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Why Does Outdoor Time Delay Or Prevent Myopia?

outdoor children 640With myopia on the rise, it’s important for parents to know how myopia (nearsightedness) can impact their child’s future and what actions they can take to protect their child’s eye health in the long run.

Childhood myopia, or nearsightedness, increases the risk of eventually developing serious eye diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy.

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it. Nearsightedness is caused by a combination of factors, including genetic and environmental.

As it turns out, a key player in the development of myopia is how much time a child spends outdoors in the sunlight.

How Does Outdoor Play Affect Myopia?

Although researchers haven’t yet pinpointed exactly why “sun time” prevents or delays myopia, almost all agree that it does.

One possible reason is the brightness of the sun. Some experts have found that the intensity of the sun’s rays trigger a dopamine release in the retina, which is thought to slow down the elongation of the eye.

Another theory is that outdoor time encourages a child to shift their gaze from near objects to faraway ones. Excessive near work, like looking at a digital screen, is believed to be a driving force behind the stark increase in myopic individuals today.

Sending a child outdoors to play gives their eyes a break from focusing on their tablets, smartphones, homework, gaming and other near work.

Additionally, spending more time in the sunshine means more Vitamin-D production. Small-scale studies have found nearsighted people have lower levels of Vitamin D than those with normal eyesight. However, more research is needed on the matter.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Having myopia as a child increases their risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. Parents should be proactive about their child’s eye health and do what they can to prevent myopia or slow it down.

Even if your child doesn’t have myopia, letting them play outdoors a couple of hours a day has been found to prevent the onset of myopia in some cases. When one or both parents are nearsighted, their child is more likely to develop it.

So, give your child a water bottle, sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses and send them outside to play! Children aged 6 years and older should spend about 2 hours daily outside in the sunshine.

But sun time alone isn’t enough to ensure the best possible outcome for their eye health. A myopia management program can help give your child the best odds of healthy vision for a lifetime.

To learn more about the treatments we offer and schedule your child’s myopia consultation, call Eye.Q. Optometry today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Maureen Banzuela

Q: #1: What is myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management is the science-based method of slowing or halting the progression of myopia. There are several options available, and your optometrist will sit down with you and your child to discuss which treatment option is most suitable.

Q: #2: Who can benefit from myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management treatments have been approved for children as young as 8 and can be used until early adulthood. Myopia management is great for children with low myopia but can also be effective for slowing myopia progression in kids and teens with moderate to high myopia. Contact us to find out whether your child is a candidate for myopia management. We look forward to speaking with you!

Eye.Q. Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Pasadena, all throughout California.

 

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 323-258-2020

Can Drinking Coffee Relieve Dry Eyes?

Can Drinking Coffee Relieve Dry Eyes 640Many of us enjoy a cup or two of coffee to keep our eyes open on tired mornings. But what else can caffeine do for our eyes?

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome (DES), you may have been advised by a friend or doctor to steer clear of caffeinated coffee due to its diuretic effect—it increases the frequency of urination, leading to water loss. Yet some research suggests that a cup of caffeinated joe might actually promote tear production.

Below, we’ll explore scientific studies that test the relationship between caffeine consumption and tear film, and what you should do if your eyes are giving you trouble.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is an eye condition characterized by dry, stinging, red, itchy eyes. It can be caused by several factors: poor tear quality, insufficient tears, allergies, environmental irritants and excessive digital screen time.

Left untreated, DES can lead to corneal damage and scarring and even permanent vision loss in severe cases.

Certain foods and beverages have been shown to improve the symptoms of DES, like fish high in omega 3s, leafy greens, seeds, nuts and—possibly coffee?

How Does Caffeine Consumption Impact Dry Eye Syndrome?

Caffeine contains a chemical called xanthine, which has been proven to stimulate tear production when applied topically to the eye. As yet, there is insufficient published research to confirm that ingesting xanthine provides the same tear-producing effect, but preliminary studies seem to suggest that it does.

A study published in Optometry and Vision Science found that drinking caffeine significantly increased tear production after 45-90 minutes. Interestingly, age, gender and body mass had no bearing on the outcome.

Another study, published in Ophthalmology and involving 78 individuals, found similar results. Researchers measured the participants’ tear film twice: once after consuming caffeine and once after drinking a placebo. Their tear film was thickest after consuming caffeine, especially in those with a specific genetic makeup.

