Old school response to myopia, the medical term for ‘trouble seeing far’, meant annual strengthening prescriptions for people struggling with nearsightedness. O.D. Dr. Jennifer Schirner says that’s no longer the preferred remedy.
“We now recognized myopia as a disease state,” says Dr. Schirner, owner of New View Optometry in Flower Mound since 2020. “It’s not just a refractive error or just a vision problem. There’s actually a disease happening in the eye, causing it to progress and elongate faster than it should.
“It’s associated with all kinds of other health conditions like glaucoma and retinal detachment and macular degeneration that can cause blindness later in life. So we should be trying to slow these changes now.”
Dr. Schirner said she sees the problem earlier and progressing faster than in the past, partially because of digital devices. Research shows that the declining amount of time children spend outdoors in natural sunlight also plays a role.
Instead of ongoing prescriptions, Dr. Schirner said new treatments are available that stall the progression of myopia. The key is to address the issue as early as possible. Dr. Schirner recommends that parents bring their children in for their first eye exams before kindergarten.
“A child is not going to tell you they’re not seeing well because they assume that’s what the world is supposed to look like,” she said. “You definitely want to facilitate their road to success by catching it early. Vision screenings children get at school can only check for big problems. We identify the more subtle things.”
New View Optometry, a Best of Denton County contest winner in 2020 and 2021, features modern equipment to provide comprehensive exams for children and adults.
“My goal is to improve the quality of a patient’s life when they walk out the door,” Dr. Schirner said.