Liam Gets Glasses – How to Reverse Nearsightedness in Kindergarten

And so my newest can of research begins, the possible path to myopia healing.  There’s always so much to learn in so little time.

Liam’s current prescription -2.25 nearsightedness (myopia) in both eyes.

This is how these numbers work:

Myopia (-)

  • 0.00 to -3.00 : mild myopia
  • -3.00 to -6.00 : moderate myopia
  • -6.00 and higher : high myopia

Hyperopia (+)

  • 0.00 to +2.25 : mild hyperopia
  • +2.25 to +5.00 : moderate hyperopia
  • +5.00 and higher : high hyperopia

For a 5-year old, this amount of nearsightedness is getting to be pretty intense. Liam’s dad had a smaller prescription at this age. So I began a little research already to make sure the vision therapy I signed Liam up for is a good idea for worsening myopia, and if there is anything else floating around out there that we can try. There are some stories claiming that kids have reversed their myopia, and even adults have. Some have reclaimed perfect vision. Can I believe this? I am not sure yet.

A lot of people think that myopia is hereditary. In Liam’s case this might be true. But I think his iPad usage did not help. Here’s something I just read:

“…blurred distance vision is caused by overuse of the eyes’ focusing mechanism. After long periods of near work, their eyes are unable to refocus to see clearly in the distance. Constant visual stress may lead to a permanent reduction in distance vision over time.”

So… 🙁 Did a search on how to DIY correct myopia. One of the first things I stumbled across is this article. The main points are:

  1. Put books, games or drawings farther away so the eyes have to focus on them. Don’t keep things close to the face. (This sounds like common sense, but we are guilty of having iPads too close at least. Everything else has been far away.)
  2. Don’t spend more than 20 minutes doing something close up, like an iPad or a book. Get up and get away!
  3. Keep lighting brighter in the house, cut the cozy. For my whole life, I’ve been living in cozy, dimmed quarters. (My parents were like that too.) So this tip makes me want to change all the bulbs right away for the myopia men in my life. In particular, the lamp next to where we eat dinner is too warm for own good. But am I supposed to put a really bright light in there? I guess cozy time has to begin at 7 PM only… and bright light the rest of the time. Hmm. Some articles mention that the types of bulbs used matter too. But in the end you can’t shine a light bulb on DNA. If cozy lighting was a problem, I definitely would have to wear glasses by now, but I don’t. (But the enlarged optic nerve in my left eye makes me a glaucoma suspect, and my dad is developing glaucoma, so there’s that.)
  4. Have a lot time outdoors. And we do that as much as possible already. This is an obvious prevention and cure because kids are not focusing on anything close to their face when they are outside. Unless they are carving a duck out of wood. And you definitely need to take more breaks during that because of hand cramps, as opposed to playing on your iPad, so it all works out doesn’t it? P.S. Do kids in Florida develop myopia at a slower rate?
  5. Increase sleeping hours. Liam sleeps really well for his whole life so far. But we could get him in bed an hour earlier, so we will.
  6. Use glasses for only looking at the white board at school, take them off for everything else. Well, this completely undermines what our ophthalmologist said, which is to leave the glasses on all of the time. And when I think of how my husband also wore glasses his whole life, and my mom did as well, and how their vision didn’t improve – I have to wonder if this is true. Their prescriptions only changed for the worse, even if only in slight increments. I also remember Liam’s ophthalmologist commenting at how “great the focusing system is in kids” because they are really good at focusing up close and they take care of that for a long time without letting you know about what they cannot see far away. Liam never really complained about anything, we just slowly started noticing there was an issue.

So what would happen if we never got glasses and we worked on these natural, common sense changes? If he is already good at seeing up close, and therapy and life changes would help seeing far away again, doesn’t that seem better than training the eyes and brain almost to be lazy and use the glasses, therefore not being able to easily use the “focusing system” again, whether close or far?

It makes me very curious but for many of us life is already too busy to do experiments and add more layers on top. But then I read this,

“Researchers have discovered something about the progression of nearsightedness that is very interesting: conventional glasses and contact lenses that have been prescribed for years to correct myopia may actually increase the risk of myopia worsening throughout childhood!”

And it makes me wonder about adding that layer after all. Now both of my children are currently in this tender moment of time, where a big move can make a lifetime difference.

It’s a frightening decision for a parent as I reach deep into the peanut butter cup bag. Does this ever get any easier?