How can I stop my child’s vision from becoming worse?

How can I reduce the chance my child will need glasses?

Studies shows there is direct correlation between children who wear glasses and the amount of time they spend performing visual tasks such as reading or using cellphones.

In a Sydney ophthalmic journal, it was predicted that by 2050, 5 billion people will be short-sighted (myopic.) One in ten are at risk of blindness. These statistics are the result of a technology driven world.

Furthermore, patients that wear glasses are at a significant risk for eye diseases. The incidence is directly correlated with the degree of myopia. Higher risk comes with a higher prescription.

Which children are most at risk?

Children whose parents wear glasses (one or both).Children who read significantly.Children who spend less than 2 hours outdoors daily. Children with inappropriate posture when performing reading or school work.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released the following guidelines for parents:

For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.

My child already wears glasses for Myopia, can I slow the prescription from progressing?

Previously children were given higher power glasses and/or contacts as their vision worsened.  Now, we know that myopia should be treated with more care because of the eye diseases that concur with having a high prescription. We understand that needing glasses is not a refractive condition but a pathological condition.

There are 3 main ways to prevent a child’s vision becoming worse. These include:

1. Atropine

Atropine is an eye drop that can be placed in the child’s eyes daily. This drop is suspected to work by reducing the accommodation or over-focusing of the child up close. The exact mechanism is not known.

2. Multi-focal soft contacts

This can be a great way of intervening depending on the age of the child.  Children do well in contacts. Age is not as much a factor as maturity. The central portion of a multifocal lens provides the distance vision correction while the periphery reduces hyperopic defocus. This, in turn, minimizes the stimulus for myopia progression by focusing the light in front of the peripheral retina. This prevents the eye from getting longer and in turn the prescription from progressing at a higher rate.

3. Orthokeratology

Orthokeratology is the use of contact lenses to mold the cornea.  The child sleeps in the lenses overnight, and during the day does not need any glasses or contacts. This is a fantastic option for athletes, children with outdoor hobbies, and children who do not want to wear glasses.

One two-year study of nearsighted Chinese children (ages 6 to 10) found that ortho-k contact lenses reduced lengthening of the eyeball (a key factor in myopia progression) by 43 percent compared with matched children who wore regular eyeglasses for myopia correction during the study period.

Which solution is best for my child’s vision?

Only an exam of the child’s vision and eyes, hobbies, activities, and personality can determine the best solution.

How often should I have my child’s vision checked?

School age children should be checked yearly.  If they are found to have their prescriptions changing at a more rapid rate, they will be checked more frequently. For that reason, children should be checked before they begin kindergarten.

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