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childhood myopia

Is Childhood Myopia (Nearsightedness) Dangerous?

Myopia (nearsightedness) progression in children is more than just a rapidly changing prescription. Medical research now indicates that myopia progression in children can actually be dangerous. As a child quickly develops and myopia rapidly progresses, the child is at risk of developing dangerous eye diseases later in life. Namely, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. The faster the progression, and the younger the child, the greater the risk.

To thwart any of these sight-robbing conditions, The Myopia Management Center At Coastal Family Eyecare offers evidence-based treatment to prevent the onset or reduce the progression of myopia in our pediatric patients. Our staff works closely with each family and provides personalized treatment programs based on the child’s unique needs.

What Is the Connection Between Myopia and Eye Disease?

Cataracts and Myopia

A child with medium to high myopia is 5 times more likely to develop cataracts in his or her lifetime. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye clouds rendering it difficult or even impossible to see.

Glaucoma and Myopia

Rates of glaucoma increase dramatically in children with myopia. A child with medium to high myopia is 5 times more likely to develop glaucoma — the leading cause of blindness in the United States and Canada. This condition develops when ocular fluid build-up places pressure on the eye, causing irreversible damage to the optic nerve.

Retinal Detachment

Recent research has shown that medium-to-high myopia significantly increases the risk of developing retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is a condition where the retina detaches from the layers beneath it, causing field vision loss, light flashes, floaters, and in severe cases — total loss of sight. A child with mild myopia (-4D to -7D) is 21 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, whereas a child with high myopia (-7D and higher) is 44 times more likely to develop this serious condition.

Myopic Macular Degeneration

Myopia is caused by the elongation of the eyeball. When myopia is extremely high, it can cause the retina to stretch, leading tears to form in the macula and bleeding to occur in the areas beneath the retina. This can result in irreversible vision loss and even blindness.

What To Do About Myopia Progression?

boy riding bicycleOne of the best things you can do to slow your child’s myopia progression is to ensure that he or she undergo routine annual eye exams. It’s important that Dr. Leonard monitor the rate at which the myopia is progressing. If your child’s vision is rapidly deteriorating, we can offer various myopia management measures to slow the progression and enable your child to experience a more mild form of myopia than he or she would have otherwise had without treatment.

What is Myopia Management?

Myopia management refers to different techniques to slow the progression of myopia in children and teens. These treatment options reduce the stress and fatigue which are ultimately responsible for deforming the cornea and therefore causing myopia. This, in turn, slows or even stops the development and progression of myopia. The Myopia Management Center At Coastal Family Eyecare currently offers several different customized and evidence-based treatment options for effective myopia management.

What Are the Treatment Options for Myopia?

Certain treatments in the form of eye drops, contact lenses or glasses, can help slow down a child’s myopia vision deterioration.

The treatments offered at our practice include:

  • Atropine eye drops
  • Orthokeratology (“ortho-k”)
  • Multifocal contact lenses
  • Multifocal glasses

Over a period of 6-12 months, patients are carefully monitored and reviewed to assess the efficacy of the chosen treatment modality.

For more information, or to learn how to get your child started with myopia management, get in touch with The Myopia Management Center At Coastal Family Eyecare, and our staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

The Myopia Management Center At Coastal Family Eyecare serves patients in Pensacola, Orange Beach, Tallahassee, and Mobile, and throughout FL.

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Dear Patients,

As of Tuesday evening, March 17th, the CDC has recommended that all routine eye care be deferred until further notice, in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through our community.

Please be assured that we are still available to triage all urgent and emergent calls during this challenging time.

We are officially closing our offices effective at 3:00pm today, March 20 th and tentatively plan to reopen on April 1 st . We are rescheduling all routine visits and are available by phone to triage ocular emergencies.

Our phone lines will be open:

Monday the 23 rd and 30 th : 10:00am to 5:00pm

Tuesday-Friday (24 th -27 th and the 31 st ): 9:00am to 3:00pm

What does this mean?

1) If you are scheduled for an annual eye examination we will tentatively reschedule you starting April 1 st

2) If you are running out of a medication please contact us and we can transmit a refill electronically to your pharmacy.

3) If you have an issue which cannot wait for an office visit, contact us and we will schedule a Telephone appointment with one of our doctors. Medicare has temporarily relaxed its telehealth rules to allow this type of communication during the pandemic crisis. Other insurers may follow suit and allow for reimbursement of virtual care costs. The consultation must be initiated at your request.

4) If you have an ocular emergency we are, as always, available to help you at any time. Call 1-850-455-0120 andwait for instructions at the end of the message.

Dr. Leonard or Dr. Charbonneau will discuss your condition by phone and make the best treatment decision for you on a one on one basis.

5) Please remember that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and resolve within a week. However, if you feel your symptoms are worsening, call ahead before visiting your doctor’s office or emergency department and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

The CDC has many wonderful resources. Arming yourself and your family with clear information will help you avoid undue stress.

https://bit.ly/2WxWYIe and https://bit.ly/33FBlXZ

Together we will weather this storm.

With sincerest wishes for your continued good health we remain at your service,

Dr. Clare L Leonard

Dr. Mary Charbonneau