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3 Facts about Myopia and What You Can Do For Your Child

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Myopia, often referred to as nearsightedness, is an eye disease in which the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to be focused in front of the retina instead of on the retina’s surface. Essentially, your child’s eye is growing too long.

Because the eye elongates and grows with the rest of the body, naturally, it stops elongating once the rest of the body stops growing in early adulthood. This also means there may be times in a child’s development where they experience growth spurts—suddenly requiring a higher prescription due to an increase in their myopia.

The hallmark symptom of myopia is blurred distance vision, but it can also cause headaches, eyestrain, and difficulty seeing at night.

What Causes Myopia?

Several factors lead a child to develop myopia, including genetic, environmental, and even socioeconomic status.

Excessive ‘Near Work’

More than ever before, kids all over the world are focusing their eyes on near objects for the majority of their day, whether reading a book, or using a smartphone, computer, tablet, or another device.

Numerous studies have shown that doing near work, especially in excess (more than 3 hours per day), contributes to the onset and progression of myopia.

Some findings suggest that the intensity and duration of near work are also important factors. For example, reading a captivating novel for 45 minutes straight will impact a child’s eyes more than skimming a magazine a few minutes at a time.

Genetics

A child is more likely to be myopic if one of their parents is nearsighted or myopic as well. If both parents are myopic, those chances increase even greater. Be sure to get your child’s vision checked if you or your spouse are myopic.

Not Enough Outdoor Time

Spending at least 2-3 hours outdoors has been shown to delay or prevent the onset of myopia in children. Make sure to send your children outside to play every day, especially if they’re at risk of developing myopia!

What Can You Do?

The good news is there are many things you can do you help slow or stop the progression of myopia.

Get Regular (annual or semi-annual) Eye Exams

Even if both parents aren’t myopic, it’s still recommended to get an annual eye exam for your child. You can schedule a myopia consultation with a Treehouse Eyes provider near you. Many pediatricians are able to complete basic eye exams – be sure to ask them to check for myopia!

Encourage Breaks from Excessive ‘Near Work’

More than ever before, kids are focusing their eyes on near objects for the majority of their day. Encouraging breaks from near work such as reading and electronic devices will help your child’s eyes and give them a chance to get back outside as it warms up.

Spend More Time in Natural Sunlight

As you encourage your child to take a break from near work, one of the best ways to enjoy that newfound time is to get outside! Natural sunlight, even in the classroom, can be protective of myopia. Be sure to wear some sunblock as well!

If Your Child Has Myopia, We Can Help!

What many don’t realize is that myopia can seriously affect a child’s future eye health and vision. Having myopia in childhood significantly increases the risk of developing serious eye diseases and conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachment, cataracts, and macular degeneration in adulthood.

The good news is that myopia can be effectively managed to reduce the risk of future eye disease. You can prevent serious, sight-robbing eye diseases by scheduling your child’s myopia consultation with us today. Call 408-502-9282 to make an appointment. Help your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

3 Facts About Myopia You Should Know

treehouse girl 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 is a disease where the eye grows too long, resulting in blurry distance vision and increased risks of serious, sight-threatening eye diseases, such as glaucoma1, cataract2, or retinal eye diseases3. An estimated 1 in 3 children in the U.S. have myopia and the prevalence has grown dramatically over the last 30 years4. Research has shown lack of outdoor time for kids and more near work, like reading and time on screens, drive the massive increase we are seeing in myopia5-7.

Myopia Progresses As Your Child Grows

Myopia generally begins in childhood and progresses throughout the school-age years, usually stabilizing into the late teens.

Because the eye grows in tandem with the body, it’s only natural that it stops elongating once the rest of the body stops growing in early adulthood. This also means there may be times in a child’s development where they experience growth spurts and suddenly require a higher prescription. There are ways to effectively treat myopia in order to prevent it from progressing as the child grows. Slowing myopia early on can make all the difference to your child’s eye health as they age.

Natural Sunlight Can Help

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.

In fact, a recent study found that increased exposure to outdoor light reduces myopia development.

There Are Now Treatments for Myopia

There is hope for parents is there are several treatments 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 River Oaks Family Optometry, or call 408-502-9282. Help your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!

References:

  1. Ophthalmology, 118(10), 1989-1994.systematic …
  2. Ophthalmology, 112(8), 1395-1401
  3. Japanese journal of ophthalmology, 32(3), 310-315.
  4. Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 Dec;127(12):1632-9.
  5. Ophthalmology . 2008 Aug;115(8):1279-85.
  6. Ophthalmology . 2013 May;120(5):1080-5
  7. PLoS One. 2015 Oct 20;10(10):e0140419

What’s Your Optometrist Role in Cataract Surgery?

