In the study linked below, myopia progression has been shown to double with the extended time spent indoors due to COVID isolation. Although this study was assessing the myopia of Chinese schoolchildren, the results assert that without enough time outdoors, our children’s eyes will be negatively affected.
If your child has myopia (nearsightedness), you probably take them to an eye doctor for regular eye exams. At these routine check-ups most optometrists will simply check the child’s visual acuity and prescribe the appropriate lenses. At however, we understand the risks associated with myopia progression and know that effectively slowing it down takes more than just measuring visual acuity. A myopia management eye doctor uses an additional — more precise— method of tracking the progression of myopia in young patients to ensure the best possible outcomes for ocular health and vision.
Myopia is a common refractive error that occurs when the eye grows too long and the axial length of the eye increases. This alters the light’s focal point inside the eye, causing distant objects to appear blurry. Children and adults with myopia generally need prescription glasses or contact lenses to correct the refractive error and improve vision.
All eye doctors measure visual acuity to test for myopia, but only some measure the eye’s axial length as well. The axial length offers vital information about the child’s myopia and the rate at which it’s progressing.
What Is the Axial Length of the Eye?
The axial length of the eye refers to how long the eye is, front to back. In children with rapidly progressing myopia, axial length will increase faster than the normal rate. This information not only helps determine the progression rate, but also helps indicate the potential cause of the elongation. There is no doubt that measuring axial length is necessary for an effective myopia management program. Without this data, it’s impossible to accurately judge the results of treatment.
Why Is Myopia Progression a Concern?
Knowing the rate of a child’s myopia progression is critical to the child’s ocular health, as childhood myopia increases the risks of developing serious eye conditions and diseases later in life. Macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment can all threaten vision and eye health.
At , we provide our young patients with specialized treatment to control the progression of myopia and reduce long-term risks to give your child clear and healthy vision for a lifetime.
provides myopia management and other services to patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga all throughout Ontario.
Your child does not answer, and you can feel the tension in their body rising as they squint their eyes. They honestly can’t read the chart! The optometrist remains calm and assures your child that it’s okay. For you, however, this may be a very distressing moment.
Next, the optometrist explains to you that your child belongs to the 40% of North Americans with myopia – nearsightedness. To prevent the condition from rapidly progressing, the doctor suggests a treatment called orthokeratology. You’ve likely never heard of such treatment and wonder whatever happened to traditional eyeglasses.
Ortho-K Has High Success Rates in Slowing Down Myopia
Today it is commonly agreed that correcting nearsighted vision is not enough. Myopia progresses during childhood, and young adults may find themselves with high levels of myopia, and at risk of developing severe eye diseases. Among them are retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, and glaucoma, conditions that can lead to vision loss or even blindness later in life.
Fortunately, modern optometry offers a variety of treatments to manage myopia and keep it from progressing to dangerous levels. Orthokeratology (ortho-k) has proven highly successful and is convenient for the wearer. Studies show a 36-56% slower progression of myopia in children treated with ortho-k compared to other options that have some to marginal success rates.
What Makes Ortho-K Unique?
Ortho-k is often referred to as corneal reshaping therapy. It utilizes a therapeutic contact lens rather than corrective lenses. Children as young as 6 can wear the ortho-k lens overnight to provide them with perfect vision during the day. The concept is similar to how dentists use braces, only that braces gradually induce permanent changes, while ortho-k lenses induce temporary changes that last through the following day. This is why Ortho-K is reversible & safe for nearly any age.
Reshaping is accomplished by wearing custom-made rigid contact lenses overnight, while your child is asleep. In the morning, your child removes the lenses, and the cornea maintains its new shape for up to 72 hours. Clear vision is achieved through an altered corneal shape rather than a visual aid.
Ortho-K Is Becoming the Standard for Myopia Management
Ortho-k has been available for more than half a century and has been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to advanced technologies, higher efficiency, and easier handling. Optometrists, such as have a digital corneal topographer—a device that measures and maps the corneal surface—in their practice. This allows them to carry out all necessary examinations for precise custom-shaped lenses, designed to meet your child’s prescription requirements with high accuracy.
Another reason ortho-k lenses are popular: they’re extremely convenient. Eyeglasses have never been popular among children, and regular contact lenses can move around in the eye and even get lost during play. Because children wear ortho-k lenses only when they sleep, and don’t need lenses or glasses during the day, they can go about their day unencumbered.
Ways to Manage Myopia
Four main treatments can slow down the progression of myopia. Each has its advantages and is suitable for different circumstances.
