Some parents are very concerned about how quickly their children are becoming more nearsighted and look for a more pro-active preventative approach to address this. Some parents are content to simply increase the eyeglass prescription each year. This re-active approach compensates for the amount the child has become more nearsighted but does not correct the problem. These are simply two different approaches.
Myopia (nearsighted) is more than just a mild inconvenience. It actually increases the risk of serious eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachments. In the US, the rate of children becoming more nearsighted has increased dramatically within this past generation.
What can you do?
- Become more educated – each person can become more nearsighted based on (1) how their visual system works and (2) on genetics. .
- Gain the ability to handle visual stress - Working on electronic devices and spending more time indoors increases visual stress. This can causes children to become more nearsighted. Vision Therapy is often the best way to learn how to deal with visual stress and helps the person build a visual system that is better suited to handle that stress. Vision is learned, similar to learning how to ride a bike, or drive a car, or play the piano. Developing the ability to use the visual system effectively is the best way to prevent a child from becoming more nearsighted. Vision Therapy is like having a personal trainer for an exercise program.
- Find the right eye doctor – Some eye doctors have specialty training in myopia control. This goes beyond the basic ability to prescribe eyeglass and contact lenses to see clearly. Credentials such as FCOVD mean the doctor has taken post-doctoral education and has demonstrated additional expertise in understanding methods of myopia control.
- Start early – The best way to control myopia is to prevent it. The first examinations should be at age1, 3 and 5. Every year a child is in school they should have a full eye examination. A vision screening by the school nurse or at the pediatrician’s office is not an eye examination. The earlier we take action, the earlier we can address the problem, especially if parents are nearsighted. Don’t wait until your child fails a school or pediatrician vision screening.
- Orthokeratology – has been shown to effectively reduce myopia progression. Ortho-K is FDA approved for children and adults. It gives patients clear daytime vision without glasses or contacts and has the added benefit of reducing or eliminating myopia progression.