If you’re over the age of 60, there’s a good chance you’ll develop cataracts sometime in the next 20 or so years. While the only effective long-term treatment for cataracts is surgery, it can take years or even decades for a cataract to reach the point where it needs to be surgically removed.

In the meantime, your optometrist can monitor its progression, manage your symptoms and ensure you have the best vision possible. Once your cataract makes it difficult for you to function day-to-day, your eye doctor will refer you to an ophthalmologist who will perform eye surgery to replace your eye’s natural lens with a clear artificial lens.

Following your surgery, your optometrist will co-manage your post-op recovery in coordination with your eye surgeon.

Your Optometrist Will Discuss Cataract Treatment Options

A cataract, a clouding of the eye’s natural lens caused by the breakdown of proteins in the lens, leads to progressively blurry vision. So if you’ve been diagnosed with a cataract but aren’t yet ready for surgery, you’ll be having regular contact with your optometrist, who will explain the condition, discuss your treatment options and help manage your symptoms.

Once you’re diagnosed with cataracts, you may want to slow the progression of the condition. Working with an optometrist who knows your personal and family health history as well as your various options for cataract management and surgery is a massive advantage, as your optometrist can give you advice on dietary and lifestyle changes.

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are important for everyone, and particularly if you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts. Because the cloudy areas on your eye lenses will worsen with time, your optometrist will carefully monitor your vision and upgrade your glasses or contact lens prescription as needed. Your optometrist will perform a visual acuity test and other tests to gauge increased sensitivity to light and glare, as well as deterioration in your contrast and color vision.

When’s It Time for Cataract Surgery?

At some point, your optometrist may determine that your cataracts are severe enough to require surgery. That’s typically when options to correct your vision — updated prescriptions and speciality filters that block glare and increase contrast vision — are no longer sufficient to give you the vision you need.

Your optometrist can recommend an ophthalmologist and provide information about what to expect during cataract surgery. You’ll see your eye surgeon for post-surgery check-ups, and your optometrist for long-term eye care.

If your vision is blurred or if you notice a cloudy patch forming on your eye, you may have developed cataracts. For optimal vision care and cataract management, make sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Elaine Chung at River Oaks Family Optometry in San Jose today.

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What’s the best treatment for cataracts?

Although many people use glasses to manage cataract symptoms and improve their deteriorating vision, the only way to really treat cataracts is via surgery. You may want to delay the procedure, but once your quality of life is affected to the degree that it’s difficult to drive or perform everyday tasks, it’s time to have cataract surgery.

Will cataracts return after surgery?

Generally, no. Because the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one during cataract surgery, a cataract can’t return to that eye. That said, there’s a possibility that a few years after the surgery, you may need a quick laser procedure if the proteins on the lens capsule — the layer that holds the artificial lens in place — becomes cloudy.

5 Vision-Saving Tips for National Save Your Vision Month

March is here. And you know what that means…

It’s National Save Your Vision Month!

In honor of this special month, which not only signals the start of spring but reminds us to protect our eyes, we’ve put together a list of 5 essential ways that you can ‘save your vision.’

It goes without saying that routine eye exams are a top priority when it comes to taking care of your eyes, so here are 5 additional things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

You’re likely aware that a balanced diet consists of all different types of nutritious foods that contain the vitamins and nutrients you need to keep your body healthy and strong.

But did you know that certain foods actually promote eye health and can lower your risk of eye disease?

Eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamins A, B, C and E, can protect your eye health and help save your vision from sight-threatening eye diseases, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

If you don’t think your daily meals offer enough of these essential vitamins and nutrients, ask your doctor whether you should add a daily supplement to your diet.

2. Limit Screen Time

The digital world has created a new venue for working, communicating, socializing and entertainment. But it’s also brought about a new eye condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS) — also called digital eye strain (DES) — that’s a growing concern among eye care professionals.

Not only can too much screen time affect productivity in work and school, but it can also result in dry, red, irritated eyes, blurry vision, headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain, and even have a negative effect on your mood and quality of sleep.

So this month, take it upon yourself to be more aware of how much time you spend in front of a digital screen, and try to set boundaries whenever possible for you and your children. You can also practice the 20-20-20 rule — every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.

