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Myopia

Myopia and Contact Lenses

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a very common eye condition that causes a person to be unable to see objects clearly from a distance. This condition affects an estimated 30% of the world population today, and that number is projected to grow to as much as 50% by 2050.

But did you know that, beyond poor eyesight, myopia can also pose a long-term threat to your kid’s vision and eye health? Eye doctors warn that significant data points to a connection between myopia and development of potentially sight-threatening eye conditions, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, later in life.

Fortunately, our Albuquerque eye doctors offer extensive pediatric eye care, including contact lenses meant to address myopia and stop or slow its progression. Want to know more about contact lenses for myopia? Take a look below!

Contacts That Can Help With Myopia

Finding the right type of contact lens to help your child with their myopia starts with a comprehensive eye exam with our local optometrist at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses. Once we’ve taken a look at your kid’s eyes, we’ll be able to assess how best to help.

 

Here are some of the most popular options available to help your child:

Orthokeratology (Ortho-k)

Ortho-k lenses are a special type of contacts that are worn at night, which gently reshape your cornea as you sleep. This allows you to wake up the next morning and enjoy improved vision for the whole day without further need for contacts or glasses.

Ortho-k lenses have also been shown to slow the progression of myopia in kids.

The daily effects of these lenses are temporary, so it is essential that they be worn every night to maximize their ability to improve your child’s vision, as well as slow their myopia progression significantly.

Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses

Though primarily meant to treat vision problems associated with presbyopia, bifocal and multifocal lenses have proven to be effective also in slowing myopia progression.

Specifically, bifocal and multifocal lenses that have distance vision correction in the center and near vision correction on the sides have been shown to stop or significantly slow children’s myopia.

Unfortunately, there is no way to cure myopia. Glasses and contacts can help correct vision, but often don’t prevent vision from getting worse, leaving your child vulnerable to eye disease later in life. Find out more about how myopia management can change this, and preserve your child’s long-term vision and eye health.

Contact our Albuquerque eye doctors at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses today!

Q&A With Your Local Eye Doctor

Does myopia management work for adults?

Though myopia management is primarily effective in children, some research has shown that it can still be helpful for adults as well. Primary methods of adults myopia management include ortho-k lenses and multifocal glasses and contacts.

Can myopia cause blindness?

Most of the time myopia does not cause significant short-term vision loss beyond the characteristic nearsightedness. However, an extreme form of myopia, known as degenerative myopia, is a leading cause of legal blindness. Fortunately, it is quite rare, affecting only 2% of the population. Nonetheless, comprehensive eye exams are essential to ensure that myopia doesn’t cause significant vision loss.

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 Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses, 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.
Our practice serves patients from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, South Valley, and Sandia Heights, New Mexico and surrounding communities.

References:

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 505-806-1432

What to Know About Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Blue light blocking glasses has been a trending topic. These are glasses or lenses that are specially designed to block blue light that emits from LED or CFL lights, computer monitors, phones, TVs, and other digital screens. Blue light can come from almost any light source including the sun.

Our current lifestyles expose our eyes to more blue light for longer periods during the day. Where previously we may have only been exposed to blue light from the sun, many people now spend more hours in front of screens or under fluorescent lights throughout the day and after the sun has gone down. For some, this exposure can cause eye strain and physical discomfort.

Benefits of Blue Light

Blue light can boost our moods, help with memory and cognitive function, and make us more alert. Blue light is an important factor in regulating our circadian rhythm – the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. 

The growth and development of children’s eyes could be affected by not getting enough blue light from the sunlight. Some studies are showing that a deficiency in blue light exposure could contribute to the recent increase in myopia.

Blue Light and Damage to the Eyes

There is not currently enough evidence to suggest that blue light from digital screens will cause any harm. Intense blue light from sunlight can raise the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye diseases, the same level is not emitted from computers or other artificial blue light sources.

More studies are needed to understand if blue light from monitors causes optic damage but there is no harm in wearing blue light blocking lenses.

There is some concern that long-term exposure, the nearness of screens, and the length of time spent on them could affect eyes over time and lead to digital eye strain. People also tend to blink less while looking at screens causing the eyes to feel dry, irritated, or burn.