While both of these studies showed promising results, they didn’t have enough participants to accurately project the findings onto the general population.

Additionally, as yet no studies have been published using only patients who suffer from dry eye syndrome.

So, if you have DES, should you switch to decaf or go for a double-shot espresso? The answer isn’t clear-cut, so it’s best to consult your optometrist.

If You Have Dry Eye Syndrome, We Can Help

Finding relief from dry eye syndrome relies on knowing the underlying cause of your symptoms. Only your eye doctor can diagnose the problem and determine the best treatment for you, whether that includes medicated or lubricating eye drops, in-clinic treatments, personalized eye hygiene products like eyelid cleansing wipes, nutritional supplements and more.

If you or a loved one lives with symptoms of dry eye syndrome, we can offer long-lasting relief. To schedule your dry eye consultation, call Eye.Q. Optometry today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Maureen Banzuela

Q: #1: Should I start drinking coffee if I don’t already?

  • A: Always consult your health care provider before adding or removing anything to your diet. Experts agree that most healthy people can tolerate around 400 mg (about 4 cups) of coffee per day. But keep in mind that caffeine can also cause jitters, anxiety, high blood pressure and difficulty sleeping. So if any of those apply to you, it may be best to avoid caffeinated coffee.

Q: #2: Can I ingest caffeine in other forms besides coffee?

  • A: Coffee and tea are the safest bets when it comes to caffeine. Other caffeinated options like sodas and energy drinks are packed with sugar and have been linked to serious health complications like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

 

Eye.Q. Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Pasadena, all throughout California.

References

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 323-258-2020

Why Computer Use Can Cause Dry Eye & Eye Strain

Long Term Computer Use 640Nearly 60% of the Western world use some kind of digital device — a phone, computer, tablet, TV — for at least 5 hours a day. All that screen time can result in eye irritation and dryness. In fact, dry eyes and eye strain have become so common that researchers have coined a name for it: computer vision syndrome (CVS).

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is an eye condition commonly experienced after staring at a computer screen, at arm’s length or closer, for an extended period of time. It is characterized by eye strain and dry eyes.

Because more people work and study at home as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, eye doctors are reporting a significant rise in the number of adults and children exhibiting these symptoms.

The symptoms of CVS include:

  • Red, watery eyes
  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • The feeling of having something in your eyes

Computer vision syndrome symptoms are similar to those found among dry eye syndrome sufferers, a condition that also tends to develop as a result of extended computer use when blinking is reduced. Blinking is critical for good eye health as it rejuvenates the tear film on your eyes, ensuring constant hydration and protecting them from damage.

5 Tips to Prevent CVS

Luckily, computer vision syndrome can be effectively managed with a few simple adjustments to your screen time.

  1. Take regular breaks. Follow the 20-20-20 rule to prevent staring at your screen for too long. Take a break from your computer or device for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes, and look at something at least 20 feet away.
  2. Adjust your angle. Make sure your screen is 20-28 inches from your eyes and that the center of the screen is 4-5 inches lower than eye level.
  3. Use a cool-air humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture to the air and prevents your eyes from drying out.
  4. Reduce glare. Your eyes work harder to read when there is glare reflecting off your screen. Make sure your screen is positioned in a way that prevents glare from windows and lighting. You can also add a glare filter for eye comfort.
  5. Get computer glasses. Computer glasses allow your eyes to focus on a computer screen with less effort and the blue-light filter may also reduce exposure to potentially harmful blue light emitted by digital devices.

By taking regular breaks from your screen, you give your eyes and body a much-needed rest. To learn more about computer vision syndrome and to receive treatment to alleviate dry eye symptoms and eye strain, contact Eye.Q. Optometry.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Maureen Banzuela and Dr. Brian Yap

 

Q: What’s the link between staring at a computer screen and dry eye?

  • A: Staring at a computer screen can reduce the number of times a person blinks by 30%. That’s problematic because blinking is essential for lubricating the eyes and keeping the protective tear film that covers the eye intact. If you find your eyes becoming irritated or uncomfortable at work, try to blink more, especially while using the computer and reading.

Q: Can blue light glasses help avoid computer vision syndrome and dry eye?