3. Use Protective Eyewear

Every day, thousands of people receive emergency care for an eye-related accident — many of them resulting in permanent damage and vision loss.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by wearing protective eyewear for all activities that pose an eye health risk — from sports and water gun fights to lightsaber tournaments and science experiments. And, of course, this also implies any type of home-improvement project that involves small particles like grass, saw dust or metal flying into your eye.

Protective eyewear can truly save your vision.

4. Wear Sunglasses All Year Round

Sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory to enhance your look. They shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can damage your vision and lead to serious eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Now you have an even better excuse to go out and buy yourself the new pair of shades you’ve been dreaming about. Just make sure they offer 100% UV protection.

Wear your new sunglasses all year round, even on cloudy and snowy days, because the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off the snow-covered ground, doubling your exposure.

5. Quit Smoking

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, now’s the time! Smoking is not only dangerous for your overall health, it increases your risk for sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

So, for the sake of your vision and overall health, take the first steps toward kicking your smoking habit.

In honor of National Save Your Vision Month, why not try some of these vision-saving habits that can help you keep your eyes and vision healthy for a lifetime. Your future self will thank you.

Interested in learning more about how you can protect your eyes and vision? Contact River Oaks Family Optometry in San Jose today to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and to offer you the best possible eye care.

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Do children need to wear sunglasses?

Yes, sunglasses are essential for protecting your child’s eyes both now and in the future. A child’s eyes are still maturing and are therefore even more susceptible to UV damage than adults. Encourage your child to wear sunglasses whenever they play outside by setting a good example and making sure to wear sunglasses whenever you venture outdoors.

What are sports goggles?

Sports goggles are a type of protective eyewear worn by many athletes. These goggles contain impact resistant, durable polycarbonate lenses, offering the ultimate eye protection during sports activities. If you or your child play sports, sports goggles are an essential accessory to your athletic gear.

Myopia Control and Prevention: 3 Different Types Of Myopia Control Explained

asian children playing the violin 640×350

Before discussing potential “cures” and ways to control for myopia it is important to ensure we define it correctly. A myopic eye is one that grows too long front to back. We know this because we measure it using special equipment that calculates the length of the eye from the front (cornea) to the back (retina). This distance is known as the axial length, and with advanced equipment we can now measure this down to fractions of a millimeter. So myopia is an abnormal elongation of the eye – if a normal eye is shaped like a basketball, then a myopic eye would more resemble a football.

Once an eye is too long, there are currently no known treatments or cures which can cause the axial length of the eye to reverse. Refractive surgery performed on adults, such as LASIK, does not “shrink” the eye, but rather reshapes the front surface of the cornea to enable clear vision without corrective lenses. While the patient who has successful refractive surgery can now see clearly, they still have an elongated eye, so still have the risks associated with the disease.

The Dangers of Having Myopia

There are different types of myopia as well. If a child develops myopia at a young age, we know that they are at higher risk to develop high myopia and even pathological levels of myopia. High levels of myopia can lead to an increased risk for diseases of the eye such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, and myopic maculopathy. Unfortunately, those diseases can all lead to permanent vision loss. These life-altering diseases are another layer of danger besides the obvious need for optical correction in glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.

When you have pathological or degenerative myopia, other signs can form on your eyes that your eye doctor needs to monitor over time. Lattice degeneration and lacquer cracks of the retina all show signs that the retina is under duress because the eyeball has grown excessively long. Ask your doctor about these signs and other ones such as a tilted optic nerve head disc and choroidal neovascularization that happen exponentially higher in cases of extremely high levels of myopia.

What are the Best Ways to Treat Myopia?

The best treatment is to first prevent myopia if possible. More research is being conducted in this area, but as a general rule, eye doctors are encouraging at least two hours of outdoor activity per day. More outdoor activities under natural sunlight have been associated with a lower risk of developing myopia in the first place. If your children have to do intense studying or reading, it is recommended to do as much reading as possible when the sun has set versus reading during the day.

Regular checkups with your eye doctor to diagnose myopia as early as possible are also critical. By catching myopia at an early age, there can be many different types of interventions to prevent myopia from worsening. Myopia typically begins in school-aged children and can worsen until the leveling out usually in your mid-twenties.

As far as the visual component is concerned, usually, a pair of glasses or contact lenses are sufficient. Once the eyes have stopped growing, refractive surgery procedures can be employed as well. But keep in mind that simply correcting your vision will not stop your eyes from getting worse. The root cause of myopia, an eyeball that continues to grow excessively long during our youth, needs to be addressed.

