In an age where digital screens dominate our daily lives, it’s crucial to consider the impact of our technology-driven habits on our eye health. In a recent NPR podcast episode titled “How Screens Are Changing Our Eyes,” we are introduced to the story of 12-year-old Harmony and her journey with myopia, or nearsightedness. This episode sheds light on the growing concern of myopia, especially in children, and the potential causes behind it. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key takeaways from the podcast and discuss how Zenni Optical can help with children going through Myopia Control.
Understanding Myopia and Its Alarming Rise
Myopia, or nearsightedness, occurs when distant objects appear blurry while close objects can be seen clearly. Harmony’s experience of being diagnosed with myopia in second grade is not uncommon. The alarming part is the increasing prevalence of myopia in children and young adults, which poses a serious threat to eye health. Experts suggest that early-onset myopia can lead to dangerous vision problems later in life.
The NPR Podcast Highlights Some Critical Findings
The Global Myopia Epidemic
The World Health Organization warns that by 2030, nearly 40% of the world’s population is expected to be nearsighted, which is a significant increase from previous years.
Myopia is affecting children at younger ages, with cases as young as 4 or 5 years old. This early onset increases the risk of complications and vision-threatening conditions.
While genetics play a role in myopia, experts now believe that environmental factors such as prolonged screen time and a lack of outdoor activities also contribute to its development.
Myopia Control to Slow Down Myopia
Image from UC Berkeley – Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science
Myopia control is an essential approach to manage and slow down the progression of myopia. Dr. Maria Liu is often hailed as the Myopia control guru due to her groundbreaking work in this field. She established the Myopia Control Clinic at UC Berkeley, which was the first of its kind in the United States. Dr. Liu has pioneered various treatments beyond traditional eyeglasses to combat myopia, such as ortho-k (orthokeratology) lenses. Ortho-k lenses are rigid contact lenses that are worn overnight to gently reshape the cornea and correct myopia. Think of Ortho-K lenses like retainers for the eyes. This non-surgical method has shown significant success in reducing the advancement of myopia, particularly in children.
Zenni’s Role in Myopia Control
Zenni’s affordable, high-quality glasses can play a crucial role in myopia control for children. During myopia control treatment, especially when using ortho-k lenses, a child’s glasses prescription may undergo gradual changes. Ortho-k lenses are designed to reshape the cornea overnight, providing clear vision in the morning. However, as the day progresses, the cornea gradually returns to its original shape, causing residual myopia, which is when the vision reverts back to nearsightedness. Zenni Optical steps in by offering cost-effective prescription eyewear that can complement this process. Parents can work with their myopia control doctors to obtain prescription glasses that are slightly underpowered. Wearing these glasses at night can help the children still see clearly even though the orthokeratology lens effects are wearing off. This combined approach provides a comprehensive strategy to combat myopia while offering affordability and convenience.
In an era defined by screen-centric lifestyles, the profound impact of our digital habits on eye health has become increasingly evident. The enlightening NPR podcast episode, “How Screens Are Changing Our Eyes,” showcased Harmony’s myopia journey, shedding light on the growing concern of myopia, particularly among children, and its potential culprits. As we recognize the expanding myopia epidemic and the groundbreaking work of experts like Dr. Maria Liu, the need for comprehensive strategies to combat myopia becomes clear. Zenni Optical‘s affordable, high-quality glasses, coupled with innovative treatments like ortho-k lenses, herald a brighter future for children’s eye health, ensuring that clear vision remains within reach, even in our tech-driven world.
About the Author: Dr. Sophia Moh, OD, ABOC
Dr. Sophia Moh, OD, is an optometrist based in the Bay Area, California. She holds a doctorate from UC Berkeley School of Optometry and has worked in various eye care settings, including primary care optometry, general ophthalmology, community health clinics, and Veterans Affairs. Dr. Moh is dedicated to improving global vision health by making high-quality, affordable eyewear accessible to all. She is also a certified American Board Optician (ABO) and actively contributes to optical education through training and lectures.