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Toddlers With Myopia: Eyewear And
Their Future

happy blue eyed childLike all refractive errors, myopia (also known as nearsightedness) is typically managed by wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. These lenses correct the refractive error by bending (refracting) light correctly as it enters your eyes, which then sending signals to your brain so that it can process the things you see. This ultimately results in clear, sharp vision.

When it comes to children with myopia, their vision needs are different from adults. Our youngest patients have unique needs that deserve special care and attention with a gentle approach. Dr. Uri Schechter treats pediatric patients from all over Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, giving parents relief and top-quality vision care for their little ones.

How Kids’ Myopia Impacts Their Future

Young Girl Sitting in GrassMyopia is one of the most common vision problems around the world and it is on the rise. Did you know that 75% of children are diagnosed between 3 and 12 years old? Once these young kids enter school, managing their condition becomes even more critical, and the effects of their vision problems don’t always end in childhood. Often, the long-term impact of the condition isn’t obvious until later in life.

If left untreated, it can get worse over time. The kid with nearsightedness can, as an adult, develop more serious eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or even retinal detachment. The US National Library of Medicine considers myopia “one of the leading causes of functional blindness in the world”.

Children’s Eyewear

With the rapid growth of myopia in children, kids are beginning to wear glasses at increasingly younger ages. The earlier myopia starts and is diagnosed, the sooner corrective lenses are likely to be recommended. Virtually every designer and eyewear company has a collection for toddlers and young children in order to fill this growing need. With the global rise of early myopia, this trend is likely to continue.

How Can I Control My Child’s Myopia?

Dad Hugging Baby GirlDespite the bleak situation, there is hope. Dr. Uri Schechter has the right skills, experience, and advanced medical technology to control your child’s myopia effectively. The goal is to slow down the progression of the condition, which prevents it from getting worse.

The doctor recommends several ways to achieve this:

  • Prescription eyewear to provide visual clarity
  • Regular eye exams to check visual health and detect prescription changes
  • General monitoring of your children’s nearsightedness over time

All of this allows the doctor to stay on top of any changes to your child’s myopia, however minor they may be.

If your toddler frequently bumps into things or holds objects very close to their face, talk to us about a consultation. It may be time for eyewear to correct their blurry vision. We’ll work together to ensure your child has the best options for clearer vision.

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Playing Outside Saves Kids’ Vision

Asian kids playing various sports outsideMyopia, or nearsightedness, is one of the most common refractive errors. A refractive error is what happens when light enters your eye and bends (refracts) improperly, which is usually the result of a misshapen cornea. As the light bends at an incorrect angle, it causes blurry vision.

People with myopia struggle with focusing on images from a distance, while viewing something near them remains clear. Glasses or contacts are usually worn to correct their vision. The lenses refract light correctly, which transmits the things you see to your brain so it can understand them, resulting in clear vision. However, these do not fix the vision problem itself, instead of becoming like permanent “eye-crutches” for their whole lives!”

Is Myopia Dangerous?

As a refractive error alone, myopia isn’t really a dangerous condition, but that doesn’t mean it’s without complications or concern, either. As it progresses, it can lead to a higher risk of other eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal detachment. For patients with more serious cases of myopia, decreased visual clarity or significant vision loss (even blindness!) can develop.

Wearing glasses or contact lenses isn’t always enough. What’s even more concerning is that high levels of myopia can show up later in life, which is why detecting it earlier is so important.

If you or a loved one is experiencing blurry vision or other symptoms of myopia, we can help. Speak to Dr. Uri Schechter to schedule a personal consultation.

Myopia And Children

sad clown puppetMyopia is rising among the general population, but it seems to affect children in excessively high numbers. In fact, 1 in 10 American children between 5-17 years old have the condition, and 75% of children are diagnosed between 3 and 12 years old. Like facial features and even parts of your personality, nearsightedness is often inherited genetically. This means that if one or both parents have it, it’s likely that their child will also have it.

In school, this can be a real struggle. Reading, writing, seeing the board clearly, participating in class, doing homework, and after-school activities are a natural part of your child’s school years. Nearsightedness can negatively affect their learning and relationships with peers.

Screen Time And Higher Myopia

Did you know that increased screen time has been shown to increase the risk of myopia in children? Studies show that the more time kids spend indoors watching TV, on computer games, phones, or tablets, the higher the likelihood of developing myopia.

Why? Because when the eyes are consistently deprived of natural light, they can develop a sensitivity to it when they’re suddenly experiencing it. Think of how it feels when you’re in a dark room and someone suddenly turns the light on. Your eyes hurt and you feel momentarily blinded. The simplest way to treat this situation is by exposing the eyes to natural light on a regular basis.

