Ophthalmologists see an increase in appointments

ROCHESTER, NY – With kids back in school, some eye doctors say they’re seeing more families come in for appointments.

Fatima Al Ridha is a fifth grade student who recently started wearing contacts. She struggled with her vision for most of her life.

“When I wore glasses before gym class, I couldn’t do a lot of activities because my glasses would bang and I would have to take them off and I couldn’t really see well when I looked around,” Al said. Ridha.

Her mother, Dhuha Mohammed, says it didn’t get much better when Fatima started wearing glasses.

“We came here to schedule a doctor’s appointment,” she said. “So she started wearing glasses at age 9 and her prescription was increasing rapidly. We had to buy new glasses every six months.”

Dr. Vadim Guy, an optometrist at the Family Vision Center in Rochester, says he’s seen more children with myopia. He explains that this is likely because children have had to stare at screens for longer periods of time to learn remotely during the pandemic.

Guy adds that this can be a problem because 80% of learning comes from vision.

“It’s really interesting to see how kids’ confidence improves once they have glasses, once they have contact, once they realize that, ‘hey, I can switching from glasses throughout the day and wearing contact lenses which will not only help correct my vision but also stabilize my prescription so it doesn’t get worse,” Guy said.

That’s why Dhuha wanted Fatima to switch to contacts.

“We did a checkup for her,” Dhuha said. “She’s fine. Her vision has stabilized now. So I think it’s something every parent should try for their kids.”

For Fatima, that made all the difference.

“When I was nervous in class, I would play with my glasses and [contacts] helped me concentrate a lot more now in school instead of [glasses] fall every day,” Fatima said. “And with contacts, they don’t do that.”