When it comes to eye health, Dr. Dawn Gammon knows exactly what to expect. She’s been a practicing optometrist for more than 21 years. So when her son Ryan was diagnosed with myopia at nine-and-a-half years old, she wasn’t the least bit surprised.
“Both his dad and I were nearsighted beginning in elementary school,” Gammon said.
When her son started complaining about not being able to see the board at school, Dr. Gammon naturally tapped into her experience and prescribed her son glasses. But it was her observations as a parent that made her realize her son might need to try something different.
“Ryan hated wearing his glasses, and in fact, hardly wore them,” Gammon remembered.
In one year’s time, Ryan’s prescription had doubled.
“That was concerning to me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he’s much more dependent on those glasses and he didn’t really like to wear them, so I knew he was walking around with blurry vision. Secondly, I know that as nearsightedness increases, the risk for eye disease increases as well,” Gammon added. “So as a doctor, I know that prescribing stronger glasses each year does not address potential future problems.”
Ryan isn’t alone. Over 10 million U.S. children already have the condition known as myopia. However, the concern is that the condition is becoming more prominent among kids. By 2050, that number is expected to jump to 30 million kids. And as myopia, or nearsightedness, increases, so does the risk of more serious eye diseases.
As a child’s myopia worsens, it increases the risk of retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma, and even legal blindness. Studies reveal even mildly myopic patients are four times more at risk of retinal detachment compared with non-myopic patients.
Dr. Gammon decided to turn to a program specializing in myopia control.
“The end goal is to keep a child’s eyes from becoming more nearsighted as he or she gets older,” Gammon explained. “In Ryan’s case, gas permeable multifocal contact lenses were prescribed to help reshape his corneas while he sleeps.”
There are several treatment options to slow or stop your child’s vision from getting worse, such as customized contact lenses and prescription eye drops. In Ryan’s case, he was prescribed special contact lenses to wear at night. Ryan can now see 20/20 when he wakes up. He is thrilled to be able to see in school and more confident on the soccer field.
“Like any parent, I want my children to enjoy a happy and healthy childhood. I will always do everything in my power to give my kids the right tools to succeed. Good vision in school is an essential part of learning and a child who is nearsighted needs glasses or contacts to read the board.”
To learn more about myopia control, head to Treehouse Eyes.