Being Outdoors Can Help Manage Children’s Myopia

Kids Playing Ball OutsideNow the good news: if too much indoor time is a problem, then it’s time to send your kids outside!

Despite what you’ve heard about the dangers of too much sun, a healthy amount of natural sunlight is a good thing. The sun’s natural ultraviolet (UV) rays contain Vitamin D. In moderate doses, Vitamin D is good for you. Medical professionals believe that these rays can actually change the shape of the cornea. Since a misshapen cornea is what causes myopia to begin with, this serves as a simple way to counter-balance its effects.

Natural light is brighter than light bulbs and lamps. Being outside can help your child’s eyes become used to natural light, balancing out the excessive time spent inside. As if this wasn’t enough, time spent outside doesn’t cost a thing. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Make the time fun by playing at a park, skateboarding, having a barbeque or picnic – the options are endless!

As parents, you want what’s best for your kids. Spending time outside, together with other treatment methods, can improve your child’s myopia.

Early diagnosis is critical for managing myopia and slowing down its progression. Contact The Myopia Management Center At Fox Chase Family Eye Care and let us help your children enjoy clear vision and excellent eye health.

Call Us 215-703-2488

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Myopia – An Epidemic Across The Nation
(And The World)

girl wearing eyeglasses, playing baseballWhen we think of the word “epidemic”, it brings to mind visions of desolated villages in third-world countries, overflowing hospitals, and quarantines. However, there are other less deadly, but equally serious, health concerns impacting people on a global scale.

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is one of the most common eye conditions today. It affects almost 9 and a half million American adults and 30% of the entire Canadian public. On a global scale, 11% of the worldwide population has it and the medical community predicts these numbers will continue to rise.

How Big Is The Problem?

These statistics show just how prevalent myopia currently is:

  • 300 million people have been diagnosed with myopia worldwide
  • 820,000 American adults have a degenerative form of the disease
  • 1 in 4 parents have reported having a child with the condition
  • 75% of children are diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 12
  • Loss of productivity due to myopia costs world economies $202 billion a year

Studies indicate that by 2050, myopia will impact nearly half of the global population – that’s approximately 5 billion people! Medical researchers expect the condition to increase by 40%, which means that roughly 60 million children will likely have myopia in the next few years. Individuals with high degrees of nearsightedness will reach close to 1 billion.

Due to these high numbers, which are increasing at an alarming rate, myopia is now considered an epidemic.

What Causes Myopia?

Close up of woman's eyes, with cornea transplantMyopia is a refractive error. This happens when the cornea of the eye, which is usually a round shape, instead has an irregular shape. This causes light to enter the eye and refract (bend) incorrectly, leading to blurry or cloudy vision.

Most people with myopia wear eyeglasses or contacts to correct the refractive error. The lenses refract light correctly, allowing you brain to process the images you see, resulting in clear, sharp vision. However, while these solutions enhance vision, they do not cure the condition itself.

How Serious Is It?

Myopia is about more than just blurry vision. Other symptoms include headaches, eye fatigue or eye strain. If left untreated, it can gradually lead to serious vision problems including glaucoma, early onset cataracts, macular degeneration, or even retinal detachment. The US National Library of Medicine considers myopia “one of the leading causes of functional blindness in the world”.

If you or a loved one is experiencing blurry vision or other symptoms of myopia, we can help. Speak to Dr. Uri Schechter about a personal consultation.

Myopia In Children

Myopia is very common in children. In fact, nearly 1 in 10 American children (9.2%) between the ages of 5 and 17 have it. It is usually diagnosed in the early childhood years and stabilizes by their 20s. The condition is often hereditary, so a child can develop nearsightedness if one or both of their parents have it, although certain environmental factors also play a role.

Environmental Factors

There is growing concern that in today’s digital age, the amount of screen time and decreased amount of outdoor activities are contributing factors to myopia development.

Natural sunlight – in reasonable doses – is good for the eyes, due to the Vitamin D found in the sun’s natural ultraviolet (UV) rays. So, spending more time outside is a good idea. In fact, a recent study found that children who spend 1 extra hour outdoors on a week basis had a more than 14% decreased risk of developing myopia.

Ethnicity and gender may also play a role. Myopia is more prevalent in people of Eastern Asian descent. Women tend to be diagnosed with the condition significantly more often than men.

Stopping The Myopia Epidemic

Elderly woman with myopiaDespite the rising numbers, there is hope. Typically, myopia control involves wearing glasses or soft contact lenses to give the patient visual clarity. Other treatment options include Ortho-k lenses, rigid gas permeable contact lenses that gently reshape the cornea, and atropine therapy, prescription eye drops which dilate the pupil and relax the eye muscles. Both Ortho-k lenses and atropine drops have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia.

