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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 The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision today!

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Kerry Gelb

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.



The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision serves patients from Woodbridge, Edison, Freehold, and East Brunswick, all throughout New Jersey.

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call Our Offices

 

The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision serves patients from Woodbridge, Edison, Freehold, and East Brunswick, all throughout New Jersey.

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 The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision today!

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Kerry Gelb

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.
The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision serves patients from Woodbridge, Edison, Freehold, and East Brunswick, New Jersey and surrounding communities.

 

 

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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 The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision today!


Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Kerry Gelb

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.

The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision serves patients from Woodbridge, Edison, Freehold and East Brunswick, all throughout New Jersey.

 

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Want To Discuss Myopia? Call Our Offices

Why Bother With Myopia Control?

Boy Trouble LearningMyopia control is a hot topic these days — and for good reason. More and more parents are providing their nearsighted children with myopia control treatments in hopes of slowing down the rapid progression of this very common refractive error.

Is myopia control worth all the effort? Why not just get new glasses every time your child needs a higher prescription? Is childhood myopia really that big of a deal?

Below, we’ll answer these important questions so you can make informed decisions and feel confident about your choices. If your child has myopia, contact The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision to learn more about how we can help.

Myopia Is Not Harmless

Myopia is far more than just blurry distance vision. What many don’t realize is that it can seriously impact a child’s long-term eye health.

A child with myopia is significantly more likely to develop sight-threatening diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration, later in life.

Because the cause of myopia is an elongated eye, the stretching of the eye takes a toll on the retina (the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye). Over time, the stressed retina is more prone to damage and tearing.

Your Child’s Lens Prescription Matters

Suppose your child’s lens prescription is -3.00D (mild to moderate myopia). Although you may think that it’s too late for myopia control at this point, research suggests otherwise.

The level of myopia a child has is directly correlated to their risk of eye disease — the higher the myopia, the greater the risk.

A child with myopia that’s between -0.75D and -3.00 is more than 3 times more likely to develop retinal detachment in the future. That number triples for individuals with high myopia (-5.00 and above).

The risk of myopic maculopathy is also influenced by the level of a child’s nearsightedness. Children under -5.00 have just a 0.42% of developing this serious eye condition, but anything above -5.00? That risk level leaps to 25.3%.

Slowing down or stopping your child’s eyesight from worsening will greatly increase their chances of having a healthy vision in adulthood. Halting myopia as early as possible renders the best outcome.

Myopia Is On The Rise

This is the time to act. With myopia cases escalating exponentially, it’s expected that about half of the world’s population will be nearsighted by 2050, and about 10% of those individuals will have high myopia.

Offering your child myopia control now can potentially prevent them from being part of that 10% in 2050.

If your child has myopia or is at risk of developing it, we can help! To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision today.

Q&A

 

Q: #1: How do I know if my child is at risk of developing myopia?

  • A: If one or both parents have myopia, a child is predisposed to becoming nearsighted. Other factors that influence myopia include excess screen time, not enough time spent in the sunlight, and being of a certain ethnicity (people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent have the highest risk).

Q: #2: What treatments are used for myopia control?

  • A: The 3 main treatments are atropine eye drops, orthokeratology (Ortho-k) contact lenses, and multifocal contact lenses. Your optometrist will help you decide which method best suits your child’s eyes and lifestyle.

 

The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision serves patients from Woodbridge, Edison, Freehold, and East Brunswick, all throughout New Jersey.


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4 Common Myopia Myths Debunked

4 Common Myopia Myths Debunked 640Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the eye elongates and rays of light entering the eye are focused in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it.

It’s by far the most common refractive error among children and young adults.

To help understand and learn more about what myopia means for your child’s vision, we’ve debunked 4 common myopia myths.

Myth: Myopia only develops in childhood

Fact: While it’s true that in most cases nearsightedness develops in childhood, it can also develop during one’s young adult years.

