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5 Common Keratoconus Questions, Answered

5 Common Keratoconus Questions, Answered 640If you’re reading this, you or someone you care about may have been recently diagnosed with keratoconus. We’ve compiled a few commonly asked questions about keratoconus to help you understand what it is, what causes it, and how your eye doctor can help.

1. What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive, non-inflammatory disease that causes the cornea to thin and bulge, resulting in a cone-shaped cornea. Over time, this bulge leads to myopia and irregular astigmatism, and vision becomes progressively distorted. Ongoing treatment is crucial to prevent significant vision loss.

2. What Are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?

Many patients aren’t aware that they have keratoconus, which typically begins during the teenage years.

Symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Blurry vision
  • Halos and glare around lights
  • Increased sensitivity to bright light
  • Headaches or eye irritation associated with eye pain
  • Progressively worsening vision that’s not easily corrected

3. What Causes Keratoconus?

While there is no one cause of keratoconus, a paper published in Biomed Research International (2015) identified these risk factors:

  • Genetics. About one in 10 people with keratoconus also has a family member with the condition.
  • Inflammation. Irritation and inflammation from allergies, asthma and other atopic eye diseases can lend to the development of keratoconus.
  • Frequent eye rubbing. Intense and frequent eye rubbing is thought to thin out the cornea and can worsen the condition.
  • Underlying disorders. Keratoconus has been associated with several conditions, including Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Leber congenital amaurosis, Marfan syndrome and Osteogenesis imperfecta.
  • UV light. UV light can cause oxidative stress, which weakens the corneas in predisposed eyes.
  • Weak collagen. In a healthy eye, small protein fibers called collagen help keep the cornea in a dome-like shape and free from bulges. In the case of keratoconus, the collagen fibers become weak and therefore can’t maintain the shape of the eye, which causes the cornea to bulge.

4. How Is Keratoconus Treated?

Scleral lenses are the most common and successful treatment for patients with keratoconus. These are specialized rigid, gas permeable contact lenses that have a very wide [diameter] and vault over the entire corneal surface, making them effective and comfortable for people with keratoconus.

5. Is There a Cure for Keratoconus?

Currently, there is no cure for keratoconus. However, in most cases, it can be successfully managed.

For mild to moderate keratoconus, scleral contact lenses are typically the treatment of choice, as they provide clear, comfortable vision.

A relatively non-invasive procedure called corneal cross-linking (CXL) can stabilize and strengthen a thinning and irregularly shaped cornea.

At The Scleral Lens Center At Washington Eye Doctors, we can recommend the best treatment options for your keratoconus, to help preserve your vision, and ensure the highest level of comfort and visual acuity. Call to schedule an appointment to start discussing your keratoconus treatment options.

The Scleral Lens Center At Washington Eye Doctors serves patients from Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Arlington, and Chevy Chase, all throughout District of Columbia.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt

Q: Can You Go Blind If You Have Keratoconus?

  • A: Keratoconus does not typically cause total blindness. However, as keratoconus progresses it can cause visual impairment including blurred distance vision, distortion, glare, astigmatism, extreme light sensitivity and even vision loss that can be classified as “legal blindness.

Q: Does keratoconus affect both eyes?

  • A: Yes, in approximately 90% of keratoconus cases, the disease will manifest in both eyes. However, the rate of progression and the timing of the onset of the disease is different for each eye.



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Why is My Dry Eye More Severe in the Mornings?

sleepy mornings 640Waking up in the morning is hard enough, but waking up with stinging, burning eyes is even worse! If your eyes feel itchy and scratchy, this miserable morning sensation may be caused by dry eye syndrome. Your tear glands may be clogged or producing insufficient tears and oils to retain moisture.

But why do certain people experience more acute dry eye symptoms in the mornings? Here are some reasons:

What Causes Red, Itchy or Painful Eyes Upon Waking?

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

Nocturnal lagophthalmos is the inability to close one’s eyelids completely during sleep. Since the surface of your eye is exposed at night, it becomes dry. Left untreated, this condition can damage your cornea.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyes caused by bacterial overgrowth. These bacteria are active at night, causing dry eye-related symptoms of redness, soreness and irritation upon waking.

Environment

A gritty sensation in your eyes can also be caused by the environment. For example, sleeping directly in front of or under an air vent, heating units, or ceiling fans can dry out your eyes. In addition, sensitivity to allergens like dust that accumulate in the bedroom can cause your eyes to become dry and irritated.

