Is my child’s vision being harmed by watching digital screens?
We know that a significant amount of time watching digital screens held close to the eyes will induce myopia. Myopia can increase through time spent from near-work, including both watching digital screens and reading books. That is why we recommend the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes watching a digital screen, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. This break in the activity will help to reduce myopia.
Are there benefits to myopia management beyond not having to buy my child a new pair of glasses every year or so, when his/her prescription changes?
The most important reason for myopia management is to reduce the physical enlargement of the eye itself, which will thin the eye out like a balloon which keeps inflating. The retina will stretch, and become thinner. Thin retinas can lead to myopic degeneration or even what we call pathological myopia which can have a very detrimental effect on the eyes later in life. It will lead to increased chances for retinal tears, retinal detachments, cataracts and glaucoma. The whole idea of myopia management is to reduce progression so that we are less likely to seepermanent visual loss in later years.
Can’t my child just have LASIK when s/he is older?
Popular belief is that refractive surgery will eliminate the patient’s myopia, while in fact LASIK only changes the curvature of the cornea, and the retina remains as thin as it was before. As we know, we are in a digital world with much screen time for children, students, and adults, and myopic progression never truly stops (although it happens in large part when we are young, as our eyes are still physically growing). As long as there are near-tasks being performed, myopia can still progress, and the entire idea behind myopia control is to slow down that progression, although we cannot fully stop it.
My child is very young. Will s/he be able to handle contact lenses for myopia management?
We have fit patients as young as six years of age with contact lenses. We do, of course, ask the parents to be involved in the entire process. We need their assistance in the insertion and removal of the lenses. Age is not a big factor when it comes to myopia control, but if we find that contact lenses are not suitable for a child, we can prescribe special glasses with lenses which aid in myopia control.