Myth: Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses cause myopia to worsen

Fact: Prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses in no way exacerbate myopia. Optical corrections help you see comfortably and clearly. Another common misconception is that it’s better to use a weaker lens power than the one prescribed by your eye doctor. This is simply not true. By wearing a weaker lens you are contradicting the purpose of using corrective eyewear, which is to comfortably correct your vision.

Myth: Taking vitamins can cure myopia

Fact: Vitamins have been proven to slow the progression of or prevent some eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts. However, no vitamin has been shown to prevent or cure myopia. All vitamins and supplements should only be taken under the advice of your healthcare professional.

Myth: There is no way to slow the progression of myopia.

Fact: There are a few ways to slow down the progression of myopia:

Get more sunlight. Studies have shown that children who spend more time playing outdoors in the sunlight have slower myopia progression than children who are homebodies.

Take a break. Doing close work, such as spending an excessive amount of time looking at a digital screen, reading, and doing homework has been linked to myopia. Encouraging your child to take frequent breaks to focus on objects farther away can help. One well-known eye exercise is the 20-20-20 rule, where you take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

Other options to slow myopia progression include:

  • Orthokeratology/Ortho-k. These are specialized custom-fit contact lenses shown to decrease the rate of myopia progression through the gentle reshaping of the cornea when worn overnight.
  • Multifocal lenses offer clear vision at various focal distances. Studies show that wearing multifocal soft contact lenses or multifocal eyeglasses during the day can limit the progression of myopia compared to conventional single vision glasses or contact lenses.
  • Atropine drops. 1.0% atropine eye drops applied daily in one eye over a period of 2 years has shown to significantly reduce the progression of myopia

Prevent or slow the progression of your child’s myopia with myopia management. Contact The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision to book your child’s consultation today!

The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision serves patients from Woodbridge, Edison, Freehold, and East Brunswick, all throughout New Jersey.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Kerry Gelb

Q: Can myopia be cured?

  • A: Currently, there is no cure for myopia. However, various myopia management methods can slow its progression.

Q: How much time should my child spend outdoors to reduce the risk of myopia?

  • A: Make sure your child spends at least 90 minutes a day outdoors.


The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision serves patients from Woodbridge, Edison, Freehold, and East Brunswick, all throughout New Jersey.

 

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Want To Discuss Myopia? Call Our Offices

Does The Use of Digital Devices Cause Myopia In Children?

kid with tablet 640Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the eyeball grows too long, or the cornea and/or eye lens are too curved relative to the length of the eyeball. This causes faraway objects to appear blurry. More than 30% of North Americans have this refractive error starting from childhood.

Being nearsighted isn’t just an inconvenience. Children with moderate to severe myopia are at significant risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

But is there a link between spending too much time on digital devices and myopia? While digital devices keep our children busy and entertained, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to understand the implications associated with all this screen time.

What Does the Research Show?

There is growing evidence that up-close tasks raise the risk of myopia in children. In an analysis of 27 studies on 25,000 children published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers found that the more time children spent on near-work activities like reading, homework, writing, computer use, playing video games, and watching TV, the higher their risk of developing myopia.

The analysis found that the odds of myopia increased by 2% for every hour per week a child did near-work activities.

Other studies have found that children who spend a significant amount of time playing outdoors experience less myopia progression than children who are homebodies. Researchers theorize that looking at distant objects, such as a ball flying through the air at the far end of a sports field, and sunshine play a role in myopia prevention.

Not surprisingly, most eye doctors recommend limiting the amount of time a child stares at a digital screen in order to safeguard their eye health and overall wellbeing. To learn more about myopia or to slow its progression, contact The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Our Optometrists

Q: What Are the Signs of Myopia?