Special pharmaceutical agents such as atropine have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia considerably. Special contacts such as orthokeratology lenses worn at night are effective as well. Even soft contact lenses and glasses designed with special optics different from the traditional pair of glasses can be effective to slow down the rate of myopic progression.

Custom Orthokeratology or Overnight Contact Lenses

Orthokeratology involves using a specially designed contact lens to gently reshape the cornea. The lenses are worn only while sleeping and are removed upon awakening in the morning. There are other names for orthokeratology such as corneal reshaping treatment, gentle vision shaping system, and custom retainers. The technology works by gently flattening the curvature of the cornea to redirect light directly onto the retina.

While initially created to help improve vision so that children and adults can see more clearly, studies have shown that the technology is extremely effective in reducing the rate of myopia progression. The theory is that light is focused in front of the retina in your peripheral vision. This effect changes the optical signals the eye receives to stimulate eye growth. Like all contact lenses, patients need to be diligent in handwashing and cleaning and disinfecting the lenses for safe use. However, studies show that with proper hygiene ‘ortho-k’ is an incredibly safe and effective treatment for treating children of almost any age.

Atropine

Atropine is a pharmaceutical agent that can be made into an eye drop. This eye drop has been used for many years to treat children with amblyopia, sometimes called a ‘lazy eye’. It can be used to dilate the pupils of the eye and also used to treat uveitis as well. What we’ve learned as well is that the use of a diluted concentration of atropine can also slow down the speed of myopia progression. The mechanism of action is still little known, but we believe that it blocks certain signals of the eye to reduce the signal to grow longer. By slowing down the speed at which the axial length increases, this can directly impact the rate of myopic progression.

Custom Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses

More contact lenses are being designed and FDA approved to slow down myopic progression. The MiSight contact lens is an example that has been shown to slow down the rate of myopia by almost 60% compared to control groups. These lenses have different powers throughout the lens that optically focuses light in front of the peripheral retina. By designing these special powers, a patient can wear a simple contact lens during the day to treat both the vision problems associated with myopia as well as prevent the eye from growing too long.

Special Myopia Treating Eyeglasses

More glasses are coming out that can also redirect light in a similar fashion to orthokeratology and soft multifocal contact lenses. This is a particularly exciting alternative for patients who cannot tolerate contact lenses and are wary of putting pharmaceutical drugs into their children’s bodies. From large bifocal eyeglasses to lenses with specialized rings of power in them, lenses are becoming more and more advanced to prevent axial length elongation.

Treehouse Eyes Can Help Prevent Myopia Progression

The good news is we help prevent or slow down myopia progression in kids—just like yours—so they can have their best shot at academic and social success! Above are four of the best ways we treat myopic progression once your child has been diagnosed with myopia. Orthokeratology involves reshaping the eye gently with a contact lens while sleeping. Atropine involves an eye drop that can signal the eye to grow a little slower. Custom soft multifocal lenses are worn during the day. And even specially designed glasses are on the horizon to improve the progression of myopia.

The Treehouse Eyes eye doctors use state-of-the-art equipment to develop a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our non-invasive treatments include customized contact lenses and special prescription eye drops. Moreover, data shows that our patent-pending Treehouse Vision System® treatment plan can decrease myopia progression by 78%.

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, call 408-502-9282 or to see a list of all providers near you visit Treehouse Eyes today.

10 Ways to Give Your Eyes Some Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the time to express your love and appreciation to those you care about most. But it’s also a great opportunity to take the time to pamper yourself — so why not start with your eyes?

Practice these 10 healthy lifestyle habits to help protect your eye health and vision.

1. Be Mindful of the Food You Eat

Fill your plate with fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. A well-balanced diet is good for your body and can lower your risk of eye disease.

Studies show that foods high in vitamins A, C, E, Omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin are especially beneficial for promoting eye health.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day will keep your body hydrated and your eyes moist — which is essential for preventing dry eye syndrome. To add some flavor to your water, try adding a splash of lemon juice or swap some of those glasses of water for an herbal tea or other non-caffeinated beverage. Caffeinated drinks have a dehydrating effect, so try to limit your coffee consumption as much as possible.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is widely known for its physical and mental health benefits, but studies show that it can also lower your risk of serious eye conditions and diseases. Cardio exercise in particular has been shown to lower eye pressure and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye. So grab your gym bag and get moving!

4. Don’t Smoke

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, there’s no better time than now. Smoking tobacco significantly raises your risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and can also lead to their early development.

Smoking also robs the body of the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain eye health, and contains around 7,000 chemicals that can lead to eye irritation and dry eye.