Medications

Some types of over-the-counter and prescription medication can dehydrate the eyes. These include:

  • Antihistamines and decongestants
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Hypertension drugs
  • Hormones
  • Drugs for gastrointestinal problems
  • Pain relievers
  • Skin medications
  • Chemotherapy medications

In the majority of cases, medication-related dry eye symptoms will resolve once you discontinue the meds. However, it may take several weeks or months for symptoms to completely disappear.

Age

Many people develop dry eye symptoms with age, as tear production tends to decrease and becomes less efficient as we grow older.

How to Treat Morning Dry Eye

Depending on the cause, morning dry eye can be treated with sleeping masks, lubricating eye drops and ointment applied right before bed. To ensure that you sleep in a moisture-rich environment, consider using a humidifier. In severe cases of nocturnal lagophthalmos, eyelid surgery may be necessary.

If you are tired of waking up to red, burning eyes, visit your eye doctor for long-lasting relief. Contact The Dry Eye Center At Washington Eye Doctors to determine the cause of your morning dry eye and receive an effective treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Dry eye can occur if the glands in your eyelids don’t produce enough oil to keep your tears from evaporating, or if you don’t produce enough water for healthy tears. No matter the cause, it’s important to have your condition diagnosed and treated to protect your vision and ensure good eye health.

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: Dry eye is a chronic condition, so there’s is no cure for it. However, many treatment methods can help you manage this condition for long-term relief. If you have dry eye syndrome, we invite you to contact us to discover the best treatment for your needs.


 

The Dry Eye Center At Washington Eye Doctors serves patients from Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Arlington and Chevy Chase, all throughout District of Columbia.

 

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Call Us 202-335-5032

How to Choose Eyeglass Frames For Your Features

You’re ready for new glasses. But how do you know which frames will best suit your features?

Some people take pictures of all the pairs they try on and send them to their friends, family or coworkers for feedback. But that’s time consuming and not particularly efficient.

Here’s a better way! Learn what frame features to look to suit the size and shape of your face, as well as your skin tone.

Below are a handful of tips that are sure to help select your frame.

What’s Your Face Shape?

The secret to finding your perfect frames is choosing a pair that best suits your face shape.

You see, our features vaguely resemble particular geometric shapes.

For example:

  • Heart-shaped faces have a narrow chin, a wide forehead and cheeks, and are sometimes topped off with a widow’s peak hairline
  • Round faces have full cheeks, a more rounded hairline and chin, and are similar in width and length
  • Oval faces are similar to round faces, except longer and thinner
  • Square faces have a strong jawline and forehead, and are roughly equal in width and length

So a pair of rectangular frames on a square face will further emphasize the squareness, but rounder glasses can help soften those angles. Rectangular frames are best suited for an oval or round face.

If you don’t already know your face shape, just look in the mirror, close one eye, and draw the outline of your face with a washable marker. The end result should resemble one of the above-mentioned shapes.

Size and Color Matter

Consider the size and color of the frames, along with their shape. They should be the right size for your face—not too big and not too small. This is true for both adults and children.

If you have a cool skin tone, colors to consider for your frames are blue, pink, blue-grey, silver, black, or rose-brown.

If you have warmer skin tones, frame colors like warm blue, off-white, fire-engine red, orange, copper, peach, copper or gold tend to look better.

Looking for Your Ideal Frames? We Can Help!

Want to look great and see clearly? Pop on over and select from a wide range of high-quality designer frames and independent eyewear that match your personal style.

If you need any help, our dedicated optician will happily help you find something that will make you feel confident as ever. Our inclusive selection of sunglasses, eyeglasses, reading glasses, and contact lenses guarantee that you’ll achieve clear and comfortable vision in style.

Contact or visit Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. so we can start looking for the perfect frames for you.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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Q&A

Frequntly Asked Questions with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt

Q: How do I choose glasses that my child will actually wear?

  • A: When choosing frames for your child, the most important factor is to let them help in the selection process. When children are allowed to choose their glasses frames they will be much more likely to wear them.

Q: How often should I get a new pair of glasses?

  • A: Optometrists recommend updating to new glasses every one to three years as needed.
    If your prescription has changed, you should definitely get a new pair to prevent eye strain and increase comfort.

