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Flattening the Curve: Ortho-K Could Battle the Myopia Epidemic

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthMyopia (nearsightedness) is a vision epidemic that is spreading globally. It affects more than a quarter of the world’s population and could affect half of the population within 30 years. It’s important to slow myopia’s progression in childhood because moderate (-3.25 to -5.00 D) and high myopia (greater than -5.00 D) increase the chance of developing such vision-threatening conditions as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and myopic macular degeneration later in life.

Myopia results from the eyeball being too long, causing light to land in front of the retina rather than directly on it. While myopia doesn’t have a cure, it can be corrected with prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. But these prescriptions must regularly be updated as a child’s myopia progresses. LASIK surgery is not an option for children or teenagers because their eyes are still growing.

Why is the myopia pandemic so widespread? Experts point to genetics and also to the fact that many young people spend most of their waking hours indoors. In research studies, children who spent a significant amount of time in the sun experienced less myopia progression than children who did not.

How Can Ortho-K Address a Child’s Myopia Progression?

Ortho-k is a popular treatment option for slowing myopia’s progression. It is safe and painless, using rigid gas-permeable lenses that are customized for your child or teen. Ortho-k lenses are inserted at night and removed in the morning. During that time, they temporarily flatten the eyeball. (Think of it as the optical equivalent of the retainer or bite plate that your child might wear to bed at night to keep teeth straight.) During waking hours, your child can see clearly, swim, and play sports without wearing contact lenses or glasses.

As long as your child handles the lenses according to the instructions of Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu and observes hygiene protocols when using them — washing hands first, using only the designated solutions to clean and rinse the lenses — ortho-k lenses can be safely used.

Annual eye exams are vital so that Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu can monitor the rate at which the myopia is progressing. If your children’s vision is rapidly deteriorating, we can offer myopia-management measures to slow myopia’s progression.

Ortho-k is a treatment worth considering for your child’s short- and long-term optical health. One child at a time, ortho-k can help in addressing the worldwide myopia pandemic.

 


The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians can provide ortho-k expertise to patients in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Cupertino, and throughout California.

References:

How Do I Prevent My Child’s Myopia From Worsening?

child reading 640×350If you’re a parent of a nearsighted child, you know that myopia (nearsightedness) can sometimes be challenging. What many parents don’t know is that rapidly progressing myopia is more than just a hassle — it can harm your child’s eye health. Children with rapidly progressing myopia are far more likely to develop potentially sight-threatening eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration later in life.

Fortunately, Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu can help slow the progression of your child’s myopia with a customized myopia management program. Understanding what causes myopia to worsen and what can be done to slow it down can help safeguard your child’s vision.

What Causes Myopia to Progress?

Genetics play a large role in myopia development. Two nearsighted parents are more likely to have a myopic child than a couple with only one myopic parent, or no myopic parents at all.

No one knows exactly why myopia progresses, but spending most of the day indoors, focusing on near objects like screens and books, may be risk factors. More research is needed to determine whether the fact that children are spending less time looking at faraway objects like a moving baseball or a basketball net might be contributing to the increase in myopia cases around the world.

How Can I Prevent Myopia From Worsening?

One of the best pieces of advice for parents of nearsighted children is to increase their child’s outdoor playtime in the sun. In research studies, the progression of myopia was slower in children who spent a considerable amount of time in the sunshine than in children who did not.

The World Health Organization advises that children under 5 spend 1 hour or less per day in front of a screen, and no screen time is recommended for infants under 1. The Children’s Eye Foundation recommends outdoor play daily, and no screen time for children under 2. They also recommend no more than 1-2 hours per day for 2- to 5-year-olds, with frequent breaks.

How Can a Myopia Management Eye Doctor Help?

Myopia management eye doctors do more than prescribe corrective lenses. Although no actual cure for myopia exists, there are methods that can help control its progression.

Current treatments include:

  1. Atropine eye drops
  2. Orthokeratology (“ortho-k”) gas permeable contact lenses
  3. Multifocal glasses/contact lenses

Following a thorough eye exam, Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu will determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your child’s eye health and lifestyle. Annual eye exams for myopic children are recommended to monitor any changes in vision. It’s important to note that not all optometrists provide myopia management.

 

 

Feel free to speak with Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu or the friendly staff at The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians and ask any further questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians serves patients from Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Cupertino, and throughout California.

 

Offer Your Elementary School Graduate This Life-Changing Gift: Ortho-K

happy blonde childMyopia, or nearsightedness, is an all-too-common childhood eye condition. Unlike eyeglasses and traditional contact lenses, which merely correct refractive errors, orthokeratology (ortho-k, special rigid gas-permeable) contact lenses, actually slow the progression of myopia. This is important because rapid myopia progression can lead to sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration later in life.

