Myopia Control in the COVID-19 Era

Myopia Control in the COVID-19 Era

My weekends are admittedly different now. Before my weekends were filled with time spent with friends, in person, but now they are Zoom calls, Brady Bunch style. We hosted our game night online, and we chat while we bake or make dinner. Even at our practice, we are utilizing the ability to work remotely, and training our staff online whenever the opportunity presents itself. 

“I’m already getting tired of working in front of the computer.” 

“My kids are complaining of the eye strain from their online classes” 

Our digital age has gotten even more demanding in the era of COVID-19. Even though I have some experience with epidemiology, I cannot accurately say when all this will be over. I do know we will be working from home for the near future, and many industries may be permanently changed from this event. 

I have a special interest in myopia control, which is a growing branch of research that focuses on keeping children from needing stronger prescriptions from year to year. The science behind it is too complex for an article, but essentially, the eye is too long from front to back. The eye is getting a signal to continue to grow too long, and every year, the prescription gets higher. This is the cause of myopia or nearsightedness.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself for the prescription to change, but it does have some negative consequences if the prescription gets too high. We know that patients with very high prescriptions tend to be a higher risk for retinal detachments, glaucoma, and early cataracts. In medicine, prevention is key. We would like to prevent these problems before they occur.

Around the country, school is canceled for the near future. Students are now indoors, learning from tablets or computers. I fear that this may cause a sharp increase in the number of myopic cases in the future. 

Studies are showing that at least 40 minutes of outdoor activity per day can help slow down the progression of myopia significantly. While I recognize that these are trying times, I think that this is a good thing to try and incorporate into your daily routine. 

It is also important to take regular breaks when working on the computer for extended periods. The 20/20/20 rule is a simple way to remember this. Look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This helps with fatigue and dry eye symptoms. Arrange your home office or home “school” environment so that there is minimal glare. All this combined should help to make working from home a bit more manageable. You can learn more about our services and our company on our website at www.eyesfl.com. Call us at 800-282-3937 to schedule your next eye exam or to discuss obtaining computer glasses. #2020YourVisionOurFocus

 

Bio: Erica Benson, O.D. is an optometrist that practices at Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida at their Haines City and Winter Haven locations.