5. Practice Good Makeup Hygiene

While wearing makeup can accentuate your eyes and make you feel more beautiful, it’s important to note that if not used properly, certain makeup products can adversely affect eye health.

To keep your eyes and vision healthy, make sure to:

  • Clean your brushes and applicators regularly
  • Toss any expired products, or eye makeup you’ve used during an eye infection
  • Only apply makeup to the outer margin of your eyelids
  • Remove your makeup before going to bed
  • Never share makeup or use in-store testers

Following these safety tips will help to lower your risk of eye infections and other serious complications.

6. Wear Sunglasses

Studies show that prolonged UV exposure can damage the eyes and lead to the development of sight-threatening eye conditions, like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, in the future.

Purchase a pair of stylish sunglasses with 100% UV protection and wear them any time you venture outdoors — the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off of snow, sand, water and pavement. So keep a pair of sunglasses next to your front door and a spare pair in your bag or car to ensure you have UV protection wherever you go.

7. Prevent Eye Injuries

About 90% of vision loss from eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the right eye protection.

Protective eyewear like sports goggles or glasses with polycarbonate lenses are designed with sturdy materials that are less likely to break or shatter while you play sports, and can protect your eyes from small particles that fly in the air when you mow the lawn or engage in DIY projects.

8. Learn First Aid for Eye Injuries

Let’s be real, accidents can happen even if we take all the right measures to protect ourselves. But knowing what to do in case of an unexpected eye injury can potentially save you or someone you love from permanent eye damage or vision loss.

Note: Any type of eye injury should be taken seriously, and promptly examined by an eye doctor.

9. Avoid Digital Eye Strain

Prolonged screen time can cause eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision and headaches — and lead to a condition called digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

Avoid symptoms of digital eye strain by limiting screen time as much as possible. If prolonged screen time is unavoidable, practice the 20-20-20 rule: set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to take breaks every 20 minutes to focus on an image at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

10. Visit Your Eye Doctor

Regular eye exams are crucial when it comes to maintaining your eye health. With an eye exam, your eye doctor can identify early signs of sight-threatening eye diseases and conditions — enabling earlier treatment and increasing your chances for optimal results.

From all of us at River Oaks Family Optometry in San Jose, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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What’s the difference between an eye exam and vision screening?

Vision screenings are basic tests of visual acuity, generally conducted by a school nurse or pediatrician. These screenings can’t identify many vision conditions that impact learning or work performance, and are unable to detect ocular health problems.

A comprehensive eye exam, which is performed by an eye doctor, includes tests for visual acuity and functional vision, as well as close examination of the inner and outer structures of the eye.

How often do I need to have an eye exam?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), it is important to have your eyes examined every one to two years, depending on your age, whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, your family history of eye disease, and your ocular health to date. Annual eye exams help your eye doctor monitor your eye health and easily identify any changes in your vision.

What Does Myopia Mean?

Dr and patient min

You’ve probably heard the term myopia before. But what exactly does myopia mean? Is it a disease? How should I cure or treat myopia? If I wear glasses, will it make my myopia even worse? This article covers everything you need to know about what it means to have myopia.

The Classic Definition of Myopia

Classically defined myopia is a vision condition where you will see objects up close much more clearly than objects you see far away. Another word to describe myopia is nearsightedness and these words are used interchangeably at times. Myopia happens when the eyeball is too long or if the front part of the eye called the cornea is too steep. The majority of the time, however, myopia occurs because the eyeball size, or the axial length, is too large. When this happens, a clear image doesn’t land far enough back onto the back of the eye called the retina.

Recent research shows that myopia affects more than 42% of the United States population. This number has been increasing every year at epidemic levels worldwide as we expect half of the world to have myopia by 2050. While many scientists initially believed that genetics were the primary cause for developing myopia, we now know that the environment in which we grow up can tremendously impact the level of myopia we have as adults. Increased digital device usage, lack of outdoor activity, and too much near work have been associated with developing high levels of myopia.

The Dangers of Having Myopia

There are different types of myopia as well. If a child develops myopia at a young age, we know that they are at higher risk to develop high myopia and even pathological levels of myopia. High levels of myopia can lead to an increased risk for diseases of the eye such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, and myopic maculopathy. Unfortunately, those diseases can all lead to permanent vision loss. These life-altering diseases are another layer of danger besides the obvious need for optical correction in glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.

