The goal of our myopia control clinic is to help children have healthier eyes for a lifetime. We accomplish this by keeping nearsighted (myopic) children from becoming more nearsighted over time. We know that a less nearsighted eye is a healthier eye. Higher amounts of myopia lead to an increased risk of glaucoma, cataract, retinal detachment, and myopic degeneration. Research shows that children who are nearsighted typically worsen over time. The rate of myopia in the United States rose from 25% in 1971 to 41% in 2004, and it continues to grow. By the year 2050 it is expected that half of the world’s population will be nearsighted! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now view progressive myopia as an epidemic.
Fortunately, you do not have to just watch your child continue to become more nearsighted. We now have the technology to slow this progression and, in some cases, stop it altogether. Myopia control techniques such as Overnight Sight (ONS) have been shown to slow the progression of myopia, resulting in lower prescriptions and healthier eyes.
Dr. Dwight Barnes is extremely dedicated to fighting the myopia epidemic and is recognized as an expert in the field of Myopia Control. He has been awarded fellowship in the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control, which is the highest level of certification for specialists in Myopia Control. He is currently the only fellow of this academy in the Triangle and one of only 155 in the world. Being very nearsighted himself, Dr. Barnes has a passion for helping children who are nearsighted. We invite you to call our office for an appointment (919-465-7400) with our Myopia Control Clinic to see if we can help preserve your child’s sight.
What is Myopia?
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a very common refractive error of the eye and causes distant objects to be blurry and close objects to be clear. Myopia usually begins in childhood and tends to worsen with age. A myopic eye is elongated, causing light to focus in front of the retina, leading to blurry distance vision.
See this graphic courtesy of mymyopia.com:
The Myopia Epidemic
The rate of myopia is on the rise, and it is estimated that by the year 2050 over half the world’s population will be nearsighted. Research shows that children who are nearsighted typically worsen over time. Higher amounts of myopia lead to an increased risk of cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachement, and myopic retinal degeneration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now views progressive childhood myopia as an epidemic.
Digital Eye Strain
The average American spends 7 hours a day on their digital devices, leading to significant levels of digital eye strain. In an indoor culture that emphasizes computer and mobile devices, children are more likely to have an increase in myopia, as the indoor visual environment lacks stimulation of peripheral vision.
Can Myopia Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent myopia in children is to spend more time playing outside. Children who spend more time outside have a significantly lower risk of myopia. Factors such as sunlight exposure and focusing on distant objects appear to play a role in decreasing the risk of myopia.
How do we measure myopia progression?
In addition to making sure your child’s vision is stable at each visit, we have invested in technology to allow us to carefully measure for progression of myopia. As children grow, the length of the eye from front to back (axial length) increases. However, when a child in becoming more nearsighted the axial length increases faster than it should. We use a technology called optical biometry that allows us to measure the axial length to the 100th of a millimeter. This way we can carefully monitor for myopia progression and adjust the treatment program if needed.
What if my Child is Already Nearsighted?
Fortunately, you do not have to just watch your child continue to become more nearsighted… We now have myopia control strategies that can significantly slow down the progression of myopia! We invite you to call our office for an appointment with our Myopia Control Clinic to see if we can help preserve your child’s sight.