“I read because I like reading, and if that means I need glasses then so be it”
- Gavin Wells, age 5
I was torn between being a mom and being an optometrist. The mom part of me enjoys seeing my kids read and learn, and the optometrist part of me hated seeing my kids do excessive amounts of near work knowing that it could potentially make them myopic.
I didn't fully understand the effect of myopia on children until I saw my friend’s daughter for an exam back in 2015. My friend and I go to the same church so I see them weekly, her and her daughter are attached at the hip. I've never seen a daughter more than three feet away from mom, she wouldn't go to Sunday school because she wouldn't leave her mom's side. Mom attributed that to shyness until the daughter failed a vision screening at school. She came to see me and lo and behold she was -3.00. Naturally, I fit the little girl in glasses and didn't think much of it.
I saw her a week later at church walking around with her little friends, sporting her new purple glasses. That's when it hit me, children who have uncorrected vision may not complain about not seeing, after all they may not know what normal vision looks like. Seeing that little girl gained independence and confidence, seeing her grades go up and her friendships blossom sparked in me the desire to educate parents about myopia and myopia control.
I started out with modifying the children's glasses prescription to control myopia, educating the parents and introducing the kids to better habits, but that was not enough. Once the FDA approved certain contact lenses to control myopia, I dedicated time and effort to learn more and to fit more patients in myopia-control contact lenses with great success. It brings me so much joy to tell a little kid that their prescription hasn't changed.
Myopia is also known as nearsightedness. If you can see up close but your vision blurs when looking at distant objects, you might be suffering from myopia. Myopia is caused by your eye being unable properly process light through the retina. This is why myopia is known as a refractive error.
Myopia occurs when the cornea has too much curve or the eyeball itself is elongated due to genetics or excessive near-work. High myopia is a risk factor for many ocular conditions such as retinal holes or tears, retinal detachment and even glaucoma.
Patients who are very myopic (near-sighted) may not be good candidates for some refractive surgeries such as LASIK, their glasses tend to be heavier, their contact lenses are thicker, and generally speaking don't have the best visual experience.
Controlling myopia at a young age spares your child having to deal with the above complications.
Unfortunately, there is no cure at this time. There are, however, ways to keep it from progressing, such as:
Get outside: The condition gets worse during prolonged states of near focus. Spending more time looking off into the distance gives your eyes a sort of rest.
Take a breather: These days, many professions require time on computers, and many more personal lives are heavily rooted in cell phone usage. Both situations are causing more harm than good for your vision. While you may be unable to be free of digital devices, you should give your eyes a rest. Every 20 - 30 minutes, give your eyes a couple of minutes to look at anything else further out.
Vision Exercises: The eye muscle, just like any other muscle, can be strengthened. There are exercises our optometrist can recommend to get started.
Aside from the Multi-Focal glasses or contacts, here are some other options to consider for myopia treatment:
If you are looking for myopia treatment, our eye doctor serving Katy, Houston, Cinco Ranch, Fulshear, Sealy, Columbus, Cypress, Bridgeland, and surrounding areas is ready to assist you. Call Carousel Eyecare today at (281) 666-9835 for more information or to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor.