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Myopia Management

Are Myopic Parents More Likely to Have Myopic Children?

Myopic Parents 640×350If you have myopia (nearsightedness), can you pass nearsightedness on to your children? Yes, you can. Having myopic parents greatly increases a child’s risk of developing myopia.

Due to heredity and other risk factors, myopia is reaching epidemic proportions – with more than 50% of the population expected to be myopic by 2050. That’s worrying, as having moderate to severe myopia greatly increases the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration later in life.

What Is Myopia?

If you have myopia, distant objects will appear blurred. This happens when your cornea or eye lens is oval-shaped and excessively curved. As a result, the light entering your eye focuses images in front of your retina instead of directly on it, causing blurred vision.

Can Myopia Be Inherited? What the Stats Say

The answer is yes, myopia can be passed on from parents to children. There are 40 genes that influence the eye’s development and shape, and these could be responsible for nearsightedness.

Children with one myopic parent are 1.5x more likely to develop the condition, and the risk is tripled if both parents have myopia. This makes getting a comprehensive eye exam a must for any child of nearsighted parents.

Other risk factors include spending less than two hours a day outdoors and engaging in “near work” activities like reading and spending time on an electronic device, such as a computer or cell phone. Fortunately, there are ways to manage, slow and sometimes halt myopia progression.

What’s Myopia Management?

Myopia management is a systematic approach to preventing the progression of myopia. It includes lifestyle changes and treatments that help keep your child’s myopia from progressing.

​​We use the latest technology to ensure your child’s vision remains stable and healthy for years to come.

Protect Your Child’s Vision With Myopia Management

Let us help your child diminish the risk of developing ocular disease and vision loss with our effective myopia management program. Schedule an appointment with our optometric team at Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches in Boynton Beach. We’ll use the latest technology to ensure your child’s vision remains stable and healthy for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometric team

Q: What are some ways I can reduce my child’s screen time?

  • A: It isn’t easy to change habits, but as a family, you can work together to reduce screen time. Try the following:- Set limits on total amount of screen time per day
    – Create routines around screen use–such as after homework and chores
    – Model healthy screen use for your child
    – Talk to your children about why it is important to limit screen time
    – Engage in physical activity and outdoor sports as a family

Q: When Does Myopia Typically Develop?

  • A: Myopia begins in children as young as 6 and tends to progress until roughly the age of 20. The more it progresses, and the higher the prescription, the greater your child’s risk of developing potentially sight-threatening eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment later in life.

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 561-734-2972

5 Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Screen Time

Girl sitting in front of tv screenMany of us are spending more time in front of screens, and kids are no exception. Kids socialize on their phones and play video games, and may have spent a large part of the covid pandemic learning online.

However, research has shown that too much screen time is unhealthy for adults and kids. For this reason, it’s important to teach children to adopt healthy screen-time habits.

How Does Screen Time Affect the Eyes?

The Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health study (2019), found that excessive screen time was linked to higher obesity rates, and a tendency to eat more junk foods and exercise less.

The eyes, in particular, are adversely affected by hours spent in front of the screen. This is because screens emit blue light, which has shorter wavelengths and more energy than regular light, and the intensity of the light strains the eyes. There are also questions concerning the damage it can cause to the retina.

Screen time has also been linked to higher levels of myopia in young people, according to an Anglia Ruskin University study (2021). Extensive time spent texting or watching videos on a phone led to a 30% higher risk of myopia, or nearsightedness, in young people, and combined with excessive computer use, the risk rose to 80%.

Another worrying factor is excessive exposure to blue light on the circadian rhythm, an internal clock that indicates when we should be asleep or awake. Hours of blue light exposure prior to going to bed can throw off these patterns and interfere with sleep.

How to Reduce Your Child’s Screen Time

Now the question is how should you implement these new rules? Here are 5 tips to help your child develop healthy habits while they’re still young, and help them preserve their mental and physical well-being, as well as their vision.

Set Limits

Set rules that are clear and easy to adhere to. Think about the number of hours per day you’re willing to allow your children to use the screen either for fun or for homework—factoring in a bit extra for holidays and weekends. For instance, one 1 hour per day during the week and 2-3 on the weekends. Also consider times that should be screen-free, such as during meals, before completing homework or chores, or an hour or two before bedtime.

Get Into a Routine

Once you’ve determined how much screen time should be permitted, create a routine that is manageable and easy to stick to. Setting a structure will reduce disagreements because everyone will know what’s expected of them. We recommend writing up the rules and posting them near the computer or in the family room.

For instance, assign each child an hour of screen time a day and ask them to sign up for specific slots. Leave the dinner hour vacant so no one is using screens at the time.

Set An Example

Setting rules specifying when screen time is allowed and for how long is fairly simple, but following them is a whole other thing! Modeling behavior can positively influence your kids, as they are more likely to abide by the rules if they see you setting limits on your screen time as well. Working together to limit screen time can engender a feeling of cooperation and shared goals. Instead of texting or scrolling or watching videos, spend more time together as a family doing things everyone enjoys.