Are You Farsighted or Nearsighted?

Odds are, you or someone you know wears glasses due to being farsighted or nearsighted. But what does that really mean?

When you’re farsighted, you’re able to clearly see an object that is far away, while closeby objects appear blurry. For instance, you might need glasses to read a book but not to drive. If you’re nearsighted, it’s the opposite, which explains why it’s easy to read a book but not a road sign in the distance

What Does It Mean to Be Farsighted?

Farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, occurs when the eyeball is too short or the cornea’s curve is too flat. This causes the light rays entering the eye to focus behind the retina instead of directly on the retina.

Hyperopia is often seen in babies, but usually displays no obvious signs because a young child’s eyes have the ability to adapt. Children with undiagnosed hyperopia may develop a lazy eye or eye turn.

Signs of farsightedness may include:

  • Headaches or fatigue after doing close work such as reading, writing or drawing
  • Squinting to see clearly
  • Trouble focusing on nearby objects
  • Eye-turn
  • Clumsiness or poor eye-hand coordination

What Does It Mean to Be Nearsighted?

Nearsightedness, also called myopia, occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina.

Myopia normally starts in childhood and progresses until the late teen years, when the eyes stop growing. The vast majority of school-aged children, teenagers, and young adults who need glasses have been diagnosed with myopia.

Signs of nearsightedness may include:

  • Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
  • Headaches caused by eyestrain
  • Being unaware of distant objects
  • Difficulty seeing while driving, especially at night
  • Excessive blinking
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Needing to sit close to the computer or television, or at the front of the classroom
  • Persistent squinting or partially closing the eyelids to see clearly

As with farsightedness, people with nearsightedness can benefit from glasses and contact lenses. While some people might need to wear glasses or contact lenses only for computer work or reading, others might need to wear them all the time.

A comprehensive eye exam tests for farsightedness and nearsightedness, and assesses your eye health. Contact Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. to schedule your eye exam

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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How’s Your Hand-Eye Coordination?

People with poor hand-eye coordination are sometimes perceived as clumsy or inattentive. The truth is that poor hand-eye coordination stems from a deficit in visual-motor coordination. Fortunately, your eye doctor will assess your coordination during a comprehensive eye exam.

What Is Hand-Eye Coordination?

Hand-eye coordination is a person’s ability to smoothly control their hand movements based on the visual cues they receive from the brain. When the eyes and brain are communicating effectively, a person’s hand-eye coordination can be drastically improved. Many activities, from driving a car to catching a ball, depend on our visual system working at its best.

Here’s how it works: Our eyes capture what they see around them, and send this visual information to the brain. The brain processes and interprets these images, and then communicates with our hands and arms, informing them of the object’s position, speed, size and many other parameters.

This process is very complex and must work seamlessly for our hands to react quickly to visual stimuli. Having good hand-eye coordination can be the difference between turning the steering wheel away from an encroaching car to avoid an accident, or being hit by that car.

We all utilize hand-eye coordination multiple times throughout the day when doing things like:

  • Writing
  • Driving
  • Typing
  • Playing a video game
  • Exercising or playing sports
  • Inserting a credit card into a chip reader

When the visual and motor systems don’t communicate efficiently, a person may experience symptoms like clumsiness at the very least, and professional, academic or developmental challenges at the worst. For example, poor hand-eye coordination can interfere with typing skills, attention and handwriting.

Even a person with perfect visual acuity (eyesight) and great motor skills can experience poor hand-eye coordination. That’s because the problem usually isn’t with the individual systems, but rather how the brain, eyes and the body interact with each other.

Eye Exams Can Detect Problems With Visual Skills

Assessing hand-eye coordination is crucial for both adults and children, as this skill greatly impacts most parts of life.

At your comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will check several visual skills, including hand-eye coordination. If a problem with hand-eye coordination or any other visual skill is found, Dr. Michael Rosenblatt will discuss the next steps in treating and correcting the problem.

To schedule an eye exam for you or your child, call Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today!

Q&A

#1: What other visual skills are evaluated during an eye exam?

During an eye exam, your optometrist will test for visual acuity, convergence, eye tracking, eye teaming, color vision, and focusing. Testing these skills is especially important for school-aged children, since learning and academic performance heavily depend on healthy vision.

#2: How often do you need a comprehensive eye exam?

