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Myopia Management Blog

Myopia – An Epidemic Across The Nation
(And The World)

girl wearing eyeglasses, playing baseballWhen we think of the word “epidemic”, it brings to mind visions of desolated villages in third-world countries, overflowing hospitals, and quarantines. However, there are other less deadly, but equally serious, health concerns impacting people on a global scale.

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is one of the most common eye conditions today. It affects almost 9 and a half million American adults and 30% of the entire Canadian public. On a global scale, 11% of the worldwide population has it and the medical community predicts these numbers will continue to rise.

How Big Is The Problem?

These statistics show just how prevalent myopia currently is:

  • 300 million people have been diagnosed with myopia worldwide
  • 820,000 American adults have a degenerative form of the disease
  • 1 in 4 parents have reported having a child with the condition
  • 75% of children are diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 12
  • Loss of productivity due to myopia costs world economies $202 billion a year

Studies indicate that by 2050, myopia will impact nearly half of the global population – that’s approximately 5 billion people! Medical researchers expect the condition to increase by 40%, which means that roughly 60 million children will likely have myopia in the next few years. Individuals with high degrees of nearsightedness will reach close to 1 billion.

Due to these high numbers, which are increasing at an alarming rate, myopia is now considered an epidemic.

What Causes Myopia?

Close up of woman's eyes, with cornea transplantMyopia is a refractive error. This happens when the cornea of the eye, which is usually a round shape, instead has an irregular shape. This causes light to enter the eye and refract (bend) incorrectly, leading to blurry or cloudy vision.

Most people with myopia wear eyeglasses or contacts to correct the refractive error. The lenses refract light correctly, allowing your brain to process the images you see, resulting in clear, sharp vision. However, while these solutions enhance vision, they do not cure the condition itself.

How Serious Is It?

Myopia is about more than just blurry vision. Other symptoms include headaches, eye fatigue or eye strain. If left untreated, it can gradually lead to serious vision problems including glaucoma, early onset cataracts, macular degeneration, or even retinal detachment. The US National Library of Medicine considers myopia “one of the leading causes of functional blindness in the world”.

If you or a loved one is experiencing blurry vision or other symptoms of myopia, we can help. Speak to Dr. Akshet Joshi O.D. about a personal consultation.

Myopia In Children

Myopia is very common in children. In fact, nearly 1 in 10 American children (9.2%) between the ages of 5 and 17 have it. It is usually diagnosed in the early childhood years and stabilizes by their 20s. The condition is often hereditary, so a child can develop nearsightedness if one or both of their parents have it, although certain environmental factors also play a role.

Environmental Factors

There is growing concern that in today’s digital age, the amount of screen time and decreased amount of outdoor activities are contributing factors to myopia development.

Natural sunlight – in reasonable doses – is good for the eyes, due to the Vitamin D found in the sun’s natural ultraviolet (UV) rays. So, spending more time outside is a good idea. In fact, a recent study found that children who spend 1 extra hour outdoors on a weekly basis had a more than 14% decreased risk of developing myopia.

Ethnicity and gender may also play a role. Myopia is more prevalent in people of Eastern Asian descent. Women tend to be diagnosed with the condition significantly more often than men.

Stopping The Myopia Epidemic

Elderly woman with myopiaDespite the rising numbers, there is hope. Typically, myopia control involves wearing glasses or soft contact lenses to give the patient visual clarity. Other treatment options include Ortho-k lenses, rigid gas permeable contact lenses that gently reshape the cornea, and atropine therapy, prescription eye drops which dilate the pupil and relax the eye muscles. Both Ortho-k lenses and atropine drops have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia.

Early diagnosis is critical for successful treatment and slowing down the development of the condition. Contact The Myopia Management Center At Optical Zone and let us help you enjoy improved vision and eye health.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 972-733-6981

Playing Outside Saves Kids’ Vision

Asian kids playing various sports outsideMyopia, or nearsightedness, is one of the most common refractive errors. A refractive error is what happens when light enters your eye and bends (refracts) improperly, which is usually the result of a misshapen cornea. As the light bends at an incorrect angle, it causes blurry vision.

People with myopia struggle with focusing on images from a distance, while viewing something near them remains clear. Glasses or contacts are usually worn to correct their vision. The lenses refract light correctly, which transmits the things you see to your brain so it can understand them, resulting in clear vision. However, these do not fix the vision problem itself, instead of becoming like permanent “eye-crutches” for their whole lives!”

Is Myopia Dangerous?

As a refractive error alone, myopia isn’t really a dangerous condition, but that doesn’t mean it’s without complications or concern, either. As it progresses, it can lead to a higher risk of other eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal detachment. For patients with more serious cases of myopia, decreased visual clarity or significant vision loss (even blindness!) can develop.

