refractive surgery performed on adults, such as LASIK, does not “shrink” the eye, but rather reshapes the front surface of the cornea to enable clear vision without corrective lenses. While the patient who has successful refractive surgery can now see clearly, they still have an elongated eye, so still have the risks associated with the disease.

The Dangers of Having Myopia

There are different types of myopia as well. If a child develops myopia at a young age, we know that they are at higher risk to develop high myopia and even pathological levels of myopia. High levels of myopia can lead to an increased risk for diseases of the eye such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, and myopic maculopathy. Unfortunately, those diseases can all lead to permanent vision loss. These life-altering diseases are another layer of danger besides the obvious need for optical correction in glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.

When you have pathological or degenerative myopia, other signs can form on your eyes that your eye doctor needs to monitor over time. Lattice degeneration and lacquer cracks of the retina all show signs that the retina is under duress because the eyeball has grown excessively long. Ask your doctor about these signs and other ones such as a tilted optic nerve head disc and choroidal neovascularization that happen exponentially higher in cases of extremely high levels of myopia.

What are the Best Ways to Treat Myopia?

The best treatment is to first prevent myopia if possible. More research is being conducted in this area, but as a general rule, eye doctors are encouraging at least two hours of outdoor activity per day. More outdoor activities under natural sunlight have been associated with a lower risk of developing myopia in the first place. If your children have to do intense studying or reading, it is recommended to do as much reading as possible when the sun has set versus reading during the day. 

Regular checkups with your eye doctor to diagnose myopia as early as possible are also critical. By catching myopia at an early age, there can be many different types of interventions to prevent myopia from worsening. Myopia typically begins in school-aged children and can worsen until the leveling out usually in your mid-twenties.

As far as the visual component is concerned, usually, a pair of glasses or contact lenses are sufficient. Once the eyes have stopped growing, refractive surgery procedures can be employed as well. But keep in mind that simply correcting your vision will not stop your eyes from getting worse. The root cause of myopia, an eyeball that continues to grow excessively long during our youth, needs to be addressed.

Special pharmaceutical agents such as atropine have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia considerably. Special contacts such as orthokeratology lenses worn at night are effective as well. Even soft contact lenses and glasses designed with special optics different from the traditional pair of glasses can be effective to slow down the rate of myopic progression.

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 ‘ortho-k’ 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, 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. **These glasses are not currently available in the U.S. or FDA Approved.**

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!

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%

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff, and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

SHARE THIS Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn

What Does Myopia Mean?

Updated February 1, 2022

You’ve probably heard the term myopia before. But what exactly does myopia mean? Is it a disease? How should I cure or treat myopia? If I wear glasses, will it make my myopia even worse? This article covers everything you need to know about what it means to have myopia.

The Classic Definition of Myopia

Classically defined myopia is a vision condition where you will see objects up close much more clearly than objects you see far away. Another word to describe myopia is nearsightedness and these words are used interchangeably at times. Myopia happens when the eyeball is too long or if the front part of the eye called the cornea is too steep. The majority of the time, however, myopia occurs because the eyeball size, or the axial length, is too large. When this happens, a clear image doesn’t land far enough back onto the back of the eye called the retina.

Recent research shows that myopia affects more than 42% of the United States population. This number has been increasing every year at epidemic levels worldwide as we expect half of the world to have myopia by 2050. While many scientists initially believed that genetics were the primary cause for developing myopia, we now know that the environment in which we grow up can tremendously impact the level of myopia we have as adults. Increased digital device usage, lack of outdoor activity, and too much near work have been associated with developing high levels of myopia.

The Dangers of Having Myopia

There are different types of myopia as well. If a child develops myopia at a young age, we know that they are at higher risk to develop high myopia and even pathological levels of myopia. High levels of myopia can lead to an increased risk for diseases of the eye such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, and myopic maculopathy. Unfortunately, those diseases can all lead to permanent vision loss. These life-altering diseases are another layer of danger besides the obvious need for optical correction in glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.

When you have pathological or degenerative myopia, other signs can form on your eyes that your eye doctor needs to monitor over time. Lattice degeneration and lacquer cracks of the retina all show signs that the retina is under duress because the eyeball has grown excessively long. Ask your doctor about these signs and other ones such as a tilted optic nerve head disc and choroidal neovascularization that happen exponentially higher in cases of extremely high levels of myopia.

What are the Best Ways to Treat Myopia?

The best treatment is to first prevent myopia if possible. More research is being conducted in this area, but as a general rule, eye doctors are encouraging at least two hours of outdoor activity per day. More outdoor activities under natural sunlight have been associated with a lower risk of developing myopia in the first place. If your children have to do intense studying or reading, it is recommended to do as much reading as possible when the sun has set versus reading during the day. 

Regular checkups with your eye doctor to diagnose myopia as early as possible is also critical. By catching myopia at an early age, there can be many different types of interventions to prevent myopia from worsening. Myopia typically begins in school-aged children and can worsen until the leveling out usually in your mid-twenties.