Furthermore, ortho-k lenses are worn overnight, providing a clear and stable vision without having to wear any glasses or contacts throughout the day.

What is Myopia?

Myopia afflicts more than a quarter of the world’s population, a situation many experts consider an epidemic. By 2050, that number is expected to dramatically rise to 50% of the global population.

In addition to genetics, spending most of our waking hours indoors, and staring for long periods at close-up objects like smartphones and tablets, are among myopia’s main risk factors, and may explain the rapid rise in cases.

Myopia occurs when the axial length of the eyeball is elongated. This causes the cornea to curve beyond its normal shape, leading far away objects to appear blurry since light lands in front of the retina, rather than directly on it.

How Is Myopia Dangerous?

Mild myopia (-0.25 to -3.00 D) generally does not increase a person’s risk for eye diseases later in life. However, moderate ( -3.25 to -5.00 D) and high myopia (greater than -5.00 D) are linked to serious, vision-threatening conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration.

Cataracts

Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy, rendering it difficult or even impossible to see.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma develops when eye fluid build-up increases pressure on the eye, causing irreversible damage to the optic nerve. It is the leading cause of blindness in the United States and Canada.

Retinal Detachment

The retina detaches from the layers beneath it, causing field vision loss, flashes of light, floaters, and in the worst of cases — total vision loss.

Myopic Macular Degeneration

When myopia is extremely high, it can cause the retina to stretch, leading to macular tearing and bleeding in the areas beneath the retina. This can result in irreversible vision loss and even blindness.

How Does Ortho-K Work?

Think of the retainer or bite plate you might have worn to bed at night to keep your teeth straight. Ortho-k is the optical equivalent. Your child’s eye doctor may prescribe ortho-k lenses to gently reshape the cornea every night. A child who wears them from bedtime until the next morning will enjoy clear, unimpaired vision the following day. This enables your child to swim and play sports without requiring prescription goggles or sports glasses.

Within months of wearing ortho-k lenses, the eyeball growth may decrease, thus halting myopia progression. This, in turn, can diminish your child’s risk of developing any sight-threatening conditions in decades to come.

 

 

How Are Ortho-k Lenses Fitted?

All tokens name=’SpCenterMC’] patients undergo a full ortho-k assessment before being fitted for these lenses. We will measure the precise curvature of the child’s cornea using a device called a corneal topographer, ensuring that the lenses fit perfectly.

After the initial fitting, patients will be provided with in-clinic training on how to insert, remove, and care for their ortho-k contact lenses at home. Periodic check-ups will help ascertain any changes in refraction and corneal topography, and adjustments to the lenses will be made accordingly.

Not only does ortho-k offer clear vision the next day; it also lowers the risk of developing ocular diseases later in life.

The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians serves patients from Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, and Cupertino, in California.

References

Why Do Most Practices Prefer Ortho-K for Myopia Management?

girl sleeping on bed 1359554Your child does not answer, and you can feel the tension in their body rising as they squint their eyes. They honestly can’t read the chart! The optometrist remains calm and assures your child that it’s okay. For you, however, this may be a very distressing moment.

Next, the optometrist explains to you that your child belongs to the 40% of North Americans with myopia – nearsightedness. To prevent the condition from rapidly progressing, the doctor suggests a treatment called orthokeratology. You’ve likely never heard of such treatment and wonder whatever happened to traditional eyeglasses.

Ortho-K Has High Success Rates in Slowing Down Myopia

Today it is commonly agreed that correcting nearsighted vision is not enough. Myopia progresses during childhood, and young adults may find themselves with high levels of myopia, and at risk of developing severe eye diseases. Among them are retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, and glaucoma, conditions that can lead to vision loss or even blindness later in life.

Fortunately, modern optometry offers a variety of treatments to manage myopia and keep it from progressing to dangerous levels. Orthokeratology (ortho-k) has proven highly successful and is convenient for the wearer. Studies show a 36-56% slower progression of myopia in children treated with ortho-k compared to other options that have some to marginal success rates.

What Makes Ortho-K Unique?

Ortho-k is often referred to as corneal reshaping therapy. It utilizes a therapeutic contact lens rather than corrective lenses. Children as young as 6 can wear the ortho-k lens overnight to provide them with perfect vision during the day. The concept is similar to how dentists use braces, only that braces gradually induce permanent changes, while ortho-k lenses induce temporary changes that last through the following day. This is why Ortho-K is reversible & safe for nearly any age.

Reshaping is accomplished by wearing custom-made rigid contact lenses overnight, while your child is asleep. In the morning, your child removes the lenses, and the cornea maintains its new shape for up to 72 hours. Clear vision is achieved through an altered corneal shape rather than a visual aid.