When you have pathological or degenerative myopia, other signs can form on your eyes that your eye doctor needs to monitor over time. Lattice degeneration and lacquer cracks of the retina all show signs that the retina is under duress because the eyeball has grown excessively long. Ask your doctor about these signs and other ones such as a tilted optic nerve head disc and choroidal neovascularization that happen exponentially higher in cases of extremely high levels of myopia.

What are the Best Ways to Treat Myopia?

The best treatment is to first prevent myopia if possible. More research is being conducted in this area, but as a general rule, eye doctors are encouraging at least two hours of outdoor activity per day. More outdoor activities under natural sunlight have been associated with a lower risk of developing myopia in the first place. If your children have to do intense studying or reading, it is recommended to do as much reading as possible when the sun has set versus reading during the day.

Regular checkups with your eye doctor to diagnose myopia as early as possible is also critical. By catching myopia at an early age, there can be many different types of interventions to prevent myopia from worsening. Myopia typically begins in school-aged children and can worsen until the leveling out usually in your mid-twenties.

As far as the visual component is concerned, usually, a pair of glasses or contact lenses are sufficient. Once the eyes have stopped growing, refractive surgery procedures can be employed as well. But keep in mind that simply correcting your vision will not stop your eyes from getting worse. The root cause of myopia, an eyeball that continues to grow excessively long during our youth, needs to be addressed.

Special pharmaceutical agents such as atropine have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia considerably. Special contacts such as orthokeratology lenses worn at night are effective as well. Even soft contact lenses and glasses designed with special optics different from the traditional pair of glasses can be effective to slow down the rate of myopic progression.

Myopia Roundup

Regardless of your age or background, it is important to get educated about myopia because it is a widespread disease of the eye. Seeing your eye doctor or chart a proper course of action to prevent or treat myopia is incumbent on every parent in this new digital age. It is not just the digital age as well, results coming from studies of children after the COVID year of 2020 give strong evidence that the environment that COVID induced with social distancing may be causing the largest spike in myopia amongst children we’ve ever seen. Myopia is now viewed as a disease worth treating.

Treehouse Eyes Can Help Prevent Myopia Progression

The good news is we help prevent or slow down myopia progression in kids—just like yours—so they can have their best shot at academic and social success! Above are four of the best ways we treat myopic progression once your child has been diagnosed with myopia. Orthokeratology involves reshaping the eye gently with a contact lens while sleeping. Atropine involves an eye drop that can signal the eye to grow a little slower. Custom soft multifocal lenses are worn during the day. And even specially designed glasses are on the horizon to improve the progression of myopia.

The Treehouse Eyes eye doctors use state-of-the-art equipment to develop a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our non-invasive treatments include customized contact lenses and special prescription eye drops. Moreover, data shows that our patent-pending Treehouse Vision System® treatment plan can decrease myopia progression by 78%.

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.

The Four Best Ways to Treat and Manage Myopia

If you or your children have myopia and it is getting worse each year, this article is for you. We will be discussing the four best ways to treat your myopia so it no longer gets worse. Everything we discuss is based on solid science and research, double-masked clinical trials, and recommendations based on mountains of peer-reviewed data. Certainly, we’ve heard and researched other more holistic approaches, if they turn out to be effective, know that this is surely a growing field however and as things change you’ll certainly hear it from us first!

What is Myopia?

Before you can defeat your enemy, you need to know exactly what it is. Myopia is a disease of the eye that is usually the result of an eyeball that has grown too long. We call how long the eyeball is the ‘axial length’. When the axial length grows excessively long, your vision will suffer in direct correlation. So any treatment we discuss has to show efficacy in its ability to reduce axial length elongation compared to a control group. Other times, the cornea may be too steep which can also cause myopia. However, for the sake of this article, we will address the major cause of myopia which is the excessive axial length of the eye. As when we talk about managing myopia, we will be talking about ways that have shown clinical evidence in slowing down axial length growth.

Custom Orthokeratology or Overnight Contact Lenses

Orthokeratology involves using a specially designed contact lens to gently reshape the cornea. The lenses are worn only while sleeping and are removed upon awakening in the morning. There are other names for orthokeratology such as corneal reshaping treatment, gentle vision shaping system, and custom retainers. The technology works by gently flattening the curvature of the cornea to redirect light directly onto the retina.

While initially created to help improve vision so that children and adults can see more clearly, studies have shown that the technology is extremely effective in reducing the rate of myopia progression. The theory is that light is focused in front of the retina in your peripheral vision. This effect changes the optical signals the eye receives to stimulate eye growth. Like all contact lenses, patients need to be diligent in handwashing and cleaning, and disinfecting the lenses for safe use. However, studies show that with proper hygiene this is an incredibly safe and effective treatment for treating children of almost any age.