As far as the visual component is concerned, usually, a pair of glasses or contact lenses are sufficient. Once the eyes have stopped growing, refractive surgery procedures can be employed as well. But keep in mind that simply correcting your vision will not stop your eyes from getting worse. The root cause of myopia, an eyeball that continues to grow excessively long during our youth, needs to be addressed.

Special pharmaceutical agents such as atropine have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia considerably. Special contacts such as orthokeratology lenses worn at night are effective as well. Even soft contact lenses and glasses designed with special optics different from the traditional pair of glasses can be effective to slow down the rate of myopic progression.

Myopia Roundup

Regardless of your age or background, it is important to get educated about myopia because it is a widespread disease of the eye. Seeing your eye doctor or chart a proper course of action to prevent or treat myopia is incumbent on every parent in this new digital age. It is not just the digital age as well, results coming from studies of children after the COVID year of 2020 give strong evidence that the environment that COVID induced with social distancing may be causing the largest spike in myopia amongst children we’ve ever seen. Myopia is now viewed as a disease worth treating

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!

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%

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff, and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

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The Four Best Ways to Treat and Manage Myopia

Updated January 1, 2022

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. Our myopia treatments are custom-tailored to your child’s needs to ensure the best and most efficient treatment. 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 along with cleaning and disinfecting the lenses for safe use. However, studies show that proper hygiene 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. Slowing down the speed at which the axial length increases 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!

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%

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff, and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

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Can Myopia Be Prevented?

Updated December 1, 2021

Parents who are nearsighted often wonder what can be done to prevent their children from developing the same or similar conditions. 

While scientists haven’t yet found a way to guarantee that your child won’t develop myopia (often referred to as nearsightedness), there are things you can do to delay its onset and even prevent its progression.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a progressive eye disease that causes the eye to grow longer than normal, altering its ability to correctly focus light onto the retina. This results in blurred distance vision that can make it difficult for children to learn efficiently in the classroom or take part in extracurricular activities. 

Myopia is often corrected with prescription glasses or contact lenses, but these methods simply correct the child’s vision while allowing the condition to worsen.

Why is it Important to Delay or Slow Myopia Progression?

The worse your child’s myopia gets, the higher their chance of developing sight-threatening diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment later in life. That’s why it’s important to try and keep your child’s lens prescription low and controlled using the methods listed below. If your child doesn’t yet have myopia, following the same protocol will help prevent myopia onset for as long as possible.

Is it Possible To Prevent Myopia or Myopia Progression?

While many children inherit myopia from their parents, there are also several environmental factors that can lead to the onset and progression of nearsightedness. By making some lifestyle changes, it may be possible to delay the onset of myopia and prevent its progression.

Boost Daily Outdoor Time 

Research shows that children of myopic parents who spend a lot of time outdoors have lower rates of myopia than children who stay mostly indoors. A recent study published in Review of Optometry (2021) concluded that children should spend at least 2-3 hours per day engaged in outdoor activities to delay the onset of myopia, especially if a child has one myopic parent. 

Another study published in Ophthalmic Research (2020) confirms the protective effect of “sun time” against myopia onset. When observing the myopia rates of 6-12 year olds, there were fewer new myopia cases in the group of children who spent between 11-15 hours outdoors per week, compared with children who didn’t. The researchers also found that the myopia progression rate was slower in the group of children who spent more time in the daylight. 

If you do add some extra outdoor time to your child’s daily routine, be sure to provide them with UV blocking sunglasses, sunscreen, a water bottle and other sun-safe gear. 

Limit Screen Time 

Screen time is thought to have a greater impact on a child’s vision than other near work like reading a book, for a few reasons. 

Children are exposed to digital screens at a younger age than other forms of near work, and they tend to use screens for longer intervals of time. Additionally, the working distance between a child’s eyes and a digital screen tends to be shorter than the distance between their eyes and a book or other object, to compensate for the small print size and images. 

An article published in Review of Myopia Management (2021) examines the results of several scientific studies that analyze the relationship between screen time and myopia. Two of these studies found that the risk of developing myopia was 8 times greater for children aged 5-15 who used a smartphone or video game for more than 2 hours a day, compared to children who have 0-2 hours of daily screen time. 

And while we don’t expect parents to ban all digital devices from their homes, it is advisable to set daily limits on digital device usage. Try to cap your child’s daily screen time at 2 hours. Children under the age of 2 should have as little screen time as possible. 

Encourage Frequent Breaks From Near Work

Any sort of near work, like reading and writing, puts a strain on your child’s eyes and can contribute to myopia onset and progression. One way to prevent myopia development in your child is to teach them to take breaks from visually demanding activities.

A 2008 study published in the journal of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science found that the intensity of near work plays an important role in myopia development in schoolchildren. According to the study, the duration of uninterrupted near work seems to be more significant than the overall time spent engaged in close-distance activities. 

