A treatment for kids that can correct and then stop or slow the worsening of their nearsightedness? What? No way, I had no idea this existed! Does this mean that I can save my daughter from what I experienced growing up, with progressively worse and worse vision (and thicker and thicker lenses)? She could play sports without glasses? Swim with great vision? See when she wakes up in the morning? Tell me more!
This is the rapid internal conversation I had when I learned about Treehouse Eyes from a Facebook post on a local news channel. After watching the segment, I jumped online and started researching. I learned that myopia (commonly known as nearsightedness) control methods have been around for a long time, and Treehouse Eyes was dedicated to solely using myopia control for children.
Our daughter had first started wearing glasses in first grade, and her vision was worsening. I knew eventually she would have a very strong prescription (like mom – sigh), and that for the rest of her life she would be stuck with glasses, contacts, LASIK surgery or all three. I contacted Treehouse Eyes immediately for a consultation, and good news for us – they had a location in Tysons Corner, VA.
From the first visit at Treehouse, our experience has been fabulous. Their office is decorated and appointed with a child in mind with games and toys in the lobby and a fun treehouse motif throughout the murals and décor.
We initially met with Dr. Andrew Morgenstern, who spent nearly two hours doing a detailed examination of my daughter’s vision and eye health and answering our questions. He patiently entertained my older son’s questions (he with the perfect vision) and projected the exam on a flat screen so we could see everything he saw. In more than 35 years of my own eye exams, I’ve never seen such a thorough and knowledgeable exam and was very reassured that my daughter was in good hands.
A lot of the consultation was focused on my daughter’s maturity at not-quite-8-years-old to handle and take care of the contact lenses she would wear to correct her myopia. We decided she was ready and got fitted for her first pair, which arrived in about a week.
I’ll be honest that at first it wasn’t so comfortable for her – they are gas permeable lenses that she sleeps in each night and removes each morning. Think of it like wearing a retainer for your teeth – each night the lens puts a slight bit of pressure on the cornea to reshape it (like pushing your teeth in place) so that when you take it out in the morning the eye has normal vision. Amazing! We had to use some techniques to motivate her (stickers, rewards and praise), but soon she got the hang of it and was putting them in herself. And her vision without the lenses tested at 20/20 or very close. Wow again.
Right away we saw an improvement in her sports and her general confidence at school. Although she thought her glasses were cool, it is obvious to us that the independence without them is worth it. And as parents we know that by making the commitment to myopia control, we are giving her options that we never had. The fact that we are able to give her perfect or near perfect vision without glasses or lenses and stop her vision from getting worse means that when she is an adult she will have different options than we had.
If your child is diagnosed with myopia, I strongly recommend you schedule an evaluation at Treehouse Eyes to discuss their myopia control program. It’s already made a huge difference in my daughter’s quality of life.
Jennifer Adeli of Great Falls, VA, is a busy mom of two kids (ages 8 and 11) and CEO of her own proposal management consulting firm. In between the working mom juggle, she and her husband enjoy exercising, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
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