Myopia, also called nearsightedness or shortsightedness, is the most common vision issue among children and young adults and it’s only getting worse.
Approximately 20 million children in the United States, or one in every three, suffer from myopia and recent studies show that half the world will be myopic in 2050.
For perspective, in 2020 173,667 children in the San Francisco Bay Area alone area currently suffer from myopia, nearsighted, or blurry distance vision. That number is expected to grow to 220,557 by just 2030.
Why is this happening?
The main cause of myopia that is leading to the myopia epidemic is an enormous shift in the environment children are growing up in. Mainly, a lack of outdoor activity in children is the largest piece of evidence researchers are attributing to the cause of the myopia boom.
Potential factors include the increased lack of outdoor time, increased time on digital devices, and other “near work.”
Why should I care?
Myopia can have a lifelong impact on a child’s eye health. Left untreated, myopic children may be at a significantly increased risk for retinal detachment, cataracts and other serious health complications later in life.
Once children start treatment, they’re reporting better focus at school, increased sports performance, and a renewed interest in extracurricular activities.
What is the treatment process?
While eye doctors usually prescribe glasses or contact lenses for kids with myopia, they are only a temporary “fix” and do not fully treat the underlying condition. Dr. Fauria in partnership with Treehouse EyesⓇ in the Fremont area provide the Treehouse Vision SystemⓇ, a patent-pending protocol that offers a customized treatment plan for myopia to help give children better vision for life. Developed by a team of leading optometrists and ophthalmologists, the Treehouse Vision SystemⓇ is an integrated treatment that combines several of the most efficacious treatments to provide a single therapeutic system.
So, what’s a parent to do?
The good news is that nearsightedness is treatable. Treehouse Eyes is the first healthcare practice dedicated exclusively to treating myopic children.
Children using the Treehouse Eyes patent-pending protocol, the Treehouse Vision System, show an average 78% reduction in the progression of their myopia (individual results vary). The Treehouse Vision System treatment plan is non-surgical. It includes overnight customized lenses, day-time soft lenses and special prescription eye drops.
With kids finally out of school, now is the time for parents to think about their child’s eyes and vision. Here are some research-driven actions parents can take this summer:
- Increase Outdoor Time
There are numerous studies showing outdoor time can delay or even prevent the development of myopia in kids. Treehouse Eyes recommends 2-3 hours a day of outdoor time. This was difficult with kids doing online school, but now is the time to take advantage of summer to schedule time and activities for your child outside.
- Reduce Screen Time
Parents struggle with screen time and their children for a number of reasons. More studies show that increased near work (screens, reading, etc.) may be a factor in the progression of myopia in children. While eliminating screens isn’t practical, try to put limits on screen time and encourage frequent breaks.
- Proper Reading Tips
When kids need to do a lot of reading, new research suggests that it may be beneficial to do it at night vs. in the morning. Some early studies also suggest adjusting digital devices to have black backgrounds with white text. If your child reads in bed, laying on their back might be the best position to help minimize increasing myopia.
- Get a Comprehensive Eye Exam
School and pediatrician vision screenings can miss up to 75% of vision issues in children. Taking your child to the eye doctor for a comprehensive exam annually is the best way to ensure your child’s vision is optimal. At this exam the doctor can discuss which treatment will work best if your child has myopia.
Contact the Warm Springs Optometric Group today for a free consultation for your child. They are located at 194 Francisco Lane, #118 in Fremont (510) 490-0287.