  • A: – Blurred vision: Using a digital screen for long periods of time can result in blurry vision, especially when focusing on distant objects.
    – Headaches: Untreated myopia can cause serious eye strain, which in turn results in headaches.
    – Head tilting or squinting: If you notice your child tilting their head while watching TV or squinting their eyes, it’s a sign that they are having difficulty focusing. This could be a sign of myopia.
    – Looking at objects a bit too closely: Oftentimes, children cannot verbally explain how they feel but they can express it in a non-verbal way. If you notice your child moving closer to the TV or that they have trouble seeing the blackboard at school, it can signal myopia.

Q: How Can I Prevent or Slow My Child’s Myopia?

  • A: Catching myopia early can help slow its progression and prevent serious eye diseases later in life. As a parent, here is what you can do to help prevent your child from developing this eye condition:
    – Try to limit the amount of time your child spends on close work such as reading, homework, and screen time.
    – When your child uses a computer, make sure they are properly positioned. Have your child take frequent screen breaks and look across the room for at least 20 seconds during each break.
    – Encourage outdoor time of at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Be sure your child wears UV protected sunglasses.
    – Discuss myopia management with your eye doctor to slow and potentially stop the progression of your child’s myopia.


How We Can Help Treat Myopia

If your child exhibits any myopia symptoms, schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Undetected myopia can cause many complications, whether academic, social, or emotional. Early diagnosis of myopia and other eye problems can improve your child’s performance in school, on the sports field, and can prevent serious sight-robbing eye diseases later in life.

Furthermore, if your child is diagnosed with myopia, we can help slow its progression with myopia management.

Our doctors work closely with each family and customize treatment programs for every child based on their unique needs. If you are concerned about your child’s myopia, schedule an assessment for myopia management to see if they can benefit from this life-changing treatment.

To learn more about myopia management or to schedule an eye exam, contact The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision in Woodbridge, Edison, Freehold, and East Brunswick today!

Resources:

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Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Child’s Eyes?

treehouse eyes child at an eye exam

Is your child squinting more than usual? Is she or he having difficulty reading or seeing distant objects, even if they already wear glasses or have recently had an eye exam?

Optometrists throughout the country are seeing more cases of myopia than ever before due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The drastic increase in indoor and screen time associated with virtual classrooms is taking a toll on children’s eyes, resulting in what optometrists are calling “quarantine myopia”.

How Has the COVID-19 Lockdown Contributed To Myopia?

COVID-19 has impacted the lives of many, whether through infection or as a result of the ripple effect of this pandemic, such as lockdowns. The periodic school shutdowns are causing children to spend significantly more hours a day inside and in front of their screens. It is, therefore, no coincidence that eye doctors have been detecting a steep rise in myopia cases during this period.

But First, What Is Myopia?

Myopia is a disease where the eye grows too long, causing light to be focused at the front of the retina instead of directly on it. This results in blurred vision when looking at a distant object. Myopia typically starts in childhood and progresses throughout school-age years, meaning a child’s vision continues to deteriorate as their eye grows too long.

While the causes of myopia are not yet fully understood, we now know that genetics and certain environmental factors play a significant role in its development. Doing excessive near work activities, like spending hours on a computer or other digital device, and staying indoors has been linked to the development or progression of myopia in children.

A recent study observed the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on over 120,000 Chinese children and found that home confinement had considerably increased myopia levels in those aged 6-8. These children had a diopter change of 0.3 during the lockdown. In other words, their vision significantly deteriorated during the lockdown.

When children have myopia, it’s not just an inconvenience. It can also put them at risk of developing serious, sight-threatening eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment later in life. That’s why so many parents choose myopia management to protect their children’s long-term vision and eye health.

Can Myopia Be Treated?

Yes, it most definitely can! At The Myopia Management Center at Contact Lens and Vision, we’re committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for your child’s visual and ocular health. That means using the best, most effective treatments to slow or even halt your child’s myopia progression.

We work with you and your child to find the most suitable, convenient, and comfortable myopia treatment based on your child’s needs and lifestyle.

It’s never too early to start treating your child’s myopia. Offer your child the gift of sight for the long term by finding the nearest provider to you:

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