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Nearsightedness

Childhood Myopia Global Crisis!

What Is Myopia?

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates, causing light rays to focus in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it, while looking at something far away. So, people with nearsightedness perceive distant objects as blurred while close-up objects can remain clear.

Myopia tends to develop during childhood, when the eyeballs rapidly grow (along with the rest of the body), mainly between the ages of 8-18. It can worsen slowly or quickly, but it is not simply an inconvenience. People with progressive myopia are more likely to develop serious eye disease like cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration and glaucoma later in life—conditions which may lead to permanent loss of vision and even blindness.

How To Know Whether Your Child Is Myopic

When it comes to the prevalence of myopia (nearsightedness), the statistics are staggering. By 2050, nearly half of the world’s population—about 5 billion people—will be myopic. Below are a few useful tips to help you prevent your child from being part of that statistic.

Below are some telltale signs to watch for

  • Blurred distance vision – Objects in the distance are blurred; kids may complain that they can’t see the board
  • Headaches – When myopia isn’t corrected, it can cause eye strain and headaches.
  • Head tilting or squinting – If your child squints or tilts his or her head while watching TV, for example, it may be a symptom of myopia.
  • Looking at objects too closely – If you notice your child moving closer to the TV or squinting as they try to see the writing on the board, it may indicate myopia.

What Parents Can Do to Slow Their Child’s Myopia Progression

  • Encourage your child to go outdoors for at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Studies show that playing outdoors reduces the risk of developing myopia and slows its progression.
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends staring at a screen, reading and doing close work such as homework.
  • When your child uses a digital screen, make sure that it isn’t too close to the face.
  • Teach the 20-20-20 rule: During screen time, take a break every 20 minutes to look at an object across the room or out the window about 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

How We Can Help

Certain eye doctors offer treatment methods known as myopia control or myopia management. These include orthokeratology, bifocal or multifocal contact lenses, and eye drops like low dose atropine. Regular eyeglasses and contact lenses don’t prevent its progression but do correct myopia so the child can see and function normally.

If your child shows signs of myopia, schedule an eye exam with Dr. Karen A. Norman & Associates in Annapolis as soon as possible.

Book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT or Call 410-401-8155

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How is myopia diagnosed?

Your child’s eye doctor will perform a thorough pediatric eye exam to diagnose myopia, which often includes a visual acuity test, where the eye doctor will use an eye chart made up of letters of varied sizes. If the test results indicate myopia, then the optometrist may shine a light into their eyes and evaluate the reflection off the retina to determine the degree of refractive error for their prescription.

Can myopia lead to blindness?

High myopia may increase your child’s risk of developing more serious eye conditions later in life, such as cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma. Left untreated, high myopia complications can sometimes lead to blindness—which is why routine eye exams are critical.

Multifocal Contact Lenses For People Over 40

If your 40th birthday has come and gone, you may have started to notice some changes in your vision. You might find yourself holding written material further away from your face in order to clearly read the fine print, or have a harder time adjusting your focus from distant objects to near ones.

The inability to see things clearly at various distances can be frustrating.   

Fortunately, this problem can be solved by wearing multifocal contact lenses. Below, we’ll explain the cause and symptoms of presbyopia, along with the many benefits of wearing multifocal contact lenses.

What Is Presbyopia? 

Presbyopia is the natural and gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on near objects. 

The crystalline lens in your eye focuses light onto the retina, and it adapts its shape depending on what you focus on. From infancy until your late 30s or early 40s, the lens is usually clear, thin and very flexible, allowing fast adjustments for sharp vision at all distances.

From age 40-50 the lens becomes considerably thicker and much less flexible. This makes it harder for the lens to change shape and to accurately refract light when focusing on near objects. 

This farsightedness can be easily corrected with reading glasses, bifocal or multifocal glasses, monovision contact lenses, as well as multifocal contact lenses. 

Multifocal Contact Lenses for Presbyopia

Multifocal contact lenses contain multiple lens powers to provide vision correction for different visual zones so you can clearly see objects that are in the distance, nearby and everything in between. 

Certain multifocal contact lenses have 2 lens powers (bifocals), for near and distance vision, and others have a more gradual power change, similar to progressive lenses. These contact lenses can be made using soft materials or rigid gas-permeable materials, and are available as daytime or extended night-wear lenses. 

Note that multifocal contact lenses are not perfect for all situations and some patients may need to try several brands or designs before finding one that works well for them. To spare you the confusion, your optometrist will guide you towards the ones best suited to your eyes and lifestyle needs. 

To discover options beyond reading glasses, call Dr Karen A Norman & Associates, Optometrists, in Annapolis Mall to schedule your contact lens consultation today!

Q&A: 

#1: Are there any “cons” related to wearing multifocal contact lenses? 

Many multifocal contact lenses use a “simultaneous vision” design that allows seeing far and near simultaneously through concentric zones. Some people have problems adapting to this, noticing hazy vision and less contrast than single vision lenses. You can ask your optometrist to be fit with multifocal lenses and get a  “test run” or trial period.  

#2: When does presbyopia stabilize?

Most people will start to develop age-related vision changes starting in their early to mid-40s. At around 60 years of age, your eyesight should begin to stabilize and you’ll notice less of a need to update your lens prescription. Nonetheless, yearly comprehensive eye exams at this age are more important than ever, as they enable Drs Norman and Coyner to detect potential eye conditions and diseases early on.