Wearing glasses or contact lenses isn’t always enough. What’s even more concerning is that high levels of myopia can show up later in life, which is why detecting it earlier is so important.

If you or a loved one is experiencing blurry vision or other symptoms of myopia, we can help. Speak to Dr. Akshet Joshi O.D. to schedule a personal consultation.

Myopia And Children

sad clown puppetMyopia is rising among the general population, but it seems to affect children in excessively high numbers. In fact, 1 in 10 American children between 5-17 years old have the condition, and 75% of children are diagnosed between 3 and 12 years old. Like facial features and even parts of your personality, nearsightedness is often inherited genetically. This means that if one or both parents have it, it’s likely that their child will also have it.

In school, this can be a real struggle. Reading, writing, seeing the board clearly, participating in class, doing homework, and after-school activities are a natural part of your child’s school years. Nearsightedness can negatively affect their learning and relationships with peers.

Screen Time And Higher Myopia

Did you know that increased screen time has been shown to increase the risk of myopia in children? Studies show that the more time kids spend indoors watching TV, on computer games, phones, or tablets, the higher the likelihood of developing myopia.

Why? Because when the eyes are consistently deprived of natural light, they can develop a sensitivity to it when they’re suddenly experiencing it. Think of how it feels when you’re in a dark room and someone suddenly turns the light on. Your eyes hurt and you feel momentarily blinded. The simplest way to treat this situation is by exposing the eyes to natural light on a regular basis.

Being Outdoors Can Help Manage Children’s Myopia

Kids Playing Ball OutsideNow the good news: if too much indoor time is a problem, then it’s time to send your kids outside!

Despite what you’ve heard about the dangers of too much sun, a healthy amount of natural sunlight is a good thing. The sun’s natural ultraviolet (UV) rays contain Vitamin D. In moderate doses, Vitamin D is good for you. Medical professionals believe that these rays can actually change the shape of the cornea. Since a misshapen cornea is what causes myopia, to begin with, this serves as a simple way to counterbalance its effects.

Natural light is brighter than light bulbs and lamps. Being outside can help your child’s eyes become used to natural light, balancing out the excessive time spent inside. As if this wasn’t enough, time spent outside doesn’t cost a thing. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Make the time fun by playing at a park, skateboarding, having a barbeque or picnic – the options are endless!

As parents, you want what’s best for your kids. Spending time outside, together with other treatment methods, can improve your child’s myopia.

Early diagnosis is critical for managing myopia and slowing down its progression. Contact The Myopia Management Center At Optical Zone and let us help your children enjoy clear vision and excellent eye health.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 972-733-6981

Toddlers With Myopia: Eyewear And
Their Future

happy blue eyed childLike all refractive errors, myopia (also known as nearsightedness) is typically managed by wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. These lenses correct the refractive error by bending (refracting) light correctly as it enters your eyes, which then sending signals to your brain so that it can process the things you see. This ultimately results in clear, sharp vision.

When it comes to children with myopia, their vision needs are different from adults. Our youngest patients have unique needs that deserve special care and attention with a gentle approach. Dr. Akshet Joshi O.D. treats pediatric patients from all over Plano, Texas, giving parents relief and top-quality vision care for their little ones.

How Kids’ Myopia Impacts Their Future

Myopia is one of the most common vision problems around the world and it is on the rise. Did you know that 75% of children are diagnosed between 3 and 12 years old? Once these young kids enter school, managing their condition becomes even more critical, and the effects of their vision problems don’t always end in childhood. Often, the long-term impact of the condition isn’t obvious until later in life.

If left untreated, it can get worse over time. The kid with nearsightedness can, as an adult, develop more serious eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or even retinal detachment. The US National Library of Medicine considers myopia “one of the leading causes of functional blindness in the world”.

Children’s Eyewear

With the rapid growth of myopia in children, kids are beginning to wear glasses at increasingly younger ages. The earlier myopia starts and is diagnosed, the sooner corrective lenses are likely to be recommended. Virtually every designer and eyewear company has a collection for toddlers and young children in order to fill this growing need. With the global rise of early myopia, this trend is likely to continue.

How Can I Control My Child’s Myopia?

Dad Hugging Baby GirlDespite the bleak situation, there is hope. Dr. Akshet Joshi O.D. has the right skills, experience, and advanced medical technology to control your child’s myopia effectively. The goal is to slow down the progression of the condition, which prevents it from getting worse.

The doctor recommends several ways to achieve this:

  • Prescription eyewear to provide visual clarity
  • Regular eye exams to check visual health and detect prescription changes
  • General monitoring of your children’s nearsightedness over time

All of this allows the doctor to stay on top of any changes to your child’s myopia, however minor they may be.

If your toddler frequently bumps into things or holds objects very close to their face, talk to us about a consultation. It may be time for eyewear to correct their blurry vision. We’ll work together to ensure your child has the best options for clearer vision.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 972-733-6981