Adults should have their eyes examined by an optometrist every year, or as frequently as their optometrist recommends. Children should have their eyes first checked at 6-12 months of age and then as frequently as advised by the optometrist. As a rule, most children should be seen when they are 2 or 3 years old, before first grade and then every year thereafter.

If you have any concerns about your child’s vision or are yourself due for an eye exam, contact us today. We want what’s best for your vision and life!

Why Are Blue Eyes More Sensitive To Light?

Did you know that blue eyes don’t contain any blue pigment? They appear blue due to how the light reacts with the structures of the iris.

In fact, the top layer of a blue iris doesn’t contain any pigment at all. This lack of pigment is the reason that blue-eyed people may be more sensitive to bright light and have a greater need to wear sunglasses than their brown-eyed counterparts.

Why Do Your Eyes Need Sun Protection?

Eyes of all colors need shielding from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Exposure to UV light can contribute to the formation of short-term and long-term eye conditions such as corneal sunburn and macular degeneration.

That’s why it’s so important to choose high-quality sunwear with 100% UV blocking lenses, and to throw on a sun hat for an added layer of protection.

UV protection is important for individuals of all ages—especially children—who are more susceptible than adults to the sun’s harmful rays, and tend to spend more time outdoors. It is estimated that up to 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV rays happens before the age of 18.

Why are Blue Eyes More Sensitive to Light?

Lighter colored eyes like blue, hazel and green have less of a pigment called ‘melanin’ than brown eyes do.

Melanin helps protect the retina from UV damage and blue light, putting those with blue eyes at a higher risk of developing UV-related eye damage.

If you have blue eyes, you may have experienced this first-hand. Bright light may be uncomfortable or you may want to reach for your shades as soon as you leave the house on a sunny day.

That’s why optometrists urge blue-eyed patients to be particularly vigilant about UV protection, so as to mitigate their chances of developing eye disease and other complications.

How We Can Help

Whether you have blue eyes or not, sunglasses are an important part of keeping your eyes healthy for a lifetime.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we’ll be happy to advise on the perfect high-quality and protective pair of sunglasses to suit your needs and personal style.

To learn more about the eye care services we offer or to schedule an eye exam, contact Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today!

Q&A:

Frequently Asked Questions with Michael P. Rosenblatt OD

Q 1: Should I wear sunglasses even when it’s not sunny outside?

  • A: Yes! You should wear your sunglasses whenever outdoors during the day, even on an overcast, winter day. UV light can pass through clouds and reflect off surfaces like car windows and pavement.

Q 2: What type of sunglasses are the most suitable for blue eyes?

  • A: The most protective sunglasses are wraparound sunglasses that protect the eyes from every angle. You can also opt for photochromic lenses, which offer total UV protection but only become tinted when exposed to outdoor sunlight, and turn clear when you come indoors again. Your optometrist can help you choose the best lens and frame options for your needs and lifestyle.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Washington, District of Columbia. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Spending Hours At Your Computer? Protect Your Eyes with Blue-Light-Blocking Lutina Lenses

Every day, people all over the world are exposed to blue light emitted by the sun, LED lights, fluorescent lighting and computer screens.

It has long been known that blue light causes eye strain and disrupts circadian rhythm, affecting our sleep patterns. Now, researchers are studying whether an excessive amount of exposure to blue light poses other risks to eye health.

How Does Blue Light Affect The Eye?

Each visible light color has a unique energy level and wavelength. Since blue light has a short wavelength and higher energy, it can penetrate into the retina at the back of the eye.

Studies have shown that the retina’s light sensitive nerve cells can be damaged when exposed to excessively high levels of blue light. Researchers are studying whether the blue light emitted by digital devices like computers, cell phones and tablets is enough to qualify as excessive exposure that could result in eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration.

What is certain is that blue light contributes to digital eye strain, since blue light has more energy. This exacerbates the scattering of light when it enters the eye, compared to other light rays. As the scattered blue light rays enter the eye, they create ‘visual noise’ — the eye has difficulty accurately focusing the light.

Symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Frequent need to blink or rub your eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches and eyestrain
  • Trouble with accommodation (focusing between near and far)

How Do Lutina Lenses Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light?

Lutina lenses, developed by Tokai Optecs, are lenses – not a coating – that have the ability to cut UV-rays, just like other lenses. However, unlike other lenses, they can absorb blue light (light between 400 to 420 nm). This further decreases the scattering effect of the blue light in the eye.

