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Myopia control … really?

Myopia (nearsightedness) is real, and so is myopia control. While not an epidemic in the true sense (think Ebola), higher levels of myopia puts one at risk for such eye diseases as glaucoma and retinal detachment. In Asia, myopia is now at epidemic proportions with 80- 95% of children and young adults becoming myopia by their mid-20s. In the United States, we are not that far behind, since myopia has increased 66% in the last three decades. What’s the cause? Too much television, too much screen time of all sorts (iPad, XBox), or something else? Much research needs to be done, but we know that exposure to natural sunlight BEFORE myopia sets in has been shown to have a protective effect.

In my practice, I have been fitting Ortho-K lenses, specifically using the Paragon CRT system, since about 2002. This is a temporary and reversible form of vision correction that confers great vision throughout the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses. Similar to oral braces and a retainer, GP contact lenses are worn at night to gently reshape the front of the eye. After about 2- 3 weeks, the child/tween/teen has good daytime vision. I can attest that most of my patients are not only still free of daytime glasses or contacts, but many have held their myopia (nearsightedness) in check for more than 7- 10+ years.

So get your children outdoors at a young age. And get them in for a yearly comprehensive eye examination.