Regular Myopia Eye Exams 

Whether or not your young child or teen has myopia, yearly eye exams with your optometrist are crucial to keeping their vision healthy and clear. It’s important to note that vision screenings in school are not enough to detect most visual problems, and certainly not for preventing myopia. 

Tracking your child’s eyesight yearly will help determine the best treatment for preventing myopia onset and slowing or halting its progression.

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!

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%

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff, and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

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

Updated November 1, 2021

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 a drastically higher risk of developing eye disease in the future.

How Can it 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 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. 

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff, and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

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5 Spooky Things You Didn’t Know About Myopia

Updated October 1, 2021

Childhood Myopia (most often referred to as myopia or nearsightedness) affects about one in every three children in the United States and has become increasingly prevalent over the last 30 years.

Myopia is an eye disease that occurs when the eye grows too long—like the shape of a football.  This causes distant objects to appear blurry and increases the risk of serious, sight-threatening eye diseases in adulthood.

As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. By learning these 5 important facts, you may feel encouraged to do more for your child’s eye health and long-term vision—such as ensuring that they get their eyes checked on a regular basis and turning to myopia management to prevent the rapid progression of this disease.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Increased Myopia Prevalence In Children

The significant reduction in outdoor time during the pandemic combined with the surge in screen time has increased the incidence of myopia cases. According to a systematic review and meta-analysis published in Ophthalmic Research (2020), outdoor time helps slow down the change of axial length and reduce the risk of myopia.

Similar results were found in a previous study in Ophthalmology (2013) that investigated the association between myopia in children and adolescents, and the amount of time spent outdoors. The study analyzed over 10,000 children and adolescents aged 20 and under and concluded a substantial correlation between increased time spent outside and the prevalence of myopia. Each additional hour spent outside per week was linked to a 2% reduction in the risk of myopia.

Myopia Increases the Risk of Eye Disease

Those with high myopia and rapidly progressing myopia in childhood are more prone to developing ocular comorbidities or serious sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, such as:

  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration
  • Myopic Maculopathy
  • Retinal detachment

Myopia is a Progressive Eye Disease

Myopia usually starts in childhood and progresses throughout a child’s school years, eventually stabilizing around ages 18-22.

Since the eye grows in sync with the rest of the body, it’s only natural that it ceases elongating in early adulthood when the rest of the body stops growing. This also means that a child’s growth spurts often coincide with a higher prescription. 

Fortunately, myopia can be efficiently treated in order to prevent it from worsening as the child grows. Slowing myopia early in life can make a significant difference in your child’s eye health in their present and future.

Myopia Is An Epidemic 

Myopia is a global epidemic that continues to worsen, affecting close to 2 billion individuals worldwide.

If current trends hold, roughly half of the world’s population will be myopic by the year 2050, partly due to genetics and increasingly as a result of our society’s preference for staying indoors and spending more time on digital screens.

Myopia Can Be Treated

Myopia cannot be cured; however, its progression can be slowed or even halted.

The goal of myopia treatment, also known as myopia management or myopia control, is to reduce or halt the eye’s rapid growth. Effective myopia treatment entails more than simply correcting a child’s blurry vision with glasses; it’s meant to prevent a child’s vision from deteriorating and, thus lowering their risk of developing severe myopia-related eye diseases later in life.

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

 

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Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) Launches “Little Kid License” Myopia Awareness Campaign

Updated September 1, 2021

The Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) recently launched its “Little Kid License” campaign to continue to raise awareness of childhood myopia and the new treatment options available. GMAC, of which Treehouse Eyes is a member, invited junior racers to the go-kart track for an unexpected eye exam before heading out for some fun!

A recent survey of parents by the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition found ​​”… half of the parents reported their children spent more than four hours using electronic devices each day during the pandemic, compared to 18% of parents reporting the same behavior prior to the pandemic.”

Most children don’t notice anything is wrong with their vision until it starts to really impact their activities. Eye screenings done by a pediatrician are important, but they don’t always pick up on myopia, especially at lower levels. This is why GMAC decided it was more important than ever to raise awareness of myopia and the treatments available. Watch the “Little Kid License” video now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iii9zse6jFw

Your Child May Not Know Something’s Wrong

In the same survey mentioned above, GMAC discovered that “… more than 70% of parents believe their pediatrician will flag any issues related to their children’s eyesight and, almost the same amount trust that their child would say something if they had vision issues.” Unfortunately, this is often not the case.

But, why is this such an important problem to face? Myopia develops rapidly as children grow. Remember, your child’s eye grows like any other part of their body as they age. Since children are prone to growth spurts, naturally their eyes are as well. Myopia occurs when a child’s eyes grow too fast, leading to blurry distance vision and greater risk for eye diseases later in life.

We know the start of the school year is insanely busy with back-to-school activities along with the everyday obligations of work and life, but it’s now more important than ever to find a provider that understands how to diagnose and treat your child’s myopia.

Find Out What Others Are Saying

Check out real stories from satisfied parents and children sharing their experiences with our professional doctors, staff, and myopia treatment protocols at Treehouse Eyes.

Prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation today. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

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