Another benefit of the Lutina lens is that it can protect the retina, as blue light can cause damage to the retinal nerve cells through a process known as ‘oxidative stress.’ Lutein is one of the three pigments that are present in very high concentrations in the retina. Reducing the amount of blue light hitting the retina effectively reduces the oxidative stress and damage to the lutein, therefore protecting retinal health.

For more information about the effects of blue light and how Lutina lenses can help keep your eyes healthy, contact Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C..

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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4 Reasons Why Scleral Lenses Are a Big Deal

happy girl wearing contact lenses 640Scleral contact lenses have been called “life-changing” and “transformative” by patients who wear them.

What makes these contact lenses so revolutionary?

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses are contacts that vault over the entire cornea and rest on the white part of the eye (sclera). Their diameter is much larger than standard lenses, which adds to their comfort and compatibility with hard-to-fit eyes.

Here’s why they’re gaining popularity in the contact lens world and why patients and doctors are calling sclerals a big deal.

1. Sclerals are Ideal for People with Corneal Irregularities or Dry Eyes

There was a time when patients with corneal irregularities or severe dry eye syndrome weren’t able to wear contact lenses at all, due to the discomfort associated with direct corneal contact. Nowadays, patients with keratoconus, other corneal aberrations or dry eye can successfully wear scleral contact lenses and enjoy comfortable and crisp vision.

Scleral lenses are also great for patients with corneal dystrophy, high astigmatism, Sjorgren’s syndrome, corneal trauma and corneal ectasia, or who have undergone cataract surgery.

2. They’re Completely Custom-Made

Each pair of scleral contact lenses is custom-designed to gently and securely rest on your unique eyes. The fitting process for scleral lenses starts with corneal topography, where the optometrist creates a digital map of your eye’s surface. This information is then used to customize your perfectly fitted pair of sclerals.

3. They Offer Optimal Visual Clarity and Comfort

The liquid reservoir that sits between the lens and the eye helps enhance the visual optics of the lens. Moreover, scleral lenses are made of very high-grade materials and don’t place any pressure on the cornea, delivering ultimate all-day comfort. Many patients have reported that they comfortably wear sclerals for up to 14 hours a day, which is longer than the wear time for standard soft contact lenses.

4. They Promote Eye Healing

Scleral contact lenses protect the eye by surrounding it with an oxygen-permeable, liquid-filled chamber. This hydrating environment gives the eye the moisture and oxygen it needs to stay healthy and ward off outside irritants.

This can also explain why scleral lenses promote healing of the eye’s surface, whether after a corneal transplant or when recovering from a chemical burn or other eye injury.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a corneal condition that prevents you from wearing standard lenses, consider scleral lenses. To schedule an appointment or to learn more, call The Scleral Lens Center At Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. today!

The Scleral Lens Center At Washington Eye Doctors serves patients from Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Arlington, Chevy Chase and throughout District of Columbia.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt

Q: #1: How long do a pair of scleral lenses last?

  • A: Scleral lenses can last 1-2 years before requiring replacement. Your optometrist will provide you with instructions on how to wear and care for your lenses to keep them feeling fresh and clean, day in day out.

Q: #2: Are scleral lenses expensive?

  • A: Just like any other customized product, scleral lenses tend to be more expensive than standard soft contact lenses. Although they have a higher price point, most patients who wear them will tell you that their comfort, visual clarity and stability make them worth the cost.


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Call Us 202-335-5032

Childhood Myopia Is in Crisis Mode on a Global Scale

When it comes to the prevalence of myopia (nearsightedness), the statistics are staggering. By 2050, nearly half of the world’s population—about 5 billion people—will be myopic. Below are a few useful tips to help you prevent your child from being part of that statistic.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates, causing light rays to focus in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it, while looking at something far away. So, people with nearsightedness perceive distant objects as blurred while close-up objects can remain clear.

Myopia tends to develop during childhood, when the eyeballs rapidly grow (along with the rest of the body), mainly between the ages of 8-18. It can worsen slowly or quickly, but it is not simply an inconvenience. People with progressive myopia are more likely to develop serious eye diseases like cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration and glaucoma later in life—conditions which may lead to permanent loss of vision and even blindness.