Discuss WHY Screen Time Should Be Limited

Kids should not only know what the rules are but the reasons behind them. Discuss why it’s important to reduce screen time, including health issues that can arise, and explain how too much blue light can affect their eyes. Understanding the reasons behind rules can make them easier to follow.

Encourage Physical Activity, Particularly Outdoors

Your child might forget about screen time when engaged in fun activities that get the body moving. In fact, several studies have shown that children who spend a significant amount of time playing outdoors lower their risk of developing myopia (nearsightedness). Other studies have linked “near work,” such as reading and spending too much time on digital devices, to the development and progression of myopia. Myopia is more than simply an inconvenient eye condition that requires frequent correction—it can have serious sight-threatening consequences in adulthood. Namely, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, glaucoma, and even cataracts. The faster the progression, and the younger the child, the greater the risk!

So encourage your child to play outdoors for at least 30-60 minutes each day, with siblings, friends or as part of a sports team. Perhaps you can take a walk or a bike ride with them after work, or throw a Frisbee — essentially helping them get into the habit of having fun without depending on screens.

If your child has already developed myopia and you want to limit its progression, contact us today. our optometric team at Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches can help reduce or slow down myopia progression so they can live their best life.

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometric team

Q: Does blue light affect myopia?

  • A: A study in the International Journal of Ophthalmology (2018) has shown a link between extended exposure to blue light and nearsightedness or myopia. That’s because blue light has a shorter wavelength and its high frequency penetrates the front of the retina, and can potentially lead to nearsightedness. That said, there’s still more research to be done on the link between the two.

Q: What is myopia management necessary?

  • A: Myopia management helps slow myopia progression using specific proven treatments methods. This also involves making lifestyle changes, such as reducing screen time and spending more time outdoors. The goal is to keep the level of myopia as low as possible in order to reduce your child’s risk of developing vision-threatening eye diseases later in life.
  • References

Research Suggests a Link Between Childhood Obesity and High Myopia

Three kids playingMyopia (nearsightedness) is a vision condition that causes distant objects and images to appear blurry. It develops when the eye is too long or the cornea – the front covering of the eye – is too curved.

Both genetic and environmental factors have been shown to increase a child’s risk of myopia. But now, researchers have discovered that childhood obesity may be a risk factor for myopia progression and high (severe) myopia.

In recent years, high myopia has become a growing concern among eye care professionals because it raises the risk of developing sight-threatening eye conditions in adulthood.

The Link Between Obesity and High Myopia

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), high myopia is more prevalent among children with higher body mass index (BMI) levels.

Starting in 2016, a study involving 1,114 Korean children and adolescents (aged 5 to 18) was conducted to determine whether there is a correlation between childhood obesity and high myopia. Data was collected for each participant detailing any family history of myopia, diagnosis of a refractive error, waist circumference and BMI.

The results of the study found that the overweight and obese participants were at a greater risk for high myopia, compared to those with normal BMI levels.

Although a firm link between obesity and high myopia has yet to be established, it is important for parents to be aware that their child’s weight could potentially impact not only their general health, but their eye health as well.

How Is Progressive Myopia Treated?

Myopia typically progresses gradually until the eyes reach their adult size, usually at around age 20. However, progressive myopia that requires stronger vision correction each year can be a cause for concern, as it can increase the risk of vision-robbing eye diseases later in life, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

Fortunately, myopia management has been proven to help slow or even stop myopia progression. In fact, several studies show that myopia management can slow myopia progression by up to 78%.

At Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches, we offer personalized myopia management programs to help protect your child’s eyes and vision. Contact us today to book an appointment.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometric team

Q: Is myopia dangerous for children?

  • A: While myopia is not a dangerous vision condition in and of itself, higher levels of nearsightedness can increase a child’s risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment and macular degeneration in the future.

Q: Is my child a candidate for myopia management?

  • A: Most children with myopia are candidates for a myopia management program. Although it is best to begin a treatment program as early as possible, many older children and young adults can also benefit from myopia management.

References:

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 561-734-2972

The Link Between Myopia Progression and COVID Confinement

The Link Between Myopia Progression and COVID Confinement 640×350Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic eye doctors began to notice that children’s myopia was worsening. Researchers set out to learn whether there was, in fact, a link between the pandemic and increased myopia progression, and if so, why.

How The Pandemic Affected Children’s Vision

A recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology (2021) found that children aged 6 to 13 experienced an increased rate of myopia progression since the beginning of the pandemic, and the lockdowns and restrictions that accompanied it.

The researchers examined the rate of myopia progression from 2015 to 2020 in more than 120,000 children from 10 elementary schools, based on school vision screenings. By the end of the study, children were shown to have significantly higher rates of myopia progression in 2020 than in previous years.

