Eyes wide open

Slit Lamp Exam uses a specialized magnifying microscope to examine the structures of the eye such as the cornea and lens for any abnormalities.
Slit Lamp Exam uses a specialized magnifying microscope to examine the structures of the eye such as the cornea and lens for any abnormalities.

In a world where screens dominate our daily lives, the battle against myopia has become more critical than ever.

Dr. Glenn de las Peñas, a Cebuano ophthalmologist based in Banilad, dedicates his time in preventing childhood myopia.

Myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is a disease where an individual’s eyeball is longer than normal causing them to have limited vision for objects at a distance.

More importantly, myopia is on the rise in the Philippines, with one out of three school-age children affected by the condition.

Dr. Glenn’s journey took an unexpected turn when he realized that his daughter was suffering from myopia.

Despite his impressive medical qualifications, including finishing his residency training in ophthalmology at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and achieving a commendable third-place rank in the Philippine Board of Ophthalmology, he missed the symptoms that his daughter exhibited.

This personal experience ignited a fire within him to lead the cause of myopia awareness. Thus, “Myopia Care” was born.

Myopia Care

“Start early and stay consistent,” Dr. Glenn advised, “Lifestyle and environmental factors can lead to myopia, such as using digital devices for more than two hours.”

According to the esteemed doctor, myopia doesn’t develop overnight and is a gradual process influenced by various factors that include genetics and prolonged screen exposure.

Parents can play a pivotal role in preventing the eye disease inflicting their children by nurturing healthy visual habits from childhood. Encouraging outdoor activities and limiting screen time can significantly reduce the risk of myopia.

“We can prevent myopia by following the 20-20-20-2 rule: For every 20 minutes spent using a screen, a child should look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds and stay outdoors for two hours,” Dr. Glenn shared.

Myopia can also increase the risk of eye conditions that can lead to blindness later in life, such as retinal detachment, maculopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts.

There is no safe level of myopia, which makes early diagnosis and intervention crucial.

“Early diagnosis is very important. This is because early detection and treatment is the sole key to avoiding irreversible vision loss in the future,” he added.

Diagnostic tech

Dr. Glenn advocates for the utilization of cutting-edge technology like the spot vision screener, a powerful tool for identifying myopia in its infancy.

This advanced equipment allows assessment even in children as young as one or two years old, irrespective of whether they are currently experiencing vision difficulties or not.

Dr. Glenn highlights two pivotal advantages with this approach: firstly, it enables accurate prescription determination from a tender age, a critical foundation for subsequent management; and secondly, it capitalizes on the rapid eye growth period, typically spanning ages six to twelve.

Detecting myopia issues during this window of opportunity offers a significant chance for proactive intervention. In contrast, delaying diagnosis until adolescence restricts options for treatments, lacking the preventative essence that early detection can provide.

Intriguingly, Dr. Glenn introduces the concept of “pre-myopia.” This stage refers to individuals who possess a predisposition to nearsightedness.

Identifying pre-myopia sets the stage for early proactive measures, effectively curbing the progression of myopia.

From eye drops to eyeglasses and contact lenses, necessary interventions can be procured once myopia is detected.

This underscores a transformation in the landscape of myopia treatment, now equipped with a range of options to stymie its advance.

Education

Dr. Glenn believes that arming parents with knowledge about myopia’s causes, symptoms, and preventive measures can make all the difference.

As part of his mission, he advocates for regular myopia screenings, even for the youngest children. Early detection opens the door to timely interventions that can alter the course of a child’s visual future.

“Myopia is no longer just about correcting vision; it can now be effectively treated,” Dr. Glenn shared.

“It’s important to distinguish between correcting myopia (simply improving vision temporarily) and treating it (addressing the underlying causes),” he added.

Dr. Glenn de las Peñas is passionately dedicated to raising awareness about myopia and has paved the way for a future where myopia’s impact in the Philippines can be significantly reduced.

Through “Myopia Care,” he aims to equip parents, educators, and healthcare professionals with the knowledge needed to identify and address myopia’s effects on young individuals.

For a complimentary consultation and screening, you can reach out to Dr. Glenn de las Peñas at Focal Sight located at UC Banilad. 

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