Atropine

Atropine is a pharmaceutical agent that can be made into an eye drop. This eye drop has been used for many years to treat children with amblyopia, or sometimes called a ‘lazy eye’. It can be used to dilate the pupils of the eye and also used to treat uveitis as well. What we’ve learned as well is that the use of a diluted concentration of atropine can also slow down the speed of myopia progression. The mechanism of action is still little known, but we believe that it blocks certain signals of the eye to reduce the signal to grow longer. By slowing down the speed at which the axial length increases, this can directly impact the rate of myopic progression.

Custom Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses

More contact lenses are being designed and FDA approved to slow down myopic progression. The MiSight contact lens is an example that has been shown to slow down the rate of myopia by almost 60% compared to control groups. These lenses have different powers throughout the lens that optically focuses light in front of the peripheral retina. By designing these special powers, a patient can wear a simple contact lens during the day to treat both the vision problems associated with myopia as well as prevent the eye from growing too long.

Special Myopia Treating Eyeglasses

More glasses are coming out that can also redirect light in a similar fashion to orthokeratology and soft multifocal contact lenses. This is a particularly exciting alternative for patients who cannot tolerate contact lenses and are wary of putting pharmaceutical drugs into their children’s bodies. From large bifocal eyeglasses to lenses with specialized rings of power in them, lenses are becoming more and more advanced to prevent axial length elongation.

Treehouse Eyes Can Help Prevent Myopia Progression

The good news is we help prevent or slow down myopia progression in kids—just like yours—so they can have their best shot at academic and social success! Above are four of the best ways we treat myopic progression once your child has been diagnosed with myopia. Orthokeratology involves reshaping the eye gently with a contact lens while sleeping. Atropine involves an eye drop that can signal the eye to grow a little slower. Custom soft multifocal lenses are worn during the day. And even specially designed glasses are on the horizon to improve the progression of myopia.

The Treehouse Eyes eye doctors use state-of-the-art equipment to develop a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our non-invasive treatments include customized contact lenses and special prescription eye drops. Moreover, data shows that our patent-pending Treehouse Vision System® treatment plan can decrease myopia progression by 78%.

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.

How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyesight

Pregnancy can impact almost every part of a woman’s body and health — including her eyes. In fact, an estimated 14% of pregnant women report experiencing visual changes during pregnancy that usually resolve on their own within a couple of months after giving birth.

Knowing the different visual symptoms that can present when you’re expecting can help alert you to potential underlying health concerns that your physician may need to address.

Normal Visual Changes During Pregnancy

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is the most common visual symptom that pregnant women may experience. Hormonal fluctuations are usually to blame for the temporary decrease in visual acuity, and your eyesight will likely return to normal soon after giving birth.

The influx of pregnancy hormones causes fluid retention in some areas of the body and can cause the cornea to thicken slightly. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused accurately and vision may be blurred.

Less commonly, blurred vision can signal gestational diabetes, a pregnancy complication affecting 6-9% of pregnant women. The rise in blood sugar level impacts the focusing lens of the eye, leading to blurry vision. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, including gestational diabetes, it’s a good idea to book an eye exam to monitor for retinal changes.

Blurred vision is also a common side effect of dry eye syndrome, a condition characterized by tears that don’t adequately lubricate the eyes, which can be brought on or exacerbated by pregnancy.

Eye Dryness

Pregnancy hormones can cause a reduction in the amount of tears your eyes produce or affect the quality of the tears. These changes can affect a woman throughout her entire pregnancy, but studies show that eye dryness is particularly common in the last trimester. For this reason, some women find it difficult to wear contact lenses in their third trimester and temporarily switch to glasses.

Eye Puffiness

Yet another body part that swells during pregnancy: the eyelids and tissues around the eyes.

Pregnancy-related water retention may cause your eyelids to appear puffier than during your pre-pregnancy days. You may also notice darker areas under the eyes. If your puffy eyes bother you, try limiting your salt and caffeine intake, as they can worsen the problem.

Visual Changes That May Indicate a Problem

The following visual changes warrant a prompt call to your eye doctor or obstetrician to rule out any underlying complications.

Flashes or floaters

Seeing stars during pregnancy can signal high blood pressure, which is associated with preeclampsia — a serious medical condition that requires close monitoring by your physician and possible treatment.