Early diagnosis is critical for successful treatment and slowing down the development of the condition. Contact The Myopia Management Center At Fox Chase Family Eye Care and let us help you enjoy improved vision and eye health.

Scleral Lenses Help Even Dry Eyes!

woman applying eyedroppers, close upWhen it comes to having dry eyes, you’ve probably tried everything you can think of to get some relief. From artificial tears to medicated drops, and maybe even homeopathic remedies, nothing seems to give you long-term relief.

Until now.

Scleral lenses may just be the solution you’ve been looking for. At The Scleral Lens Center At Fox Chase Family Eye Care, we can help alleviate your dry eye pain with custom-made scleral lenses.

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Like standard soft contact lenses, scleral lenses sit on your eyeball and correct refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. But that’s where the similarities end.

Scleral lenses are made with rigid materials, giving them a smooth, round shape that stays in place. They feature a large diameter, covering the entire area of the sclera (the white part of the eye), but without touching the surface of the cornea. This unique design allows for an ultra-comfortable fit.

But what really sets them apart from other contact lenses is the built-in reservoir of artificial tears, which provides a constant source of lubrication to the eyes.

Common Symptoms of Dry Eyes

woman wiping her eyes with a tissueDry eyes cause a number of painful symptoms. The most common signs of dry eye include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Burning sensation
  • Gritty feeling
  • Itchy eyes
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Soreness
  • Watery eyes

Scleral lenses are an excellent treatment option due their large shape, unique features, and customized fitting for each patient. Talk to Dr. Uri Schechter to see if scleral lenses can help with your dry eye.

Scleral Lenses Can Treat Dry Eye

A tiny pool of solution inside the scleral lens is located in the space between the back surface of the lens and the front area of the cornea. As the cornea is coated with these artificial tears, it remains moisturized for longer stretches of time than basic contact lenses. In fact, most of our patients can wear scleral lenses comfortably for up to 14 hours. This results in continuous relief for dry, irritated, and scratchy eyes.

Are Scleral Lenses Right for You?

So how do you know if scleral lenses are the right choice? First, think about what you’ve been using until now. Maybe you apply a cool compress to ease the soreness or burning sensation. It feels better for a little while, but then the symptoms return. Maybe you keep a small bottle of artificial tears in your purse or pocket and use them whenever your eyes feel gritty or dry, but you find that happening more and more often. Have you been told that you’re a ‘hard to fit’ patient? Then perhaps it’s time for something different and tailor-made for you.

Why Are Scleral Lenses Custom-Made?

Woman Putting in ContactNo two patients are alike, and neither are their corneas. Like a fingerprint, each person’s cornea has unique curves and contours, which are even more pronounced when someone has a misshapen cornea. That’s why Dr. Uri Schechter performs a specialized, custom-fitting, to ensure you receive the best fit for optimal visual clarity. Talk about a personalized experience!

Our scleral lens patients enjoy improved visual clarity, sharper focus, and relief for burning, red, and itchy eyes. If you’ve tried standard soft contact lenses or eye drops without any easing of your Dry Eye symptoms, it’s time to try something new. Say goodbye to Dry Eye pain and hello to long-lasting relief with scleral lenses.

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Why Choose An Optometrist Who Specializes In Contacts Vs Ophthalmologists

Gril with dark-colored eyes, brown hairYou need new contact lenses or maybe you’re just trying them out for the first time. How do you know who to turn to for the best advice and the right fit?

At The Scleral Lens Center At Fox Chase Family Eye Care, we specialize in contact lenses, especially for patients who may have difficulty wearing them due to eye disease, high refractive errors, misshapen corneas, and more.

Differences In Eyecare Professionals

Before knowing where to turn, it’s important to understand the difference in eye care professionals.

What Is An Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is licensed to practice medicine and perform vision-related surgical procedures. They receive years of advanced medical training to diagnose eye diseases and provide treatments, conduct scientific research on vision disorders, and prescribe medications for their patients.

Ophthalmologists could fit patients with eyeglasses and contacts, but often they refer to an optometrist on their team to correct patients’ refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, or presbyopia (farsightedness due to aging). Often, optometrists are the ones who screen patients for LASIK candidacy and will work alongside LASIK surgeons to coordinate the surgery.

What Is An Optometrist?

An optometrist is a healthcare professional who is licensed to provide vision care. This typically involves eye exams, vision tests, and diagnoses of eye diseases and conditions. Optometrists specialize in fitting patients with glasses or contacts for common refractive errors, while ophthalmologists focus on their areas of expertise

Why Choose An Optometrist?

