As we begin, let me invite you to consider a small paradox: the cause of your child’s myopia, in today’s world, is practically unavoidable. If we are to consider what a healthy child’s eyes require to remain functioning well, we will conclude that we can not provide that environment.
Most children, in normal development, start out as hyperopics (far sighted). Their eyeball shape tends to be too short (the opposite of axial myopia, where the eyeball has become too long). This corrects itself during childhood, resulting in normal vision. The child’s eye is very adaptable, and tends to respond favorably to external stimulus.
This young, healthy physiology creates a problem.
Before we get to that, let’s look some more at what the child’s eye requires to develop properly:
- (Indirect), natural U.V. light exposure.
- Dietary requirements (beta carotene, omega 3 fatty acids).
- Stimulus (distance vision, moving objects).
- Rest (sleep, low close-up focus exposure).
As you look at that list, consider how much effect you know some of these types of things have on your child’s physical development. Poor nutrition, or a lack of calories, can easily causes stunted growth. Lack of sleep, improper stimulus, has shown to negatively affect brain development, may cause ADHD. The list goes on – and most parents are aware of the general premises for healthy physical development.
Except for eyesight development, that is.
Most of us are not educated about this aspect. We know that the child must be taught about dental hygiene. The dentist will not shrug and says that cavities are normal, and suggest fillings as a normal cause of action. He will give you a toothbrush, and tell you that brushing will prevent the problem!
Interestingly enough though, this is not the case with most optometrists. You do get the shoulder shrug and fillings equivalent there. Minus lens prescriptions – it is exactly the same thing as filling cavities.
The program will help you deal with today’s realities. The big, big problem with all child myopia development is two-fold.
First, too much close-up focus.
Children are even worse about this, getting very very close to book pages, and screens. The closer the eye is to the object, the more the focusing muscle (ciliary) is contracted, the higher the strain. A child’s eye, still in development, is at risk of adapting this close-up focus as ‘default’, and encouraging lots and lots of myopic growth (the eyeball elongating).
We will discuss a whole range of options to lessen close-up focus, as well as tricks to help the eye deal with the close-up focus that we can’t avoid.
And the second problem, minus prescriptions.
If your child is currently diagnosed at less than -1.25D, I suggest considering removing that focal plane change (glasses) completely. Please e-mail me (if you are in one-on-one), or post in the form (if you subscribe to the Web Program only), for an opinion for your case, before you do this. The very serious problem with minus lenses is that they will ‘lock in’ the myopia, and encourage axial elongation. It is a very serious problem, created specifically by the prescription lens.
We may have to gradually reduce the prescription, if your child is already accustomed to wearing it (sometimes this is actually better, and helps speed up progress – rather than eliminating the prescription all at once).
If your child is at multiple diopters, we certainly will have to move back slowly. We will combine this with stimulus and reduced strain, so that we can effectively turn back and reverse the cause of the myopia.
What can you do, today?
The actionable lesson from this first installment is very simple:
- 1. Observe how much time your child spends focused up close. If possible, create a daily log.
- 2. Observe the distance. How many centimeters is the child from up-close objects?
- 3. Observe the medium. Books? Computers?
- 4. Observe the activity. Is it for school? Reading? Games?
We don’t want to make harsh and unplanned changes. Success is all about understanding the current situation, and taking measured steps to change what we need to. Taking away the iPad, turning off the TV, certainly sounds like a good idea. But then, what will replace it? Will your child resent you, and the whole process, from day one?
Success comes not primarily from just fixing the problem itself – what makes it all stick, is habits. The only way we will get good cooperation from the child, and good habits, is to slowly affect change, and replace current habits with other, equally fulfilling ones. This is a mistake parents often make, when first exposed to rehab – it is much better to take things very slowly and methodically.
So for this week, just observe. Keep a log. Add up the hours, figure average distance, and activity. Then we have something we can start to work with. You may change just a few centimeters, and maybe a half hour a day, in the next month or two. Barely noticeable – but done correctly, this will get us on course to stop the strain, and start to work on reversing myopia.