It’s crucial to have your blood pressure monitored throughout your pregnancy, as preeclampsia can potentially endanger the life of mother and child, as well as damage the cornea and retina.

Temporary vision loss

Temporary vision loss is concerning for pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. Vision loss is another warning sign of preeclampsia, so contact your doctor promptly if you suddenly lose any portion of your visual field.

Sensitivity to light

Light-sensitivity can either be a normal side effect of fluid retention in the eye, or it can signal dangerously high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

How We Can Help

At ​​River Oaks Family Optometry, our goal is to keep your vision and eyes healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you experience any visual symptoms, we can help by thoroughly examining your eyes to determine the underlying cause and provide you with guidance on what next steps to take.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time, when self care should be at the forefront — and that includes comprehensive eye care.

To schedule an eye exam or learn more about our eye care services, call River Oaks Family Optometry in San Jose today!

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Q&A With Our Eye Doctor in San Jose, California

Why are regular eye exams important?

Having your eyes evaluated by an optometrist on a regular basis is crucial for detecting early signs of eye diseases and changes in your prescription, including during pregnancy. Many serious eye diseases don’t cause any noticeable symptoms until they’ve progressed to late stages, when damage to vision may be irreversible. Whether or not you wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction, ask your optometrist about how often to schedule a routine eye exam.

Will my baby need an eye exam after birth?

According to the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists, babies should have an eye exam within the first 6-12 months of life, even in the absence of noticeable vision problems. Healthy vision is a significant part of healthy overall development, so be sure not to skip your baby’s eye exams!

What Is the Long-Term Impact of Virtual Learning on Children’s Eyes?

Kids, like adults, are spending more time online. At some point during the COVID-19 pandemic, many children attended school via Zoom and completed assignments online. The trend toward more screen time — whether playing games or being in touch with friends — is likely to continue even after everyone returns to the classroom.

We already know that prolonged screen time can cause digital eye strain as well as dry eye symptoms, among other problems in children and adults. There is some indication that extended exposure to blue light may impact the development of retinal cells. However, studies on actual subjects still need to be done to establish a clear connection.

Dry Eyes

Spending a long time in front of screens can impact how quickly our tears evaporate, because we blink around 66% less when using a computer compared to other daily activities. When tears evaporate too quickly and aren’t replenished with blinking our eyes start to feel dry and gritty. So remember to blink every few seconds to prevent your eyes from drying out!

Blue Light Exposure

Screens, such as those that appear on computers, phones and tablets emit blue light. Recent studies have shown that overexposure to blue light can damage the retinal cells at the back of your eyes. This may increase the risk of vision issues such as age-related macular degeneration which eventually leads to permanent loss of vision.

Excess blue light has also been shown to disrupt the circadian rhythms that regulate our sleep patterns, as it tricks your internal clock into thinking that it is the middle of the day. This may lead to difficulty in falling asleep, insomnia, and daytime fatigue.

Digital Eye Strain

Nearly 60% of people who routinely use computers or digital devices experience symptoms of digital eye strain — also called computer vision syndrome. Symptoms of eye strain include eye fatigue and discomfort, dry eye, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, eye twitching, and red eyes.

Taking frequent breaks from your screen can help reduce eye strain and neck, back and shoulder pain during your workday.

It is recommended to take at least one 10-minute break every hour. During these breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to relieve tension and muscle aches.

Also, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This relaxes the focusing lens inside the eye to prevent fatigue.

How to Make Virtual Learning Safer For Your Child

The following tips can lessen the impact of screens on your child’s eyes:

  • Reduce overall screen time
  • Encourage frequent breaks
  • Use accessories that filter blue light (for example, blue light glasses)
  • Schedule regular eye exams

Make Sure Your Child Gets Routine Eye Exams

Children need comprehensive eye exams to assess the health of their eyes, correct their vision and spot potential problems which can affect learning and behavior.

To schedule a pediatric eye exam near you, call our optometrist in San Jose today!

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Q&A With Our Eye Doctor in San Jose, California

What are blue light glasses?

Blue light glasses, also known as computer glasses, effectively block the transmission of blue light emitted from devices and computer screens. They often include a coating to reduce glare to further reduce eye strain. These glasses can be purchased with or without a prescription.

What’s the 20-20-20 rule?

If you find yourself gazing at screens all day, whether your computer, smartphone, iPad or television, you’re at risk of experiencing eye strain. So make sure you schedule frequent breaks from your screen and follow the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. And while you’re at it, use this time to get up, walk around, and stretch.