Discuss any concerns you have with your eye health with your local optometrist. Factors such as age, eye conditions, length of exposure, and general eye health can play a role in your decision to use blue light blocking lenses. Your primary eye care doctor will be able to help you make an informed decision.

What is known, is that too much blue light exposure at night can disrupt the circadian rhythm. This can lead to problems with sleep which affects your overall health. 

Digital Eye Strain

A survey from the American Optometric Society found that most adults, 58%, experience some form of digital eye strain. The study conducted in 2015 noted the average U.S. worker spends about seven hours a day on the computer at work or home. A more recent survey showed that at the end of 2019, U.S. adults were spending almost 12 hours in front of a screen. The increased screen time may create digital eye strain for some individuals. It may also make symptoms of digital eye strain worse.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Individuals can experience digital eye strain differently. Common symptoms can include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Tearing or watery eyes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Neck strain

How to Ease Digital Eye Strain

There are steps you can take to reduce digital eye strain:

  • Take breaks from screens often
  • Increase the contrast on your screen
  • Use artificial tears
  • Try to minimize glare
  • Blink frequently.

Choosing Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Although science hasn’t been able to verify that blue light causes eye diseases, many people who’ve tried a pair of blue light blocking glasses have found them to be effective at improving sleep and reducing eye strain. They can protect your eyes from artificial blue light. 

We use Zeiss lenses at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses offering superior technology. Blue light blocking technology is incorporated into the lenses themselves as opposed to just using coatings that provide up to 50% less reflection. Together this can help to reduce digital eye strain and eye fatigue.

Zeiss lenses can fit into any frames. Our Albuquerque clinic has some great eyeglass frames from Etnia Barcelona, Modo, Eco, Ovvo, and more for you to choose from. Our experts can help you choose the perfect frames and lenses for your vision needs and lifestyle.

It is also important to protect the eyes from the sun. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses when outside. We also carry sunglasses and can help you find the best pair for you.

If you have concerns about eye strain or about the amount of time you spend looking at screens, book an appointment and discuss blue light blocking lenses with an optometrist at our Albuquerque clinic. 

The Prevalence of Myopia and Ways To Keep Children’s Eyes Healthy

Researchers have stated that Myopia is one of the most common vision issues affecting children around the world. It has been estimated that by 2050, almost five billion people will be myopic. In 2020, in the U.S.A., it was reported that approximately 40% of the population is myopic compared to only 28% in 2000. Fortunately, in June of 2019, the American Optometric Association (AOA) took action to promote public awareness about childhood myopia and the importance of slowing myopia in children. In 2020, the AOA proclaimed 2020 as the “Year of the Eye Exam” to encourage parents to schedule an in-person eye exam with an AOA family doctor of optometry for themselves and their children.

Helping Our Children Keep Their Eyes Healthy

We live in a digital world where our children need to use digital devices as part of their education, entertainment and to stay connected with us and their friends. Naturally, spending a significant amount of time in front of a screen can lead to digital eye strain which can harm our children’s ocular health. It is extremely difficult to eliminate the use of such devices but it doesn’t mean we can’t encourage our children to develop proper digital device habits to help us protect their vision and overall health. Our doctors at Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses would like to share some practical advice about helping our children keep their eyes healthy:

Limit Screen Time

The average child between the ages of 3 to 5 spends about 2 hours a day in front of a screen. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children in this age group should not spend more than one hour. Consequently, we need to encourage our children to limit their screen time and for older children to take frequent breaks and to develop healthier viewing habits. Currently, there are numerous applications available to help parents manage children’s screen time such as Plano, Screen Time Parental Control, unGlue, Screen Time, Digital Wellbeing and more.

Increase Outdoor Time

Nowadays, we need to ensure that our children spend more time in natural light to help them avoid developing myopia, or to slow down its progression. We need to encourage outdoor activities such as playing sports, going for walks, playing in the park or the backyard and riding their bikes or scooters.

Engage Kids In Non-Digital Activities

By encouraging our children to engage in activities that will take them away from digital screens, we not only lower the risk of myopia but also help sharpen their vision skills. For example, by simply spending time playing with toys which require hand-eye coordination such as puzzles and building blocks or by painting and drawing or even playing catch, you will help your child’s vision grow and develop.

