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Protect Your Children’s Vision By Getting Them To Play Outside This Winter!

child playing snow 640As temperatures drop, some parents may be wondering how to get their kids outside for some healthy outdoor play.

Below, we share tips on fun outdoor activities you can do and explain why playing outside can help your child’s vision.

How Outdoor Play Impacts Myopia

Studies have shown that children who spend at least 11 hours per week outside during daylight hours have a slower rate of myopia progression than children who don’t. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure why, it appears that sunlight and the child’s use of distance vision outdoors may play a role.

So why would parents want to slow down their child’s myopia? The answer may surprise you.

Having myopia in childhood places the child at heightened risk for developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. These include cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and glaucoma.

3 Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Kids This Winter

Play With Snow

Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, playing with snow is something that everyone can enjoy. Bundle up your child so they stay safe and warm, and send them out to build a snowman, have a snowball fight, build an igloo, or make a snow angel. Older children and teens may enjoy building a snow maze.

If your kids like a bit of competition, you can conduct a snow castle building contest. This activity can be fun for the entire family!

If you don’t have enough snow to build a snowman or castle, you can play tic-tac-snow on the snow-covered ground.

Go Sledding

Sledding and tobogganing are classic winter activities that your child will love. All you need is a sled and a snowy hill — easy, right?

But before you soar down those snowy slopes, here are some guidelines that will ensure a safer sledding experience:

  • Use a sled that can be steered and has a brake
  • Protect your head with a helmet
  • Dress warmly, but leave your scarf at home, as it can get caught under the sled
  • Children under the age of 6 should always sled accompanied by an adult

Create Outdoor Art

This activity is perfect for kids who like to get a little messy. To make a colorful masterpiece on a canvas of snow, give your child a few squirt bottles filled with water and a few drops of food coloring gel. They’ll have heaps of fun squirting the colored liquid on snow or ice.

They can also paint on snow using watercolors and a paintbrush.

If it doesn’t snow where you live, you can always give your child some sidewalk chalk and let them get creative on the pavement. The important thing is to have your child play outdoors.

At Heights Eye Care Myopia Management Center, our goal is to help slow down your child’s myopia progression and keep their eyes healthy for a lifetime.

To learn more about our myopia management program or to schedule your child’s eye exam, call us today!

Heights Eye Care Myopia Management Center serves patients from Hasbrouck Heights, Hackensack , Passaic, Rutherford, and throughout New Jersey.

Good & Bad Gift Choices For Children With Myopia

mario luigi yoschi figures 640Gift-giving season is just around the corner! If your child has myopia (nearsightedness), you may want to consider giving a gift that supports eye health and slows myopia progression.

Why Does Myopia Progression Matter?

Many parents assume that having myopia is only a matter of blurred distance vision, but that’s not the whole story.

Children who have myopia are significantly more likely to develop sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, like glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration. Rapidly progressing myopia further increases the risk of eye disease later in life.

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates, and light focuses in front of the retina instead of on the retina. The exact cause of myopia is unknown, but genetics play an important role. Certain environmental factors may also have an impact.

That’s why it’s important for parents to consider how holiday gifts can affect their children’s eyes and vision.

Gifts That Won’t Help Your Child’s Myopia

The first category of items to consider eliminating from your holiday shopping list includes toys or devices with digital screens. Although the association has not been clinically proven, most optometrists agree that increased screen time has a negative impact on myopia progression.

While spending time on screens is almost inevitable during the pandemic, it’s wise to be realistic about its potential ramifications for children. Even prior to COVID-19, the number of myopic children was steadily increasing, and projected to affect 50% of the world’s population by 2050.

Another gift to rethink: eyeglasses. Tempting though it may be to purchase new glasses for your child this holiday season, it’s important to remember that new specs can only correct blurred vision; they don’t treat the underlying cause of myopia.

Better Gifts For Myopic Children

Try encouraging your myopic child to spend more time outdoors by giving them new outdoor gear. It is well documented that children who spend more time outdoors in the sunshine have a slower rate of myopia progression, so why not add a new bike, basketball, or rollerblades to your gift list?

However, the best gift you can give your child with myopia is a personalized myopia management program.

Why Myopia Management?

Myopia management is the only effective way to slow down the rate of your child’s myopia progression.

The myopia management program at Heights Eye Care Myopia Management Center offers three effective and safe treatments for myopia, including Ortho-K lenses, atropine eye drops, and multifocal contact lenses.

A comprehensive eye exam with Dr. James Aversa will determine the best treatment option for your child’s eyes and lifestyle.

Consider myopia management — a gift that will help preserve your child’s precious gift of sight. Call Heights Eye Care Myopia Management Center to schedule an eye exam today.

Heights Eye Care Myopia Management Center serves patients from Hasbrouck Heights, Hackensack , Passaic, Rutherford, and throughout New Jersey.

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. James Aversa 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. James Aversa 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.

 


Heights Eye Care Myopia Management Center can provide ortho-k expertise to patients in Hasbrouck Heights, Hackensack , Passaic, Rutherford, and throughout New Jersey.

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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.

Heights Eye Care Myopia Management Center serves patients from Hasbrouck Heights, Hackensack , Passaic, and Rutherford, in New Jersey.

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