  • A: Spending long periods of time on a computer or device can negatively affect your eyes, potentially leading to computer vision syndrome and dry eye. Symptoms include blurred or double vision, headaches, eye strain, eye fatigue, sleep disruptions, and dry eyes. Computer glasses offer blue light protection by reducing the dangerous effects of blue light and the risks of computer vision syndrome.


Eye.Q. Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Pasadena, all throughout California.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 323-258-2020

Why Bother With Myopia Control?

Boy Trouble LearningMyopia control is a hot topic these days — and for good reason. More and more parents are providing their nearsighted children with myopia control treatments in hopes of slowing down the rapid progression of this very common refractive error.

Is myopia control worth all the effort? Why not just get new glasses every time your child needs a higher prescription? Is childhood myopia really that big of a deal?

Below, we’ll answer these important questions so you can make informed decisions and feel confident about your choices. If your child has myopia, contact Eye.Q. Optometry to learn more about how we can help.

Myopia Is Not Harmless

Myopia is far more than just blurry distance vision. What many don’t realize is that it can seriously impact a child’s long-term eye health.

A child with myopia is significantly more likely to develop sight-threatening diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration, later in life.

Because the cause of myopia is an elongated eye, the stretching of the eye takes a toll on the retina (the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye). Over time, the stressed retina is more prone to damage and tearing.

Your Child’s Lens Prescription Matters

Suppose your child’s lens prescription is -3.00D (mild to moderate myopia). Although you may think that it’s too late for myopia control at this point, research suggests otherwise.

The level of myopia a child has is directly correlated to their risk of eye disease — the higher the myopia, the greater the risk.

A child with myopia that’s between -0.75D and -3.00 is more than 3 times more likely to develop retinal detachment in the future. That number triples for individuals with high myopia (-5.00 and above).

The risk of myopic maculopathy is also influenced by the level of a child’s nearsightedness. Children under -5.00 have just a 0.42% of developing this serious eye condition, but anything above -5.00? That risk level leaps to 25.3%.

Slowing down or stopping your child’s eyesight from worsening will greatly increase their chances of having a healthy vision in adulthood. Halting myopia as early as possible renders the best outcome.

Myopia Is On The Rise

This is the time to act. With myopia cases escalating exponentially, it’s expected that about half of the world’s population will be nearsighted by 2050, and about 10% of those individuals will have high myopia.

Offering your child myopia control now can potentially prevent them from being part of that 10% in 2050.

If your child has myopia or is at risk of developing it, we can help! To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact Eye.Q. Optometry today.

Q&A

 

Q: #1: How do I know if my child is at risk of developing myopia?

  • A: If one or both parents have myopia, a child is predisposed to becoming nearsighted. Other factors that influence myopia include excess screen time, not enough time spent in the sunlight, and being of a certain ethnicity (people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent have the highest risk).

Q: #2: What treatments are used for myopia control?

  • A: The 3 main treatments are atropine eye drops, orthokeratology (Ortho-k) contact lenses, and multifocal contact lenses. Your optometrist will help you decide which method best suits your child’s eyes and lifestyle.

 

Eye.Q. Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Pasadena, all throughout California.


Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 323-258-2020

What’s the Link Between Dry Eye and Menopause?

Dry Eye and Menopause 640Around 61% of perimenopausal and menopausal women are affected by dry eye syndrome.

During menopause, the body produces less estrogen, progesterone, and androgen, causing a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as sweating, insomnia, and hot flashes.

Among these physical symptoms is dry eyes, characterized by dry, itchy and burning eyes.

If you’re experiencing dry eyes, contact Eye.Q. Optometry today for effective and lasting dry eye treatment.

Biological Changes That Affect Your Eyes

During menopause, the androgen hormone decreases, affecting the meibomian and lacrimal glands in the eyelids. The meibomian glands produce the essential oils for the tears, so the reduction in oil results in increased tear evaporation and drier eyes.

When these fluid and oil-producing glands are affected, the eyelids can become inflamed, reducing tear quality and production, resulting in dry eye syndrome.

Some researchers believe that dry eye is connected to changes in estrogen levels. This explains why many women experience dry eye symptoms during certain times of a woman’s monthly cycle, or while taking birth control pills.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome

  • Red eyes
  • Burning in the eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Gritty feeling in the eyes
  • The feeling something is caught in your eye. Excessive tearing

How Is Hormone-Related Dry Eye Treated?

