Dr. Mark Page has released a book helping parents to help their children do better in school, play and life.
His book includes seven other optometrist contributors from the U.S. who offer parents common-sense solutions that can help improve their child’s eyesight. Some suggestions as simple as encouraging a child to spend more time outside rather than exclusively in front of a computer or television screen.
“There’s almost an epidemic of people becoming nearsighted. In the last 40 years, the number of kids alone going nearsighted as gone up 60 percent,” said Page.
“When we spend too much time indoors, which happens a lot when kids are glued to their smartphones or on video games, the peripheral vision can’t focus on distant objects. This can also happen in congested urban areas. The image in the center of the eye might be in focus, but the images on the sides of the eyeball are blurry.”
Page noted the usual medical solution for solving nearsightedness in children, or adults, has been the prescribing of glasses. But, he said, with stronger and stronger eyeglass prescriptions needed, many patients’ eyes continued to worsen rather than improve.
“When people came in to see me, we’d give them a prescription for glasses, and it was amazing, they could see more clearly. But usually with kids, within a year or sometimes even less, they’d come back in and couldn’t see, so we had to make their prescriptions stronger. We kept making them stronger, but that further increased the risk of their eyes being damaged later in life.”
“Seeing this, I started wondering if there was some way to make the eye stronger instead of the glasses stronger,” he said.
Page’s interest in finding another way to help those with eye problems, and indeed his inspiration to become a doctor, had its origin in watching his grandmother succumb to blindness. In later years, it was his father and brother who spurred him on after both required eye surgery.
“My grandmother had to ask, ‘Which one are you?’ when we went to visit,” he recalled. “My dad had a very high astigmatism, and my brother very high nearsightedness. I am not exactly sure what caused my grandma to lose her vision. My dad and my brother both had problems with their retina. My dad had major surgery on his right eye, but without much success.”
“My brother was treated the same day he noticed the changes to his vision and is still doing very well,” said Page. “If the technology had been available when they were young, I believe it would have reduced their risk of their eye problems.”
Page also had eye problems. As a senior in high school, he said, he could no longer see the chalkboard.
“I became nearsighted and needed to wear glasses,” said Page, who at 54 still wears glasses on occasion.
After extensive research and continuing education, Page designed Invisalens, – a process by which patients wear custom-designed overnight cornea-molding correction lenses designed to manage and arrest the development of myopia, especially among children.
“We’re trying to slow down or stop the eye from getting worse. As you get older, the eyeball gets longer and the more it stretches, the more brittle it becomes. Ideally that will stop the eye from getting longer. If we can create some effect, there should also be less chance of the retina detaching,” he explained. “Research shows the higher the prescription the greater the risk of retinal detachment, also glaucoma and myopic maculopathy, a condition where the stretching of the eye can cause cracks or even bleeding in the back of the eye.”
The non-surgical treatment has proven to be very helpful to children who must be 18 years of age before having the alternative, Lasik eye surgery.
“By reshaping the eye surface with the Invisalens retainers, we can restore the focus on the sides of the eyeball and stabilize the vision,” said Page.
You can find Dr. Mark Page’s book, The Smart Parents Guide: How to Help Your Child See a Better Life! on Amazon.