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Myopia (Nearsightedness) Prevention
Myopia is an eye condition that blurs
the distance vision but has a clear focal point
somewhere within arms reach. The greater
the myopia, the closer focal point.
Halting the progression of myopia could
impact the lives of about 42 million children
in the U.S. Once myopia begins in children
8 to 13 years old, it usually gets worse by
three quarters of a diopter per year. Eye glass
prescriptions are made in quarters. There’s
four quarters in a dollar and four quarters in
a diopter. If a child is first diagnosed with
myopia at the age of 8 and worsens at the
usual rate, he or she will be a -6.00 by the age
of 15. This means without visual correction
they will only be able to see clear at a distance
of six inches!
What causes nearsightedness? Don’t only
blame genes. Although, several studies have
shown that a child with one or both parents
nearsighted increases the risk of myopia,
genes can not fully explain the great surge
in myopia world-wide. Neither does extended
near work, such as reading and computers.
Studies on populations that have not adopted
a westernized lifestyle show that only 2%
are nearsighted, while the U.S. is 41.6% as
of 2004 and Asians are 60 to 80% myopic.
In 1900, Eskimos had a near sighted rate of
2% and by the 1950’s with the adoption of a
processed, sugary, westernized diet the rate
was around 50%! Genes and environment
play a role in myopia, but sugar may also
have a critical role. A number of studies have
shown that children with many cavities are
more likely to have greater degrees of myopia.
What can be done at home to prevent or
1. Get outside at least 12 hours a week.
2. Minimize the amount of processed
sugar in the diet. It’s recommended to
consume less than eight teaspoons of
sugar a day, while the typical American
child consumes 22 teaspoons a day. (Four
grams equals one teaspoon) Added sugar
on the label can be called high fructose
corn syrup, refined sugar, cane sugar,
dextrose, agave nectar, glucose, and
sucrose to name a few.
3. Apply the 20/20 rule. For every twenty
minutes you read or stare at a computer/
smartphone, take a 20 second break and
look at the window or at something 20
feet away. The eyes need to focus and
work harder while doing near work and
they relax when viewing in the distance.
Another theory of myopic progression is
that the eyes become nearsighted due to
excessive near work.
4. Wear up-to-date glasses. When under
corrected (ie old prescription or not
wearing glasses) the eyes get worse at a
faster rate of nearsightedness.
What can be prescribed by your eye
doctor to prevent or slow myopia?
1. Orthokeratology lenses also known
as ortho-k, CRT, or GVSS. Very small
retainers custom fit to your eyes, worn
only for sleep and when removed in the
morning, you have clear vision throughout
the day! Works well for those who play
sports that don’t allow glasses and contact
lenses can get water or dirt on them, such
as water polo, volleyball, cheerleading,
football, baseball, and soccer to name a
2. If not a candidate for ortho-k and myopic
progression is a great concern, a very
diluted dilating drop may be perscribed.
3. In select cases, reading, bifocal or
progressive glasses or multifocal contact
lenses or eye exercises.
Dr. Nathan Schramm, O.D., C.N.S. is an
optometric physician and an ocular nutrition
specialist. He is in practice with his wife, Dr. Julie
Abraham O.D., at various locations throughout
south Florida. The clinic is currently accepting
new patients for eye exams, glasses, contact
lenses, and eye disease management.
Natural Eyes of Weston 2863 Executive Park Dr. Suite 103 Weston, FL 33331 Ph: 954-217-2992
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