The higher rate of progression was especially severe in children between the ages of 6 and 8. Researchers theorized that the children’s earlier stage of visual development might have been the crucial factor.

Other studies have already determined that children who spend at least 2 hours a day outdoors experience less myopia progression than their peers who stay mostly indoors.

Researchers from the National Eye Institute found that children who spent significant time outdoors — about 14 hours a week — significantly reduced their chances of needing glasses for myopia. Among children with two myopic parents, the chances of needing glasses are roughly 60% if they don’t spend significant time outdoors. However, this study found that, after spending the prescribed 14 hours per week outside, the same children’s risk of myopia dropped to around 20%.

Similar results appear in a study published by the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (February 2019), that shows a significant link between the amount of time children spend engaged in near-work tasks and increased myopia progression.

Taken together, these studies give us a clearer picture of the challenges children have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and why myopia rates in children have soared.

What Can Parents Learn From All Of This?

Parents should make an effort to encourage their children to go outside as often as possible and to spend more time away from screens and other near-work tasks. Moreover, progressive myopia in childhood has been linked to heightened risks of developing sight-robbing eye diseases later in life, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.

If you’re concerned about your child’s myopia, make an appointment with their eye doctor as soon as possible, as delays in seeking professional advice can make myopia management more challenging in the future.

Our practice offers myopia management to patients from Boynton Beach, Palm Springs, Wellington, and Jupiter, Florida and surrounding communities.

 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33443542/

https://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(17)33464-4/fulltext

 

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 561-734-2972

Can Myopia be Cured?

Can Myopia be Cured 640×350Myopia is not simply an inconvenience—it can have serious sight-threatening consequences in adulthood. And while myopia (nearsightedness) has no known cure, there are certain treatments and management strategies that can (and should) be implemented when a child has myopia.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a common refractive error that makes it hard to see distant objects clearly. This refractive error occurs when light passing through the eye does not focus correctly on the retina at the back of the eye.

Nearsighted people see distant items as blurry, while nearby objects tend to remain clear. Although eyeglasses and standard contact lenses can correct a person’s vision, they do not cure or slow down myopia’s progression.

Myopia usually starts in childhood and tends to increase as the eyeballs rapidly grow. It can progress slowly or quickly, especially between the ages of 8 and 18, at which time it typically stabilizes.

Myopia isn’t just about having to wear corrective glasses or lenses. As myopia worsens, the child is more likely to develop serious eye diseases later in life that can result in irreversible vision loss or blindness, like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

Treatments to Slow and Prevent Myopia Progression

While there is no cure for myopia, there are a number of treatments that can slow its progression and even halt it completely in children and young teens.

Our experts work directly with each family to create treatment plans tailored to your child’s specific needs. We thoroughly evaluate your child’s vision, prescribe the treatment most suited to them, and track their progress to ensure the best possible outcome. Follow-up visits are usually scheduled every 6-12 months to evaluate the treatment’s effectiveness.

Other ways to slow or prevent myopia

Outdoor activity and natural lighting

According to a recent study published by Ophthalmic Research (2020), children who spend more time outside (at least 14 hours per week) have lower levels of myopia (or none at all) as compared to those who spend significantly fewer hours outdoors.

Limited time on devices

Another study, published by PLOS One (2015), found a relationship between near-work activities and myopia progression. While more research is needed, various studies have found that excessive time spent on near-work activities like reading a book, using a computer and playing games on digital devices is linked to myopia. As a result, eye doctors recommend that parents keep track of and limit the amount of time their child spends on a phone or other digital devices.

If your child has myopia, book a myopia management assessment to determine whether they could benefit from this life-changing treatment. The child’s age, as well as their maturity level and lifestyle, will all play a role in determining which treatment to offer and the best time to begin myopia management.

Speak with our optometric team, who will advise you on the best myopia management treatment options for your child’s vision and lifestyle.

Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches serves patients from Boynton Beach, Palm Springs, Wellington, and Jupiter, Florida and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometric team

Q: What is progressive myopia?

  • A: Progressive myopia is nearsightedness that worsens year after year. Severe myopia, also known as high myopia, can develop as a result of this trend, which can have significant eye health consequences in late adulthood.

Q: Can myopia lead to blindness?

  • A: Myopia in childhood has been linked to serious, vision-threatening eye conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration later in life. Furthermore, extreme myopia can progress to a stage known as degenerative myopia, which can result in significant loss of vision and even legal blindness.

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 561-734-2972

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 Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches today!

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometric team

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.



Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches serves patients from Boynton Beach, Palm Springs, Wellington, and Jupiter, all throughout Florida.

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 561-734-2972

 

Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches serves patients from Boynton Beach, Palm Springs, Wellington, and Jupiter, all throughout Florida.

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 Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches today!

 

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometric team

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.
Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches serves patients from Boynton Beach, Palm Springs, Wellington, and Jupiter, Florida and surrounding communities.

 

 

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 561-734-2972