Because reduced hormones during and after menopause can cause meibomian gland dysfunction, treatment should be focused on reducing dry eye symptoms.

Dry eye treatments can include:

  • Artificial tears
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Eyelid hygiene
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Corticosteroid eye drops
  • Medications that reduce eyelid inflammation
  • Punctal plugs – to reduce tear flow away from the eyes

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Maureen Banzuela

Q: Are there home remedies to treat dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Yes. Here are a few things you can do at home to reduce dry eye symptoms.

    Limit your screen time. People who work at a computer all day blink less, which harms the tear film. Remember to take frequent breaks and to blink.
    Protect your eyes. Sunglasses that wrap around your face can block dry air and wind.
    Avoid triggers. Irritants like pollen and smoke can make your symptoms more severe.
    Try a humidifier. Keeping the air around you moist may help.
    Eat right. A diet rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can encourage healthy tear production.
    Warm Compress. A warm compress will improve oil flow through your eyelid glands and clean your eyelids.

Q:Can dry eye syndrome damage your eyes?

  • A: Yes. Without sufficient tears, your eyes are not protected from the outside world, leading to an increased risk of eye infections. Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to abrasions or inflammation on the cornea, the front surface of the eye. This can cause pain, a corneal ulcer, and long-lasting vision problems.

    Menopause causes many changes throughout your body. If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms due to hormonal changes, contact Eye.Q. Optometry to find out what dry eye treatments are available to give your eyes relief.



Eye.Q. Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Pasadena, all throughout California.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 323-258-2020

4 Common Myopia Myths Debunked

4 Common Myopia Myths Debunked 640Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the eye elongates and rays of light entering the eye are focused in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it.

It’s by far the most common refractive error among children and young adults.

To help understand and learn more about what myopia means for your child’s vision, we’ve debunked 4 common myopia myths.

Myth: Myopia only develops in childhood

Fact: While it’s true that in most cases nearsightedness develops in childhood, it can also develop during one’s young adult years.

Myth: Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses cause myopia to worsen

Fact: Prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses in no way exacerbate myopia. Optical corrections help you see comfortably and clearly. Another common misconception is that it’s better to use a weaker lens power than the one prescribed by your eye doctor. This is simply not true. By wearing a weaker lens you are contradicting the purpose of using corrective eyewear, which is to comfortably correct your vision.

Myth: Taking vitamins can cure myopia

Fact: Vitamins have been proven to slow the progression of or prevent some eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts. However, no vitamin has been shown to prevent or cure myopia. All vitamins and supplements should only be taken under the advice of your healthcare professional.

Myth: There is no way to slow the progression of myopia.

Fact: There are a few ways to slow down the progression of myopia:

Get more sunlight. Studies have shown that children who spend more time playing outdoors in the sunlight have slower myopia progression than children who are homebodies.

Take a break. Doing close work, such as spending an excessive amount of time looking at a digital screen, reading, and doing homework has been linked to myopia. Encouraging your child to take frequent breaks to focus on objects farther away can help. One well-known eye exercise is the 20-20-20 rule, where you take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

Other options to slow myopia progression include:

  • Orthokeratology/Ortho-k. These are specialized custom-fit contact lenses shown to decrease the rate of myopia progression through the gentle reshaping of the cornea when worn overnight.
  • Multifocal lenses offer clear vision at various focal distances. Studies show that wearing multifocal soft contact lenses or multifocal eyeglasses during the day can limit the progression of myopia compared to conventional single vision glasses or contact lenses.
  • Atropine drops. 1.0% atropine eye drops applied daily in one eye over a period of 2 years has shown to significantly reduce the progression of myopia

Prevent or slow the progression of your child’s myopia with myopia management. Contact Eye.Q. Optometry to book your child’s consultation today!

Eye.Q. Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Pasadena, all throughout California.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Maureen Banzuela

Q: Can myopia be cured?

  • A: Currently, there is no cure for myopia. However, various myopia management methods can slow its progression.

Q: How much time should my child spend outdoors to reduce the risk of myopia?

  • A: Make sure your child spends at least 90 minutes a day outdoors.


Eye.Q. Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Pasadena, all throughout California.

 

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 323-258-2020