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Myopia Management

How Much Time Should My Child Spend Outdoors?

child outdoor 640The benefits of outdoor play are well known. It allows children to exercise, socialize, develop skills like problem-solving and risk-taking and lets them soak up some vitamin D.

A lesser-known benefit of outdoor play is its effect on myopia (nearsightedness). Numerous studies have confirmed an association between increased “sun time” and lower levels of myopia.

Below, we’ll explore why this is and recommend ways to keep your child’s eyes healthy, whether or not they are nearsighted.

Why “Sun Time” Helps Control Myopia

While researchers haven’t yet pinpointed the exact reason, some believe that the sun’s intense brightness and increased vitamin D play a role. Others theorize that children who spend time looking into the distance while outdoors prevent myopia from progressing or even developing.

How Much Outdoor Time Is Recommended?

There isn’t a unanimous opinion on an exact amount of time, but the general recommendation is that children ages 6 and up should spend 2 or more hours outdoors per day.

It’s important to note that UV rays can be harmful to the eyes and skin. So before you send your little ones out to play, be sure to hand them a pair of UV-blocking [sunglasses], a wide-brimmed hat and sunblock lotion.

What Can Parents Do For Their Children’s Vision and Eye Health?

Encourage your children to spend time outdoors whenever possible. It is also important to follow local health guidelines pertaining to the exposure of children to sunlight. Limit their daily screen time, and offer minimal screen time (if any) to children under the age of 2.

Make sure your child takes frequent breaks whenever doing near work like homework, reading, and spending time on a digital screen. A 5-10 minute break should be encouraged for every hour of near work.

However, the best thing you can do for your myopic child is to provide them with myopia management treatments, all of which have been scientifically proven to reduce the progression of myopia and risk of sight-robbing eye diseases later in life.

To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, call Pacific Eye Doctors today!

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Schnarr

Q: #1: What is myopia?

  • A: A: Myopia is the most common refractive error among children and young adults. It occurs when the eye elongates, and rays of light are focused in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it. For those with nearsightedness, distant objects appear blurred while nearby objects remain clear. Although eyeglasses and standard contact lenses can correct a person’s vision, they do not treat the underlying cause of myopia or slow its progression.

Q: #2: Why is myopia management important?

  • A: A: By 2050, half of the world’s population is expected to be diagnosed with myopia. That’s worrying because having myopia raises the risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life. Myopia management, which entails the use of eye drops, specialized contact lenses or multifocal glasses, can help slow the often rapid visual deterioration caused by myopia in children. If you’re concerned that your child’s vision is deteriorating, contact us today. We can help.



Pacific Eye Doctors serves patients from Maple Ridge, , , and , all throughout British Columbia.

 

Pacific Eye Doctors serves patients from Maple Ridge, , , and , all throughout British Columbia.

NaturalVue Multifocal Lenses for Myopia Control

NaturalVue Multifocal lenses 640Myopia (nearsightedness) has reached pandemic proportions, with nearly a third of the world’s population nearsighted. Myopic children cannot see distance clearly, and their vision typically worsens with age, exposing them to a lifetime of elevated risk of blindness and other serious ocular diseases.

Myopia occurs when the shape of the eye causes light rays entering the eye to bend incorrectly. This leads to blurred vision when viewing objects that are far away. Most myopic children are diagnosed between ages 3 to 12, according to the American Optometric Association.

Once a child becomes myopic, the condition generally worsens as they get older. While glasses and contact lenses provide clear distance vision, they don’t cure myopia. They only relieve the symptoms.

Why Is Myopia Problematic?

Myopia can negatively impact your child’s learning, athletics and overall school performance. Additionally, having myopia as a child can significantly raise the risk of developing serious ocular complications such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment in adulthood.

Is your child at risk?

Some factors that increase a child’s risk of becoming myopic include:

  • Race (Asians are more prone to myopia)
  • Family history (one or both parents are myopic)
  • Spending less than 2 hours per day outdoors
  • Excessive time spent indoors reading, looking at a screen, or doing other close-work

How To Reduce The Risk of Myopia

To reduce the risk of your child developing myopia, increase their outdoor playtime and reduce their amount of near work.

It is important to have your child’s eyes tested by an eye doctor before they start school, as the eye doctor will be able to provide a reliable indication of their future risk of developing myopia.

If your child is already found to be myopic, their eye doctor will be able to discuss all the myopia management options available.