Happy girl with fingers near eyesWhile an ophthalmologist is ideal for the treatment of severe eye diseases, vision disorders, and eye surgery, an optometrist is ideal for contact lenses. That’s because general vision care is the primary service that they offer their patients.

Think of your optometrist like a primary care physician for your eyes. When you need an eye checkup, if you notice your vision changing, or if your child isn’t seeing the board clearly in school, that’s when you visit the optometrist.

Getting The Right Fit

Contact lens fittings are one of the most common eye care-related services. In fact, the CDC (The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that 45 million Americans wear contact lenses, which means there are a lot of people getting fitted for contacts.

Whether you’re a first-time lens wearer or you’ve recently had a prescription change, it’s essential to ensure proper fit. Improper fitted lenses are not only uncomfortable, they can lead to vision problems, infections, or scarring. That’s where we come in.

First, Dr. Uri Schechter will perform a detailed eye exam to check your level of refractive error, and if you’re an existing patient, to see if your prescription has changed. The doctor will also check for any conditions that could interfere with contact lenses. The shape of your eye and personal lifestyle are also important factors. So if you spend more time outdoors or in more active environments, that may require a different lens type. The doctor will ensure the best fit for your eye and overall visual health.

Your optometrist will teach you how to put the lenses in and take them out, how to properly clean and store them, and other general care tips. Additional follow-up may be needed as we monitor the condition of your lenses and your prescription needs.

Can My Child Wear Contacts?

Little girl with blue eyesChildren can wear contact lenses, depending on their age and level of responsibility. Contacts may be a good solution for kids with vision problems, especially among the teen and tween set who tend to be more concerned over their appearance. Contacts are generally recommended for kids between the ages of 11-14, but it’s always recommended to speak with your eye doctor for any specific questions.

Let us know how we can help with your contact lens wear. Contact The Scleral Lens Center At Fox Chase Family Eye Care for a consultation today.

Call Us 215-703-2488

Book An Appointment

Spring Dry Eyes

woman applying eyedroppers, close upSpring is a time of renewal, when the harsh winter is just a memory and the outdoors seem to beckon us to go outside. While spring may be in the air, so are allergens. Allergies during the spring season can cause dry eyes and have a particularly severe effect on people with Dry Eye Syndrome.

During the spring months, pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust can be found in the air. These airborne allergens can trigger uncomfortable reactions like itchy, red, and watery eyes, as well as sneezing and sinus congestion. At The Practice Name Dry Eye Center, we can offer you long-term relief for your seasonal dry eyes.

How Do The Seasons Affect Dry Eyes?

Although certain people with sensitivities to allergens may be more prone to allergic reactions, the seasons of the year can trigger these responses, too. In the winter, for instance, dry eyes can develop in people who live in climates with a lot of dry, cold air or strong winds. Sitting in direct aim of a heater may feel wonderful when it’s cold, but it can also dry out the eyes. In the summer when the heat is intense and people run their air conditioning systems regularly, dry eyes can develop from being in the direction of cold air.

A 5-year study found that 21% of the 3.4 million visits to an eye doctor during that time were related to dry eyes. Each year, there was a peak during April, proving that there is a likely correlation between allergens and dry eye cases.

Common Symptoms Of Seasonal Dry Eyes

The most common symptoms of dry eyes in the spring are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Burning
  • Gritty feeling
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Soreness
  • Watery eyes

It may seem odd, but watery eyes are a frequent symptom of dry eyes. It’s the body’s way of trying to self-heal the dryness by releasing excess tears, a condition called Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS). This condition gives some relief, but because these tears contain an inadequate amount of water, the relief is temporary and more long-lasting options are needed.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with The Practice Name Dry Eye Center. We have the knowledge, years of experience, latest technologies, and effective solutions to give you relief for your dry eyes this spring season.

Relief For Dry Eyes In The Springtime

Close up of blue eyeDry Eye Doctor Name treats patients from all over CITY 1, State who are suffering from seasonal dry eyes. Depending on your specific case and the intensity of your symptoms, the doctor may recommend daily artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to alleviate the pain. These can stimulate your eye’s natural tear production to moisturize the eyes and provide comfort. In some cases, prescription drops or steroids can produce similar results.

For patients with severe types of dry eyes, the doctor may talk to you about punctual plugs. These are tiny devices that are inserted inside the tear duct. They block your tears from draining out, which forces them to stay in your eye, coating and moisturizing the area.