How To Know Whether Your Child Is Myopic

Below are some telltale signs to watch for:

  • Blurred distance vision – Objects in the distance are blurred; kids may complain that they can’t see the board
  • Headaches – When myopia isn’t corrected, it can cause eye strain and headaches.
  • Head tilting or squinting – If your child squints or tilts his or her head while watching TV, for example, it may be a symptom of myopia.
  • Looking at objects too closely – If you notice your child moving closer to the TV or squinting as they try to see the writing on the board, it may indicate myopia.

What Parents Can Do to Slow Their Child’s Myopia Progression

  • Encourage your child to go outdoors for at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Studies show that playing outdoors reduces the risk of developing myopia and slows its progression.
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends staring at a screen, reading and doing close work such as homework.
  • When your child uses a digital screen, make sure that it isn’t too close to the face.
  • Teach the 20-20-20 rule: During screen time, take a break every 20 minutes to look at an object across the room or out the window about 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions with Michael P. Rosenblatt OD

Q: How is myopia diagnosed?

  • A: Your child’s eye doctor will perform a thorough pediatric eye exam to diagnose myopia, which often includes a visual acuity test, where the eye doctor will use an eye chart made up of letters of varied sizes. If the test results indicate myopia, then the optometrist may shine a light into their eyes and evaluate the reflection off the retina to determine the degree of refractive error for their prescription.

Q: Can myopia lead to blindness?

  • A: High myopia may increase your child’s risk of developing more serious eye conditions later in life, such as cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma. Left untreated, high myopia complications can sometimes lead to blindness—which is why routine eye exams are critical.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Washington, District Columbia. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Why Does Outdoor Time Delay Or Prevent Myopia?

outdoor children 640Now that myopia (nearsightedness) is reaching epidemic proportions across the globe, it’s all the more important for parents to understand how myopia can impact their child’s future, and learn which actions they should take to protect their child’s eye health in the long run.

You see, myopia isn’t simply an inconvenience. Childhood myopia raises the risk of developing vision-robbing diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy later in life.

Myopia develops as the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This manifests as blurred distance vision and clear near vision.

While myopia is caused by a combination of circumstances, including genetic and environmental, a key factor comes down to the amount of time a child spends outdoors in the sunlight.

How Does Outdoor Play Affect Myopia?

Although researchers haven’t yet pinpointed exactly why “sun time” prevents or delays myopia, almost all agree that it plays a large role.

One possible reason is correlated to the brightness of the sun. Some experts have found that the intensity of the sun’s rays triggers a dopamine release in the retina which is thought to slow down the elongation of the eye.

Another theory holds that outdoor time encourages a child to shift their gaze from near objects to faraway ones. Excessive near work, like staring at a digital screen, is believed to be a driving force behind the stark increase in myopic individuals today.

Sending a child outdoors to play gives their eyes a break from focusing on their tablets, smartphones, homework, gaming and other near work.

Additionally, spending more time in the sunshine means more Vitamin-D production. Small-scale studies have found nearsighted people have lower levels of Vitamin D than those with normal eyesight. However, more research is needed to confirm this theory.

Here’s the Bottom Line

Childhood myopia increases the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. Parents should be proactive about their child’s eye health and do what they can to prevent myopia from developing or progressing at a rapid rate.

Even if your child doesn’t have myopia, encouraging them to play outdoors for several hours a day has been found to prevent the onset of myopia in certain instances.

So go ahead and give your child a water bottle, sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses—and send them out to play! Children aged 6 and up should spend about 2 hours daily outside in the sunshine.

But sun time alone isn’t enough to ensure the best possible outcome for their eye health. A myopia management program can help give your child the best odds of healthy vision for a lifetime.

To learn more about the myopia treatments we offer and schedule your child’s myopia consultation, call The Myopia Management Center At Washington Eye Doctors today!


Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt

Q: #1: What is myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management is the science-based method used to slow or halt the progression of myopia. There are several options available, and your optometrist will sit down with you and your child to discuss which treatment option is most suitable for your child’s needs.

Q: #2: Who can benefit from myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management treatments have been approved for children as young as 8 and can be used until early adulthood. Myopia management is great for children with low myopia but can also be effective for slowing myopia progression in kids and teens with moderate to high myopia. Contact us to find out whether your child is a candidate for myopia management.

The Myopia Management Center At Washington Eye Doctors serves patients from Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Arlington and Chevy Chase, all throughout District of Columbia.

 

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Call Us 202-335-5032