The Connections Warren-Watchung Edition Feb 2020 If your child has difficulty seeing dis- tant objects, he/she may be suffering from myopia , also known as nearsight- edness. Rates of this visual disease are growing at epidemic proportions. Accord- ing to the May, 2016 journal, Oph- thalmology, based on current trends, it is estimated that 50% of the world population will by myopic by the year 2050. The Archives of Ophthalmology published the findings that in 2009, in America alone, myopia af- fects 42% of the population, as compared to only 25% of the population in 1971. The causes of myopia are both genetic and environmental. Less time outdoors and more time focusing the eyes up close for extended periods of time, such as smartphones, reading and computers, may increase the prevalence of myopia. These factors can cause the eye to elon- gate during the growing years, preventing light rays from properly focusing on the back of your child’s retina. These physical changes to the eye cause blurred vision of distant objects. Myopia usually begins in childhood at school age (around 6) and can worsen until the early adult years. Myopia is more than a children’s vision issue – it’s a major health issue! The Bei- jing Eye Study found long-term ocular consequences of untreated myopia can include premature cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachments, and myopic macular degeneration. Untreated myopia can also impact on a child’s quality of life by im- pairing learning ability, causing self-es- teem issues, and hindering ability to play sports. Orthokeratology is a non-surgical, reversible therapy that uses specially designed contact lenses worn overnight to treat myopia and slow myopic progres- sion. When the contact lenses are re- moved in the morning, children can see clearly without the use of daytime glasses or contact lenses. Unlike conventional daytime contact lenses, which can cause dry eye and discomfort, Orthokeratology lenses are worn overnight. They gently correct the curvature of the cornea during sleep. In the morning, the lenses are removed and improved vision can be en- joyed throughout the day. Orthokeratology therapy not only corrects vision – clinical studies suggest it may slow the progres- sion of myopia thereby potentially de- creasing the chances of sight- threatening diseases caused by progressive myopia. The doctor’s at Suburban Eye Institute are Orthokeratology CRT Certified to pro- vide their patients the option of myopia control through Orthokeratology therapy. Through the years, the doctors have had consistent success with the CRT lens by Paragon. The CRT lens was the first FDA approved overnight orthokeratology lens design. Over 1.5 million CRT lenses have been prescribed in over 50 countries worldwide. Although Orthokeratology is popular in children and young adults, there is no age restriction to prescribing CRT lenses. LASIK, or laser refractive surgery, is not an option for children since it is approved by the FDA for 18 and older and only after the vision has stabilized. Orthokeratology gives active children the option of clear vi- sion without the daytime complications of dryness, discomfort, broken or lost glasses or contact lenses, or fitting glasses under a helmet. Children have the freedom to enjoy sports like swimming and gymnas- tics and can easily wear a helmet and play on dusty fields without getting anything under their contacts. Myopia reversal begins in the first 24 hours with the majority of the improve- ment in vision being over a 2-3 month pe- riod of time. To find out more about the CRT Orthokeratology therapy program at The Suburban Eye Institute and to see if you or your children are candidates, please call (908) 464-0123 or stop by our office at 369 Springfield Avenue in Berke- ley Heights. PAGE 47 Health & Wellness