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Myopia Management

5 Spooky Things You Didn’t Know About Myopia

myopia management

Myopia (most often referred to as 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.

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, call 330-425-2020 or to see a list of all providers near you visit Treehouse Eyes today.

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 Twinsburg Eye Associates Myopia Management Center today!

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. David Hunyady

Q: 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: 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.



Twinsburg Eye Associates Myopia Management Center serves patients from , , , and , all throughout Ohio.

 

Twinsburg Eye Associates Myopia Management Center serves patients from , , , and , all throughout Ohio.

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

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:

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.

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, visit our online scheduler or to see a list of all providers near you visit Treehouse Eyes today.

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 Twinsburg Eye Associates Myopia Management Center today!

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. David Hunyady

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.
Twinsburg Eye Associates Myopia Management Center serves patients from , , , and , Ohio and surrounding communities.

 

 

How You Can Help Your Child Excel in School This Year

MYOPIA Management (1)

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 /hours-location/contact-us/appointment-request-form/ or see a list of all providers at Treehouse Eyes today.

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

july blog post image 640×350

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 Twinsburg Eye Associates and help your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

Why Does Outdoor Time Delay Or Prevent Myopia?

outdoor children 640Now that myopia (nearsightedness) is reaching epidemic proportions across the globe, it’s all the more important for parents to understand how myopia can impact their child’s future, and learn which actions they should take to protect their child’s eye health in the long run.

You see, myopia isn’t simply an inconvenience. Childhood myopia raises the risk of developing vision-robbing diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy later in life.

Myopia develops as the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This manifests as blurred distance vision and clear near vision.

While myopia is caused by a combination of circumstances, including genetic and environmental, a key factor comes down to the amount of time a child spends outdoors in the sunlight.

How Does Outdoor Play Affect Myopia?

Although researchers haven’t yet pinpointed exactly why “sun time” prevents or delays myopia, almost all agree that it plays a large role.

One possible reason is correlated to the brightness of the sun. Some experts have found that the intensity of the sun’s rays triggers a dopamine release in the retina which is thought to slow down the elongation of the eye.

Another theory holds that outdoor time encourages a child to shift their gaze from near objects to faraway ones. Excessive near work, like staring at a digital screen, is believed to be a driving force behind the stark increase in myopic individuals today.

Sending a child outdoors to play gives their eyes a break from focusing on their tablets, smartphones, homework, gaming and other near work.

Additionally, spending more time in the sunshine means more Vitamin-D production. Small-scale studies have found nearsighted people have lower levels of Vitamin D than those with normal eyesight. However, more research is needed to confirm this theory.

Here’s the Bottom Line

Childhood myopia increases the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. Parents should be proactive about their child’s eye health and do what they can to prevent myopia from developing or progressing at a rapid rate.

Even if your child doesn’t have myopia, encouraging them to play outdoors for several hours a day has been found to prevent the onset of myopia in certain instances.

So go ahead and give your child a water bottle, sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses—and send them out to play! Children aged 6 and up should spend about 2 hours daily outside in the sunshine.

But sun time alone isn’t enough to ensure the best possible outcome for their eye health. A myopia management program can help give your child the best odds of healthy vision for a lifetime.

To learn more about the myopia treatments we offer and schedule your child’s myopia consultation, call Twinsburg Eye Associates Myopia Management Center today!


Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. David Hunyady

Q: #1: What is myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management is the science-based method used to slow or halt the progression of myopia. There are several options available, and your optometrist will sit down with you and your child to discuss which treatment option is most suitable for your child’s needs.

Q: #2: Who can benefit from myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management treatments have been approved for children as young as 8 and can be used until early adulthood. Myopia management is great for children with low myopia but can also be effective for slowing myopia progression in kids and teens with moderate to high myopia. Contact us to find out whether your child is a candidate for myopia management.

Twinsburg Eye Associates Myopia Management Center serves patients from , , and , all throughout Ohio.

 

Is the Myopia Epidemic Caused by Screen Time?

screen time and myopia 640More than 40% of North Americans have myopia (nearsightedness), most of them since childhood.

Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the eyeball grows too long, and the shape of the eye causes light rays to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina. This causes distant objects to appear blurry.

Children with moderate to severe myopia are at significant risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma later in life.

Is the myopia epidemic even partly due to children spending too much time looking at digital screens? While digital devices keep our children entertained and help them learn via online classrooms, it’s important to understand the ramifications associated with using them.

Is There a Link Between Digital Screens and Myopia?

That’s an excellent question, with no easy answers.

Several studies have found that children who spend many hours indoors doing “close work” — reading, writing, and looking at computers and other digital devices — have a higher rate of myopia progression.

In Denmark, teenagers who spent more than six hours a day on screens doubled their risk of myopia, while in Ireland, researchers determined that spending more than three hours a day on a screen increased the chances a child would be myopic.

However, some other studies haven’t found a definitive correlation between screen time and myopia.

What is clear is that children who spend a considerable amount of time playing outdoors in the sunshine appear to develop myopia at a slower rate than children who spend almost all their time indoors.

A study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s professional journal, Ophthalmology, found that the progression of myopia in first-graders who spent at least 11 hours per week playing outside in the sunshine was slower in the “sunshine” children.

And a study by the Singapore Eye Research Institute found that each hour teenagers spent outdoors doing activities lowered their risk of myopia by 10 percent.

Whether this was due to them looking at far-away objects or to sunlight’s effect on the children’s eyes requires further study.

What is certain: Children, teens and adults who look at screens for an extended period of time often experience blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes and digital eye strain.

Signs of Myopia

Looking at objects too closely

If you notice your child moving closer to the TV, or having trouble seeing the board in their classroom, it can be a sign that they have myopia.

Head tilting or squinting

If your child tilts or squints their head while watching TV, it may be a sign that they are having trouble focusing.

Blurred vision

If your child can’t see clearly in the distance or complains of blurry vision, it may be due to using a digital screen for long periods of time.

Headaches

Untreated myopia can cause serious eye strain, which can cause headaches.

How to Help Prevent Myopia or Slow Its Progression

Many cases of myopia are inherited, but it’s still possible to slow and sometimes halt its progression. Here is what you can do to help prevent your child from developing this eye condition:

  • Encourage your child to go outdoors at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Be sure to follow local health recommendations regarding children and exposure to sunlight, including wearing UV-protected sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends doing close work such as homework, reading and staring at a screen.
  • When your child uses a digital screen, make sure the screen isn’t close to their face. Encourage your child to take a break at least once every 20 minutes, and to look across the room for at least 20 seconds during each break.
  • Discuss myopia management with your eye doctor to help slow and potentially stop the progression of your child’s myopia.

How We Can Help Treat Myopia

If your child shows signs or symptoms of myopia, schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor as soon as possible to discuss a myopia management plan. Early diagnosis of myopia or other eye conditions can improve your child’s performance in school, on the sports field, and can help prevent serious sight-robbing eye diseases later in life.

Contact Twinsburg Eye Associates Myopia Management Center to schedule an appointment to discuss your child’s myopia management plan.

Q&A

Q: What is Myopia Management?

  • A: Myopia management is a treatment program prescribed by your eye doctor to slow, and sometimes halt, myopia progression.

Q: What is involved in myopia management?

A: Depending on the severity of myopia and age of your child, your eye doctor may prescribe any of the following myopia management techniques:

  • Eyeglasses, such as bifocal or multifocal
  • Multifocal contact lenses
  • Atropine eye drops
  • Orthokeratology (Ortho-k) contact lenses