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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

When Children Need Glasses

The owner of the Georgia Eye Center, in Tucker, Dr. Kyle Jones, uses using the non-invasive Ortho-K retainer (wave corneal molding) for children and adults with nearsighted and farsighted vision, those needing bifocal vision and athletes. But he has a special interest in helping kids.

He states, “Kids’ eyesight can worsen from year-to-year because of several factors: television and computer screens, genetics, posture and time spent doing near work all play a role regarding worsening vision.” Jones suggests that parents limit their time on laptops, iPads and video games, making sure that they use good posture. Or better yet, have them spend more time outdoors.

“The Hollywood stereotype of smart people wearing glasses touches upon a truth— studies have found that kids in Singapore with higher exam scores are more likely to be myopic, and adults with more education are more likely to be nearsighted.” says Jones. “This may mean that the duration or intensity with which people do near work does affect their risk for nearsightedness, even though near work studies in Australia have been inconsistent.”

Jones advises that there is no age limit for wearing contact lenses or Ortho-K retainers. “Babies can wear them, and so can seniors. Many eye care professionals begin to encourage contact lens wear at age 11 to 14. The real issue for teens is not age, but whether they are responsible enough to wear and care for contact lenses properly. Parents, teens and their eye care practitioner must make this decision together.”

In the doctor’s opinion, worsening nearsightedness is a big deal, because even mild and moderate myopia has been associated with an increased prevalence of glaucoma. “In an Australian study, glaucoma was found in 4.2 percent of eyes with mild myopia and 4.4 percent of eyes with moderate-to-high myopia, compared with 1.5 percent of eyes without myopia,” explains Jones. “The study authors concluded there is a strong relationship between myopia and glaucoma, and that nearsighted participants in the study had a two to three times greater risk of glaucoma than participants with no myopia.”

He cites a Chinese study in which glaucoma was significantly associated with the severity of myopia. He notes, “Among adults age 40 or older, those with high myopia had more than twice the odds of having glaucoma as study participants with moderate myopia, and more than three times the odds of individuals with mild myopia.”

But that’s not all. “In a study published in American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found myopia was a clear risk factor for retinal detachment. Results showed eyes with mild myopia had a four-fold increased risk of retinal detachment compared with non-myopic eyes,” says Jones. “Among eyes with moderate and high myopia, the risk increased 10-fold.” The study authors also concluded that almost 55 percent of retinal detachments not caused by trauma are attributable to myopia.

“The best thing you can do to help slow the progression of your child’s myopia is to schedule annual eye exams, so your eye doctor can monitor how much and how fast his or her eyes are changing,” advises Jones.

His specialty, Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) involves fitting specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses that are worn overnight. While asleep, the lenses gently reshape the cornea of the eye to see clearly the following day after removing the lenses upon waking. Ortho-K lenses are prescribed for two purposes: to correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, astigmatism and hyperopia; and to slow the progression of childhood myopia. These corneal reshaping contact lenses can go a long way toward preventing a potential lifetime of vision problems.

Georgia Eye Center is located at 4135 LaVista Rd., Ste. 100, in Tucker, GA. For more information, call 770-939-8840 or visit GeorgiaEyeCenter.net.

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