MYOPIA IS BECOMING A REAL HEALTH CONCERN
It is estimated that 28% of the Canadian population is myopic and according to the World Health Organization, this figure will grow to 58% by the year 2050. In addition to this increased prevalence in Canada, myopia is also starting at earlier ages and progressing at faster rates than seen historically. Myopia is now beginning in children as early as 6 years of age.
What is Myopia?
Sometimes referred to as being near-sighted or short-sighted, Myopia is a condition where you are able to see objects clearly up close, but blurry in the distance.
This occurs when the objects in sight become focused in front of the retina — the thin layer that lines the inside of our eye and senses light.
Often it is a result of the eyeball being elongated.
Difficulty seeing the board in class
Sitting closer to the TV
MYOPIA IS BECOMING A CHILDREN'S HEALTH CONCERN
In a Pilot Study examining Canadian school children, the rate of myopia was 6% in children aged 6-8, but soared to 28.9% in children who were 11-13 years old.
What Causes Myopia?
Why is Managing Myopia Important?
While eyeglasses will help a child see better, it will not address the eye health implications myopia often creates.
Myopia often causes the eye to become more elongated and as a result, increase a child’s risk of developing vision threatening conditions such as retinal detachment, myopic macular degneration, cataracts, and glaucoma; all conditions that can lead to permanent vison loss.
Relative Risk (compared to a person with no eyeglass prescription)
MYOPIA IS A GROWING EPIDEMIC AND HEALTH CONCERN
people will be affect with myopia by 2050
of the world's population will have myopia by 2050
people will have high myopia (>5 D) by 2050
increased risk of myopic macular degeneration with each increase of 1D of myopia
How can Myopia be Prevented?
Recent research has identified some key components of a child's visual environment and lifestyle that can be addressed to help reduce the risk of myopia.
Outdoor play for at least 90 minutes a day can reduce the risk of myopia. For one additional hour spent outdoors each week, the odds of being myopic are lowered by 14.3%.
Holding reading material, such as books or handheld digital devices too close, may cause eyestrain and increase the risk of myopia
Try to limit leisure screen time to 2 hours per day in school-aged children. Spending too much time on close work and digital screens will increase the risk of myopia.
Bring your child to see an optometrist annually to identify any signs of myopia early, so that intervention can be initiated to slow or prevent myopia.
Take regular breaks from reading and screens to avoid eyestrain. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes take a 20 second break to look at something 20 metres away.
What can be done to STOP Myopia?
While there is no set cure for myopia, recent research has identified proven intervention options to help slow down the progression of myopia; some by 59% or more.
Specialty overnight contact lenses that studies have proven to slow down the progression of myopia.
Specialty soft contact lenses
Unique use of specially designed soft contact lenses that reduce the risk of myopic progression.
Specially designed eyeglass lenses that have shown to reduce the rate of myopic progression. Often used when there is also an imbalance in eye muscle coordination.
Use of low dose atropine eye drops have also been proven effective in slowing down the progression of myopia
Myopia Blog. Learn more from Canadian experts.
Concerned about screen time?
The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends:
No screen time for children under 2 years old.
Less than one hour a day for kids 2 to 4 years old.
Less than two hours a day of leisure screen time for kids 5 to 17 years old.