Ortho-K Is Becoming the Standard for Myopia Management

Ortho-k has been available for more than half a century and has been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to advanced technologies, higher efficiency, and easier handling. Optometrists, such as Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu have a digital corneal topographer—a device that measures and maps the corneal surface—in their practice. This allows them to carry out all necessary examinations for precise custom-shaped lenses, designed to meet your child’s prescription requirements with high accuracy.

Another reason ortho-k lenses are popular: they’re extremely convenient. Eyeglasses have never been popular among children, and regular contact lenses can move around in the eye and even get lost during play. Because children wear ortho-k lenses only when they sleep, and don’t need lenses or glasses during the day, they can go about their day unencumbered.

Ways to Manage Myopia

Four main treatments can slow down the progression of myopia. Each has its advantages and is suitable for different circumstances.

  • Orthokeratology – overnight contact lenses that reshape the cornea and provide clear vision during the day have proven to slow down myopia progression. Because the lenses are worn only at night, the child is free of glasses or contacts throughout the day.
  • Atropine eye drops – applying low-dose atropine eye drops once a day has been shown to slow down myopia progression. There are few side-effects of this medication, and the eye drops can be used in combination with corrective lenses.
  • Contact Lenses – a specific type of contact lens, called a distance center multifocal soft contact lens, can slow down myopia progression.
  • Multifocal lenses – both multifocal glasses and conventional multifocal soft contact lenses can slow down myopia progression to some extent.

Several factors need to be taken into consideration when determining whether ortho-k is a suitable option for your child. These include age, myopia level, and general eye health. Many optometrists prefer ortho-k; however, they may recommend any of the methods mentioned above after assessing the best way to manage your child’s myopia. At The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians we will help you find the best possible option for your child. Schedule an eye exam with Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu to evaluate how to best prevent myopia from progressing and be comfortable at the same time.

Resources:

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03465748

https://www.myopiainstitute.com/types-of-myopia-control/

 

What’s Worse For Your Vision: High Myopia (Nearsightedness) or Smoking?

cigarette 110849 640While the detrimental effects of smoking on the lungs and heart are widely known, many aren’t aware that its impact on vision is just as profound. Myopia, on the other hand, is commonly viewed as a benign refractive error that simply requires correction with prescription lenses. The truth is, however, that both myopia progression and smoking increase the chances of developing serious eye diseases that can lead to vision loss.

Here’s the good news — the risks to vision associated with smoking and myopia progression in children are potentially preventable. Just as a chain-smoker can kick the habit to improve eye health, myopia management programs offered at The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians can dramatically lower their child’s risk of developing serious ocular diseases later in life.

Let’s Compare Smoking to Myopia Progression

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens begins to cloud, causing hazy or blurred vision. Certain factors can contribute to the onset and severity of the condition, such as advanced age, obesity, eye injury, high myopia, and smoking. In fact, according to a recent study, smokers are 2 times more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers.

However, children with medium to high myopia are 5 times more likely to develop cataracts later in life than non-myopic children.

Macular Degeneration

Smoking is the largest controllable factor that contributes to macular degeneration. Studies show that those who smoke are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers.

Myopic macular degeneration (MMD) is caused by a severe eye elongation and retinal stretching — such as in high myopia — which leads to a damaged macula (the small portion of the retina responsible for detailed central and color vision). The higher the myopia, the greater the risk of developing MMD.

Retinal Detachment

The harmful properties in cigarettes can cause uveitis — an inflammation of the uvea (the eye’s middle layer). Uveitis can lead to retinal detachment, which separates the retina from the layers beneath it. This causes field vision loss, floaters, light flashes, and in severe cases — complete vision loss. Smoking more than doubles the chances of developing this condition.

There also is a causal relationship between myopia and retinal detachment. A child with mild myopia is 21 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, whereas a child with high myopia is 44 times more likely to suffer from this serious condition.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the United States and Canada, occurs when ocular fluid places pressure on the eye, damaging the optic nerve. A few risk factors for glaucoma include high blood pressure, cataracts, and diabetes — all of which are linked to smoking. By kicking the smoking habit, one significantly reduces the risks of developing this vision-robbing condition.

Similarly, children with medium to high myopia are 5 times more likely to develop glaucoma than non-myopes.

What’s worse for your vision? High myopia (nearsightedness) or smoking? from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

How Can Myopia Management Help?

As adults, many of us take actions to maintain good health and preserve our vision, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, and not smoking. Let’s do the same for our children. As depicted above, smoking is as dangerous for the eyes as rapidly progressing myopia.

If your child’s prescription rapidly deteriorates, contact The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians for a consultation. Let us help your child diminish the risk of developing ocular disease and vision loss with our effective myopia management program.

Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu serves patients from Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Cupertino, and throughout California.

References

https://www.allaboutvision.com/smoking/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/vision-center/the-aging-eye/tips/smoking-ups-risk-for-age-related-vision-loss.aspx

https://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/myopia-progression.htm

Does Your Child Have Myopia? Send Them Outside!

Girl Smiling Grass Flower 1280×480 1024×384Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that affects millions of adults and children worldwide. This condition occurs when a person’s eyeball is too long, or the cornea or lens has an irregular shape. A myopic eye focuses the image at the front of the retina, as opposed to directly on the retina. it is often hereditary, especially if both parents are nearsighted.

Recent studies show that the more time spent outdoors can slow the onset or progression of myopia for reasons explained below. These findings are significant, as myopia can seriously impact eye health if left untreated. At The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians, we’re here to answer any questions you may have and ensure that your child’s myopia is under control.

How Does Spending Time Outdoors Benefit Myopia?

By spending time outdoors, children train their eyes to focus on distant objects and relax their eyes. Just as with any other muscle in the body, the muscles in the eye need to be trained and strengthened in order to produce clear vision. Experts further suggest that moderate exposure to sunlight has a positive impact on myopia and general eye health.

A recent study was conducted by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science. The study shows that children who spend 1 extra hour outdoors each week reduce their risk of developing myopia by over 14%.

In contrast, according to the National Institute of Health, children who spend a considerable amount of time indoors watching TV or playing video games are at a significantly higher risk of developing nearsightedness.

Outdoor time should be incorporated into every child’s routine, especially those at risk of developing myopia. Parents and caregivers can make being outdoors fun by playing sports, hiking new trails, enjoying picnics or barbeques, or organizing scavenger hunts.

Why Is Slowing Myopia Progression So Important?

Myopia generally worsens over time, mostly during childhood and into the adolescent years. If your child’s prescription regularly increases, this can lead to more serious complications. Myopia progression heightens the risk of developing other eye conditions and disorders, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal detachment. In more severe cases, permanent vision loss — or even blindness— may occur.

This is why it is crucial to monitor your child’s condition with a yearly visit to Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu. Not sure whether your child has myopia? Refer to the following list.

Signs of Myopia in Children

Children with myopia may exhibit any of the following:

  • Squinting when reading the board or watching TV
  • Lack of interest in playing sports that require distance vision
  • Positioning oneself at close proximity to the TV or screen
  • Sitting at the front of the classroom to clearly see the teacher and board
  • Holding books close to the eyes

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or if you’ve noticed some of these behaviors, give outdoor time a try and bring him or her in to The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians for a comprehensive eye exam. We offer evidence-based myopia management treatment to slow down the progression of nearsightedness, thus preventing severe vision loss later in life.

The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians provides myopia management and other treatments to patients in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Cupertino, and throughout California.

REFERENCES:

Centre for Ocular Research & Education

National Institutes of Health

Perfect Vision is The Perfect Gift: Ortho-K

girl holiday gifts blog imageAs the holidays approach, most of us have one thing at the top of our to-do lists: gift shopping! This holiday season, give the gift of perfect vision that will have your loved one thanking you every morning. If you or anyone in your family has myopia (nearsightedness), there is no better gift than Ortho-K lenses.

What is Ortho-K?

Orthokeratology (commonly referred to as Ortho-K, corneal reshaping contact lenses or corneal refractive treatment) is a process that uses specialized gas-permeable lenses to safely and gently reshape the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye), by having them worn overnight and removed in the morning. Doing so provides clear vision all day long without the need to wear lenses or glasses. This FDA-approved method of vision correction is suitable for children and adults, is a safer alternative to LASIK, and can be used for myopia, astigmatism, hyperopia (farsightedness), and occasionally presbyopia (farsightedness due to aging).

Give the Gift of Ortho-K

Children and adults with mild to moderate myopia or those who cannot undergo LASIK or other refractive surgeries (for a variety of reasons) are excellent candidates for Ortho-K. Believe us — they’ll be grateful for this gift!

Ortho-k is not only effective for correcting refractive errors but is also great for slowing the progression of myopia in children — rendering it a particularly meaningful gift for a child. By slowing the progression of myopia, you can greatly reduce your child’s risk of developing serious eye conditions and diseases later in life, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal detachment.

While you can’t wrap this gift up in a box, with Ortho-K, your loved ones will truly SEE the difference!

The myopia management program at The Myopia Management Center at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians is dedicated to improving your child’s eye health. Call us with any questions you may have – we’re here for you.

Dr. Moshe Mendelson, Dr. Jesley Johnson, Dr. Jackson Lau and Dr. Kevin Wu provides myopia management and other services for patients in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, and Cupertino, and throughout California.

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