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Progressive Myopia

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What Is Progressive Myopia?

Nearsightedness or myopia is one of the most prevalent eye disorders worldwide and its incidence is increasing. In fact, by 2050, myopia is projected to affect half of the world’s population!

Many children diagnosed with nearsightedness (myopia) experience a consistent worsening of their vision as they grow into adolescence. This condition can be so aggressive that for some, each time they take their child to the eye doctor for a vision checkup, their prescription gets higher.

This is called progressive myopia and can be a serious condition for many children now and in the future. Not only is there a financial burden and inconvenience associated with having to replace eyeglasses on a regular basis, but high myopia is a risk factor for many eye diseases later in life such as retinal detachment, early onset cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

What Causes Progressive Myopia?

Myopia is a refractive error that happens when the eye focuses incoming light in front of the retina, rather than directly on it, resulting in blurred distance vision. While an exact cause of progressive myopia is not known, most research indicates that a combination of environmental and genetic factors trigger the condition.

First of all, there is evidence that a family history of nearsightedness is a contributing factor. Additionally, spending a lot of time indoors may play a role in myopia development, as studies show that children who spend more time outside have less incidence of myopia. Lastly, near point stress, which can be caused from looking at a near object for an extended period of time, can prompt the eye to grow longer and result in myopia. Several eye doctors recommend following the 20-20-20 rule when using digital devices (stopping every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds) to reduce near point stress caused by computer use.

What Can Be Done To Prevent or Treat Myopia?

There are several treatments that have been shown to slow the progression of myopia.

Orthokeratology (ortho-k):

Also known as corneal reshaping, this treatment uses rigid gas permeable contact lenses that are worn while the patient sleeps to reshape the cornea, which is the clear, front part of the eye. During the day, the patient is usually able to see clearly, glasses-free. In addition to allowing glasses-free vision during the day, this treatment has been shown to reduce the progression of myopia in many children.

Distance Center Multifocal Contact Lenses:

This treatment uses distance center (which means the area for seeing at a distance is in the center of the lens) multifocal soft contact lenses to provide clear vision and slow the progression of myopia. The lenses are worn as normal contact lenses during the day.

Atropine Drops:

Atropine drops are a daily-use prescription eye drop that has been shown to reduce myopia progression. It can be used alone or in combination with ortho-k or multifocal contact lenses.

Additional Myopia Treatments:

While these treatments are available in all of North America, some countries offer additional options that are approved for myopia control. For example, in Canada, ZeissTM MyoVision glasses that have an innovative lens curvature design are available to help reduce the rate of myopia progression. Additionally some doctors in Canada offer Coopervision MiSight® lenses, which are 1-day contact lenses that are worn during the daytime. These contacts have a multifocal lens design with distance centre and near surround that is specifically designed for children.

Myopia & Your Child

If your child’s vision keeps getting worse, it’s more than an annoyance – it can be a serious risk factor for their eye health and vision in the future. The best strategy for myopia control depends on the child and the severity of the case, and requires consultation with an experienced eye doctor in order to determine the best solution. If your child wears glasses, make his or her vision a priority; schedule an eye exam to ensure stable vision and healthy eyes.

Questions and Answers About Sun Protection

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Dr. Feldman & Dr. De Berardis Answer Your Questions About Sun Protection


Q: When can a person do to protect themselves from sun exposure?

Wearing a hat and sunglasses is the best way to protect the face and eyes from sun exposure.


Q: What exactly are “ultraviolet rays?”

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that are responsible for summer tans and sunburns. However, too much exposure to UV radiation is damaging to living tissue. Electromagnetic radiation comes from the sun and is transmitted in waves or particles at different wavelengths and frequencies. This broad range of wavelengths is known as the electromagnetic spectrum The spectrum is generally divided into seven regions in order of decreasing wavelength and increasing energy and frequency. The common designations are radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma-rays. UV light falls in the range of the EM spectrum between visible light and X-rays. UV is generally divided into three sub-bands: UVA, UVB and UVC.


Q: How can people protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays?

The eyes and face can be protected from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses and a hat and the skin on the body can be protected by the use of sunscreen and protective clothing.


Q: Are sunglasses an important part of a sun protection plan?

Sunglasses are an integral part of any sun protection plan. They block the harmful UV rays that can burn the eyes and that contribute to the development of eye diseases such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration and cataracts.


Q: What type of sunglasses best protect from UV rays?

Look for sunglasses that protect you from 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light. This includes those labeled as “UV 400,” which blocks all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers.


Q: I have heard about blue light being a concern as well. Can you talk a little bit about this and what it means for protecting your eyes?

The eyes are sensitive to a narrow band of light frequencies called the visible light spectrum. Blue light has the shortest wavelength of the visible light spectrum, and blue rays with the shortest wavelengths have the most energy. Blue light is generally defined as visible light ranging from 380 to 500 nanometers. Our main source of blue light is sunlight, however, the number of indoor man-made sources of blue light is on the rise. This includes fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, and display screens such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and flat screen TVs. With changes to the way we light our homes and offices, as well as the increased use of direct illumination for reading, exposure to blue light is increasing. Despite the fact that the eye is good at blocking UV rays from reaching the retina, the eye is not very good at blocking blue light. Virtually all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina. The effect of this exposure is cumulative, and the total number of exposure hours is what matters. A child’s crystalline lens is more transparent to short wavelengths – such as blue light – than that of an adult, making children more sensitive to blue light effects than adults. Exposure to blue light may contribute to the following: Age-Related Macular Degeneration, cataracts, eyestrain and sleep issues. Blue light blocking lenses are now available to protect the eyes from the harmful effects of blue light.


Q: I’ve heard of getting my skin sunburned, but can your eyes also get sunburned?

Eye sunburns, also known as photokeratitis, are actually a thing — and they can happen if you stare at the sun. Photokeratitis is basically like having a sunburn on the front part of your eye. Photokeratitis causes redness, blurry vision, sensitivity to bright light, and in rare cases, even temporary vision loss. The longer your eyes are exposed to UV rays, the more severe the symptoms can be. Just like having a sunburn on the skin can be painful and uncomfortable, photokeratitis can be a painful eye condition. You don’t have to be staring directly at the sun to risk burning your eyes. Photokeratitis can also be caused by reflections from the sun, like when it hits water or snow.


Q: Do darker sunglasses mean better sun protection?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that people think their eyes are protected by wearing very dark sunglasses. Nothing can be further from the truth. The tint of the lens has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of ultraviolet protection the lens provides. However, most people prefer darker tinted lenses to decrease the intensity of the sun on very bright days.


Q: Does having a prescription make it harder to get the right sunglasses?

No, prescription sunglasses can be made with a variety of tint colours and darkness, as well as full UV protection.