Develop Healthy Eye Care Habits

Helping our children develop basic healthy eye care habits is also extremely helpful in controlling the development of nearsightedness. Here are some habits we should all try to develop to help keep our eyes healthy:

  • When reading, ensure there is adequate lighting and hold the book about 30 cm away from our eyes.
  • If possible, we should choose books with a large print.
  • We should discourage our children from reading in bed and in moving vehicles.
  • Computer screens should be about 20 inches away from our eyes and positioned to avoid glare from the reflection of light sources such as windows and indoor lighting.
  • When watching TV children should sit as far as possible especially if the TV screen is large.
  • Ensure that our children get at least 8 hours of sleep to rest their eyes.

Ortho-K or Orthokeratology Contact Lenses

Ortho-K contact lenses have been found to be very effective in controlling the progression of myopia. This treatment reshapes your child’s cornea while sleeping and therefore enabling him or her to see clearly during the day without needing to wear glasses. Unlike Lasik, it’s not a permanent solution but Ortho-K contact lenses can help slow down the progression of nearsightedness.

Atropine Eye Drops

Atropine eye drops can be used on a daily basis (one drop in each eye at bedtime) for about 2 years to reduce the progression of myopia. These drops do not prevent the development of myopia, they are used to control and limit its development. Children prescribed Atropine must be monitored by their optometrist about twice a year. Atropine eyes drops are only used at 0.01% concentration to avoid side effects such as photophobia, a condition where our eyes develop sensitivity to sunlight or strong lighting.

Annual Eye Check-Ups

Children should have regular eye exams (at least once a year) to ensure their eyes are healthy and developing properly. At Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses, we perform comprehensive testing to determine if children can see clearly and avoid difficulties at school, sports and any other activities. Vision issues can interfere with reading, performance, interest in school, and reaching important educational milestones. What’s more, the possibilities of treating myopia effectively increase when it is diagnosed at an early stage.


For more information about myopia or to book your child’s appointment with our experienced eye doctors at Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses, call us at 505-565-5112 or contact us online.

How Can My Child’s Myopia Be Corrected?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is one of the most common eye conditions affecting millions of people around the world.

Myopia is a refractive error in which the eyes are unable to focus clearly on images or objects. This results in blurry vision when looking at something at a distance, such as people walking down a street, a school board, or even the TV. However, images that are closer can be seen more clearly. Children with uncorrected myopia tend to experience eye strain, eye fatigue, or headaches in an effort to see images in the distance clearly.

Fortunately, eyeglasses or contact lenses work wonders to correct vision. In this text, we’ll discuss both glasses and contacts as options for myopia correction.

 

Methods of Myopia Correction

Contact Lenses

Contacts can be a great choice, especially for physically active children or teens who don’t want to worry about breaking or misplacing their eyeglasses.

Corrective contact lenses are usually placed in the eyes upon waking and removed at night before bedtime. We offer a range of brands of soft contact lenses, such as daily disposables and extended-wear disposables. Speak with our optometric team to determine whether your child is ready for contact lenses.

Prescription Glasses

Glasses are a popular choice among our younger patients. Choosing from an array of styles makes the process not just fun and exciting, but allows the child to be an active participant in selecting eyewear, which, in turn, increases the likelihood that they’ll actually wear them. We offer strong, flexible and resilient frames which both look great and are feel comfortable.

The optician can customize the lenses with additions, like impact-resistant or shatter-proof materials, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, UV filters, and transition lenses that darken in the sun.

We Can Help Correct Your Child’s Myopia

If you’re located near Albuquerque, New Mexico, visit us for an eye exam to determine your child’s exact prescription and ask us any questions you may have about your child’s eye health and vision.

At Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to recommend the most suitable method of correcting your child’s myopia to meet his or her individual needs. Thanks to the wide range options available, your child will walk away with eyewear that will both look and feel great.

Let us help your child see the world in a whole new light. To schedule your child’s annual eye exam or to learn more, contact Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses at 505-806-1432 today.