So your child is becoming nearsighted.. what are your options?

Myopia, also called near-sightedness, develops during childhood and continues to worsen until adulthood.  There is no way to cure myopia, but there are several methods of limiting the amount of myopia a child will ultimately develop.  Why does this matter you may ask?  Myopia is caused by the eyeball growing longer.  When the eyeball grows longer, it increases the risk of several eye diseases including retinal detachment, glaucoma, and cataracts.

The exact mechanism that triggers myopia to progressively worsen is still unknown, but there are several known methods to slow down myopia in children.  Much of the literature indicates that excessive near tasks such as reading for hours on end or staring at a tablet may play a role in worsening myopia.  There is also a genetic component, so if one or more parents are nearsighted, children are at a higher risk of become nearsighted as well.

One of the easiest ways to prevent nearsightedness is encouraging outdoor activities instead of indoor activities.  Research has yet to pinpoint a reason, but the natural light from the sun may have an effect on slowing myopia.

Treatment Options

As far as treatments, orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is by far the most effective method of treatment to slow the eyes from getting worse and becoming more nearsighted.  In ortho-k, contact lenses are used only while sleeping and removed in the morning.  The lenses reshape the front of the eye, similar to LASIK, to allow for clear vision during the day.  The younger a child starts ortho-k treatment, the better their results will be.

The earlier treatment is started, the less nearsighted they will be as an adult.

If orthokeratology is not an ideal option, soft multifocal contact lenses are the next best treatment.  These lenses are also shown to slow down the formation of nearsightedness, and are wore throughout the day and removed at night.  They are available in monthly reusables or daily disposables, which are preferred especially for children.

Bifocal glasses are the least effective at myopia control, but are still better than single vision glasses and contact lenses.

 

If a child is expected to have high myopia, it is always best to intervene with treatment early in the form of overnight contact lenses, multifocal contact lenses, and bifocal glasses.  The earlier treatment is started in a child’s life, the less nearsighted they will be as an adult.

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Quit crying over dry eye. New dry eye treatments have arrived!

For those who have never experienced chronic dry eye, it’s difficult to understand how uncomfortable the condition can be.  Dryness can cause a myriad of symptoms such as redness, itchiness, grittiness, blurry vision, and watery eyes.  Alongside the discomfort, people constantly have to explain to coworkers and family why they appear to be crying when dryness is the culprit for the tears.

Watery eyes

This may seem counter-intuitive that dry eye causes tears to run down the cheeks, but it’s actually a reflex of the eye called “reflex tearing.”  These reflex tears are made quickly by the tear glands in a last-ditch effort to keep the surface of the eye from drying out completely and preventing damage to the front of the eye.  This type of tear lacks the normal oil component and is made of mainly salt and water.  The high salt content is the reason tears running down the cheeks causes puffy eyelids.

There are several treatment methods for dry eye depending on severity and type.  The two type of dryness are tear deficient and evaporative.  The only way to diagnose which type is causing dryness is testing with a dry eye specialist.  The TearLab instrument is used by many specialists to assess the severity of dryness and track improvement throughout treatment.

Tear deficient dryness

Tear deficient dryness is caused by the tear glands not producing enough liquid or water.  Hydration is critical in this type of dryness.  If the body does not have enough extra water to spare, the tear glands will turn off.  Many medications will also slow down the tear glands and result in dryness.  Hormone fluctuations caused by birth control and menopause also have strong impacts on the tear glands which is why women suffer from dryness more often than men.

In order to treat this tear deficiency, more tears must be added.  The prescription eye drops Restasis and Xiidra (just released in 2016) are powerful medications that result in more natural tears.  In some cases, these medications alone are not enough to solve the problem alone and further treatment is required.

Scleral contact lenses are great for treating this type of dryness and also offer the benefit of clear vision without glasses.

Evaporative Dry Eye

The majority of dry eye falls into the category of evaporative dry eye.  This type of dryness usually requires a more involved treatment than just using eye drops.  The treatment targets the oil glands of the eyes called Meibomian glands, making them work better and more efficiently.  If the Meibomian glands are not functioning properly by secreting oil over the surface of the eye, the watery tears will evaporate quickly causing dryness.  The treatment plan is determined by the optometrist and will usually consist of a combination of the following:

  • Fish oil supplements
  • Warm compresses
  • Lid scrubs
  • Medications
  • Regenerative biologic eye drops (New)
  • In-office dry eye therapy sessions – MiBoFlo ThermoFlo (New)

Dry eye cannot be resolved instantly and may require months to completely change the physiology of the tear glands themselves.  Once treatment begins, most dry eye patients do experience great relief within the first few weeks.

Schedule a Dry Eye Consultation with one of our specialists today and experience the relief!  Call us at (734) 525-8170 or http://Suburbaneyecare.com