NaturalVue For Myopia Management

While regular soft contact lenses can provide clear distance vision, they don’t slow or halt the progression of myopia.

Studies have found that children who wear multifocal contact lenses have significantly slower myopia progression as compared to those who wear regular contact lenses.

NaturalVue Multifocal is one brand of multifocal lenses that offers clear and comfortable vision while slowing myopia progression.

In fact, a study published in Eye and Contact Lens Journal: Science and Clinical Practice found that children who wore NaturalVue Multifocal contact lenses for 5 years experienced great results with a minimal progression of refractive error.

If your child is myopic or you are concerned they might become myopic, contact Pacific Eye Doctors to schedule an appointment. Our effective myopia management methods can help slow down your child’s myopia so that they can enjoy clear vision and radically limit their risk of serious eye disease later in life.

Q&A

Q: How do multifocal contact lenses reduce myopia progression?

  • A: The lens design is made up of two parts. The central part corrects your vision, allowing you to see clearly. The peripheral part of the lens has lower power, allowing light from the side of vision to focus in front of the retina. As a result, the peripheral retina receives myopic defocus as a slow-down or stop signal for eye growth, which in turn slows down myopia progression.

Q: How are NaturalVue used?

  • A: NaturalVue lenses are daily disposable soft contact lenses that are worn during the day, and then removed and thrown away at night.

Pacific Eye Doctors serves patients from Maple Ridge, , , and , all throughout British Columbia.

 

Why Myopia Is Much More Than An Inconvenience

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthFor some parents, having a nearsighted child simply means frequent visits to the optometrist and regular eyewear purchases. But the truth is that nearsightedness (myopia) is more than an inconvenient eye condition that frequently requires correction.

Taking the short-sighted approach to myopia by simply updating a child’s lens prescription every year or two doesn’t help them in the long run.

Below, we explore the connection between myopia and eye disease, and how myopia management can help your child maintain healthy eyes throughout their life.

How Can Myopia Lead To Eye Disease?

Myopia is caused by the elongation of the eyeball. When the eyeball is too long, it focuses light in front of the retina instead of directly on it, causing blurry vision.

As childhood myopia progresses, the retina (the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) stretches and strains, making the child more prone to serious eye diseases, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment, in adulthood.

Having medium to high myopia (-3.00 to -6.00) also increases a child’s chances of developing cataracts fivefold, compared to a child with little to no myopia.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in adults around the world. Medium to high myopia makes a child 5 times more likely to develop this sight-threatening eye disease as an adult. Several studies have also shown that the higher the myopia, the greater the risk of developing glaucoma.

Retinal detachment is also heavily linked to childhood myopia. A child with low myopia (-1.00 to -3.00) is 4 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, while children with high myopia are 10 times more likely to suffer from retinal detachment.

Highly myopic children are also at a significantly greater risk of developing myopic macular degeneration — a rare condition where the retina thins so much, it begins to break down and atrophy, leading to visual impairment. This condition occurs in 10% of people with high myopia (-6.00 and higher).

The fact is that most parents aren’t aware of these risks. That’s why we’re here for any questions you or your child may have about myopia and how to slow its progression.

What Is Myopia Management?

Myopia management is an evidence-based treatment program that slows or halts the progression of myopia in children and young adults. These treatments reduce the ocular stress that contributes to the worsening of the child’s myopia.

Our optometric team will take the time to sit with you and your child to learn about their lifestyle and visual needs in order to choose the most suitable treatment.

Once a treatment plan is chosen, we will monitor your child’s myopia progression over a 6-12 month period to assess the plan’s effectiveness.

With myopia management, we bring your child’s future into focus.

To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact Pacific Eye Doctors today!

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Schnarr

Q: How old does my child have to be to begin myopia management?

  • A: Children as young as 8 years old can begin myopia management. In fact, children who are at risk of developing myopia or high myopia should ideally start before the age of 10 for optimal results, but it’s never too late to start! Either way, your optometrist will help determine whether your child is ready.

Q: Do children with very low myopia need myopia management?

  • A: Yes, definitely. Taking the ‘wait and see’ approach runs the risk of allowing your child’s prescription to rise as they grow older, increasing their risk of developing serious eye diseases in the long run.
Pacific Eye Doctors serves patients from Maple Ridge, , , and , British Columbia and surrounding communities.