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Myopia Management

How You Can Help Your Child Excel in School This Year

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The start of a new school year can be overwhelming, even for the most confident children. That’s why parents are doing whatever they can to help their children successfully transition to the next academic grade. Below, we share our top tips for parents, so they can ensure that their child’s vision is a tool for success in school.

1. Balance Indoor and Outdoor Time

Outdoor play offers numerous benefits, but many children aren’t getting enough of it. Most children spend much of their time indoors, whether in a classroom, at home, or in after-school activities.

Kids who regularly play outdoors have improved motor skills, feel more independent, and practice important social skills.

But the main benefit of “outdoor time” that eye doctors like to focus on is the lower incidence of myopia (where distant objects appear blurry). Numerous studies published in journals like Ophthalmic Research and Review Of Optometry have shown that children who spend 1.5-2.5 hours per day outdoors during the daytime have a reduced risk of becoming myopic or, if they have myopia, it progresses at a slower pace.

Sending your kids outside to play every day will help their vision, overall health, and contribute to academic success.

2. Encourage Your Child To Take Frequent Breaks

Once the new school year begins, students are often busy with daily homework, reading assignments, and visually demanding recreational activities like video games.

While all of these activities are important, they shouldn’t be done without periodic breathers.

Eye strain is a real concern for the many students who spend hours in front of a book or screen and can put a damper on their grades.

Minimally, have your child follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes they should focus for 20 seconds on an object that’s at least 20 feet away.

Even better, encourage slightly longer breaks for a snack in the sun, or a quick walk around the block to allow their eyes to focus on more distant objects.

3. Have Their Eyes Examined by an Optometrist

Whether or not your child wears glasses, yearly eye exams will help ensure healthy visual development.

It’s no surprise that children who don’t see well perform at a lower level than their peers. In some cases, young children aren’t even aware that their vision has changed, or they may not be able to verbally express it.

At our practice, our eye exams go far beyond the standard vision screenings offered in school. We thoroughly check your child’s eye health and several visual skills, including visual acuity, focusing, tracking and teaming.

If your child has myopia we will discuss if they are a candidate for myopia management. Myopia management treatments can slow or stop myopia in children and teens and doing so will minimize their risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life.

4. Filter Out Blue Light

Now, more than ever, children’s eyes are focusing on screens of all shapes and sizes. While science hasn’t yet confirmed the damaging effects of blue light on a child’s eyes, one thing is certain: blue light exposure (especially in the evening) can lead to reduced sleep quality.

Good-quality sleep is crucial for cognitive and physical development, which is why many parents purchase blue light glasses or utilize blue light filters such as screens and software on devices. Blue light also contributes to digital eye strain, leading to symptoms like eye pain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes. If your child uses a tablet, smartphone, or computer before bedtime, speak with us about whether blue light glasses or lens coatings can help.

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, visit https://www.4patientcare.ws/v5dn/ws/wsv3p.aspx?CoverKey=4304&V4Scenario=1&Source=website&ReferredBy=website or see a list of all providers at Treehouse Eyes today.

Pediatricians and Ophthalmologists agree; It’s Best to Proactively Treat Your Myopic Children

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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 causes blurry distance vision, which can be compensated for with glasses or contact lenses to provide a child with clear vision. However, myopia is caused by an eye that is growing too long and, once started, myopia usually gets worse in children as the eye continues to grow abnormally fast. Higher myopia increases the lifetime risk of serious eye diseases such as retinal diseases and glaucoma.

How Bad is the Myopia epidemic?

In late 2019, the American Academy of Ophthalmology created a Task Force on Myopia, recognizing the importance of this growing disease in children and the potential lifelong impact myopia has on individuals and society. This task force identified priorities of educating other physicians, working with government agencies and health agencies, and educating parents and schools about this issue so that more proactive steps can be taken to help children.

Treehouse Eyes Co-founder, Matt Oerding, was recently interviewed about the prevalence of myopia alongside Dr. William Reynolds of the American Optometric Association and Dr. Emily McCourt, the chief of ophthalmology at Children’s Hospital Colorado.”Over the last two decades, there’s been an increase in myopia or nearsightedness worldwide, not just in the United States. And that corresponds with an increase in near devices, especially digital devices,” Reynolds said. Watch the full interview by clicking here.

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.

Can Myopia be Stopped?

There is hope for parents, however, as several treatments are 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.

You can prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation with us today. Visit Lifetime Eyecare Associates and help your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

3 Reasons Why Kids With Myopia Need to Spend More Time Outdoors

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Most parents are aware of the many benefits associated with children taking part in outdoor activities. The obvious benefits of fresh air and physical exercise aren’t the only perks for kids who play outdoors. Recent research shows that increased “sun time” can actually slow down the progression of myopia (often referred to as nearsightedness), or even postpone its onset!

But First, What Is Myopia and Why Is It Harmful?

Myopia is an eye disease that causes the eye to elongate more than it should, resulting in blurry distance vision. It’s caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, two of which are not spending enough time outdoors and doing excessive near work like device use.

Many parents aren’t aware that childhood myopia significantly increases the risk of developing serious eye diseases and conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration later in life. It’s been shown that higher myopia is associated with a greater risk of eye disease.

That’s why it’s important to stop myopia in its tracks with myopia management.

3 Reasons Why Outdoor Play Benefits Your Child’s Eyes

Whether your child is currently nearsighted or not, spending time outdoors in the sunshine can help delay the onset of myopia or slow its progression.

The Brightness of the Sun

The sun’s visible light is significantly brighter than the lighting in almost any indoor setting, which may play a major role in controlling myopia.

Studies have shown that when sunlight comes in contact with the retina, it causes the release of dopamine into the eye. This may prevent the eye from elongating. Preventing the eye from growing too long is the main goal of myopia management.

What is certain: children who spend at least 2-3 hours playing outdoors in the sunshine progress less rapidly than children who spend almost all their time indoors.

Long-Distance Focusing

It is well established that prolonged near activities like reading and screen time contribute to myopia onset and progression. It’s no surprise that studies now show COVID-19 confinement may have caused higher rates of myopia in children as well.

Spending time outdoors, on the other hand, encourages your child to focus on distant objects like trees, basketball hoops, a ball flying through the air— anything that’s more than an arm’s length away.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps smooth muscle tissue around the eye’s crystalline lens allowing it to function properly.

This smooth muscle helps focus light on the retina, and may also help maintain the proper eye shape and length between the lens and the retina, which can become distorted as a child’s eyes grow with every passing year.

Moreover, the sun’s invisible UVB light triggers Vitamin D production. Some studies have found that nearsighted individuals have lower levels of Vitamin D than those with normal vision. However, more research is needed to solidify this claim, as only small-scale studies have been performed.

The recommended time for daily outdoor play is at least 2 hours for children over the age of 6. Be sure to send your child outside with a water bottle, sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

At Treehouse Eyes, our goal is to battle childhood myopia and preserve children’s eye health for the long term. We encourage parents to learn more about myopia and 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!