Have you heard about scleral lenses? These are contact lenses that are made from rigid materials and contain a tiny pool of water, which provides moisture to dry eyes. Scleral lenses have a large diameter that covers the entire sclera (white part of the eye) without touching the cornea, so they can fit more comfortably. Because each person’s eye is unique, scleral lenses must be custom-fitted for each patient.

When It’s More Than Allergies

If your symptoms persist long after spring is over, and especially if they worsen, this may indicate signs of a more serious eye condition.

Examples can include any of the following:

  • Blepharitis (inflamed eyelids)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Corneal Abrasions
  • Dry Eye Disease
  • Styes (an oil gland infection that causes a bump in the eyelid

We hope you take the time to enjoy this spring season. Should you experience any visual discomfort or are naturally prone to dry eyes, contact Dry Eye Doctor Name and the caring staff at The Practice Name Dry Eye Center. We’ll examine your eyes and discuss your personal needs to create an action plan that’s right for you.


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Gritty Eyes

You know that gritty feeling in the eye, when it feels like something’s in it or it just feels rough and scratchy? It’s not just your imagination, there are some sound medical reasons behind this feeling. If you have gritty eyes, contact The Dry Eye Center At Fox Chase Family Eye Care and we’ll get you back to more comfortable vision.

What Causes Gritty Eyes?

Many with dry gritty-feeling eyesGritty eyes can result from a number of eye conditions and diseases, such as allergies, Dry Eye Syndrome, Blepharitis, and sunburned eyes.

Dry Eye

One of the most common causes of gritty eyes is a condition called Dry Eye Syndrome. As a person ages, the eye ducts which naturally produce tears, begin to slow down this natural tear production. A lack of tears causes the eyes to become dry, itchy, and uncomfortable.

Another symptom of dry eyes is grittiness. Many of our patients describe grittiness as a feeling that there’s a foreign substance in your eye. Others explain it as if there’s a tiny fleck of sand in the eye, resulting in a scratchy, rough sensation. Either way, it’s an uncomfortable experience. It can also cause some vision difficulties, such as blurry vision, inflammation, or frequent infections.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a condition caused by a skin disorder or a bacterial infection. A patient with Blepharitis typically experiences inflamed eyelids, resulting in red and itchy eyes, as well as a general irritation of the eye area. Grittiness of the eye is also a symptom of this condition.

Sunburned Eyes

Man with sunburned eyes

Did you know that your eyes can get a sunburn? While we usually think of a sunburn as reddened skin that hurts and then starts to peel during the healing process, your eyes can also be affected by sun rays.

When you are over-exposed to UV radiation, the cornea at the front of the eye can develop a sunburn. The first sign of sunburned eyes is when the sclera, the white part of the eye, appears bloodshot. You may notice a sudden sensitivity to light and feel a gritty sensation in your eyes. Soreness and blurry vision can also occur from sunburned eyes.

Seasonal Allergies

Although not a direct cause of gritty eyes, seasonal allergies can trigger Dry Eye, a cause of grittiness. For those with sensitivities to allergens such as pollen, dust, pet dander, or mold, allergic reactions can cause allergic conjunctivitis. This often results in red, watery, itchy and swollen eyes, symptoms which also occur in patients with dry eyes.

How To Treat Gritty Eyes

The key to treating gritty eyes is first understanding the cause.

For dry eyes, Dr. Uri Schechter may recommend using artificial tears, which can lubricate the eyes to relieve the gritty, itchy feeling. Prescription eye drops may work for you, since they increase the eye’s natural tear production. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe steroids for more immediate short-term relief of your symptoms.

senior man thinking about eye surgery

If your gritty eye sensation is from Blepharitis, a simple way to alleviate the uncomfortable feeling is to keep your eyelids consistently clean. Use a warm compress to soften the eyelids and gently wash away any eye crust formations. The doctor often suggests using a light cleanser such as baby soap to clean the area lightly, but effectively.

In case of a bacterial infection, the eye doctor may give you a prescription for antibiotic drops or ointments, or in more severe cases, steroid drops.

For sunburned eyes, eye drops can often give you relief by moisturizing the eye and soothing the burn with a lubricating formula. In some cases, anti-inflammatory drops may be prescribed. The gritty feeling from the sunburn often fades on its own in a matter of a few days. If you find that the grittiness and discomfort lasts more than 2 days, contact The Dry Eye Center At Fox Chase Family Eye Care immediately.

If you experience gritty eyes and have difficulty alleviating the discomfort, or if you have any questions about this condition, speak to us. Dr. Uri Schechter can schedule a consultation and discuss the specifics of your case. Let us help you enjoy long-term clear and pain-free vision.

Call Us 215-703-2488

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