- Orthokeratology – overnight contact lenses that reshape the cornea and provide clear vision during the day have proven to slow down myopia progression. Because the lenses are worn only at night, the child is free of glasses or contacts throughout the day.
- Atropine eye drops – applying low-dose atropine eye drops once a day has been shown to slow down myopia progression. There are few side-effects of this medication, and the eye drops can be used in combination with corrective lenses.
- Contact Lenses – a specific type of contact lens, called a distance center multifocal soft contact lens, can slow down myopia progression.
- Multifocal lenses – both multifocal glasses and conventional multifocal soft contact lenses can slow down myopia progression to some extent.
Several factors need to be taken into consideration when determining whether ortho-k is a suitable option for your child. These include age, myopia level, and general eye health. Many optometrists prefer ortho-k; however, they may recommend any of the methods mentioned above after assessing the best way to manage your child’s myopia. At we will help you find the best possible option for your child. Schedule an eye exam with to evaluate how to best prevent myopia from progressing and be comfortable at the same time.
While the detrimental effects of smoking on the lungs and heart are widely known, many aren’t aware that its impact on vision is just as profound. Myopia, on the other hand, is commonly viewed as a benign refractive error that simply requires correction with prescription lenses. The truth is, however, that both myopia progression and smoking increase the chances of developing serious eye diseases that can lead to vision loss.
Here’s the good news — the risks to vision associated with smoking and myopia progression in children are potentially preventable. Just as a chain-smoker can kick the habit to improve eye health, myopia management programs offered at can dramatically lower their child’s risk of developing serious ocular diseases later in life.
Let’s Compare Smoking to Myopia Progression
Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens begins to cloud, causing hazy or blurred vision. Certain factors can contribute to the onset and severity of the condition, such as advanced age, obesity, eye injury, high myopia, and smoking. In fact, according to a recent study, smokers are 2 times more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers.
However, children with medium to high myopia are 5 times more likely to develop cataracts later in life than non-myopic children.
Smoking is the largest controllable factor that contributes to macular degeneration. Studies show that those who smoke are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers.
Myopic macular degeneration (MMD) is caused by a severe eye elongation and retinal stretching — such as in high myopia — which leads to a damaged macula (the small portion of the retina responsible for detailed central and color vision). The higher the myopia, the greater the risk of developing MMD.
The harmful properties in cigarettes can cause uveitis — an inflammation of the uvea (the eye’s middle layer). Uveitis can lead to retinal detachment, which separates the retina from the layers beneath it. This causes field vision loss, floaters, light flashes, and in severe cases — complete vision loss. Smoking more than doubles the chances of developing this condition.
There also is a causal relationship between myopia and retinal detachment. A child with mild myopia is 21 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, whereas a child with high myopia is 44 times more likely to suffer from this serious condition.
Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the United States and Canada, occurs when ocular fluid places pressure on the eye, damaging the optic nerve. A few risk factors for glaucoma include high blood pressure, cataracts, and diabetes — all of which are linked to smoking. By kicking the smoking habit, one significantly reduces the risks of developing this vision-robbing condition.
Similarly, children with medium to high myopia are 5 times more likely to develop glaucoma than non-myopes.
How Can Myopia Management Help?
As adults, many of us take actions to maintain good health and preserve our vision, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, and not smoking. Let’s do the same for our children. As depicted above, smoking is as dangerous for the eyes as rapidly progressing myopia.
If your child’s prescription rapidly deteriorates, contact for a consultation. Let us help your child diminish the risk of developing ocular disease and vision loss with our effective myopia management program.serves patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, Mississauga, and throughout Ontario.
Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that affects millions of adults and children worldwide. This condition occurs when a person’s eyeball is too long, or the cornea or lens has an irregular shape. A myopic eye focuses the image at the front of the retina, as opposed to directly on the retina. it is often hereditary, especially if both parents are nearsighted.
Recent studies show that the more time spent outdoors can slow the onset or progression of myopia for reasons explained below. These findings are significant, as myopia can seriously impact eye health if left untreated. At , we’re here to answer any questions you may have and ensure that your child’s myopia is under control.
How Does Spending Time Outdoors Benefit Myopia?
By spending time outdoors, children train their eyes to focus on distant objects and relax their eyes. Just as with any other muscle in the body, the muscles in the eye need to be trained and strengthened in order to produce clear vision. Experts further suggest that moderate exposure to sunlight has a positive impact on myopia and general eye health.
A recent study was conducted by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science. The study shows that children who spend 1 extra hour outdoors each week reduce their risk of developing myopia by over 14%.
In contrast, according to the National Institute of Health, children who spend a considerable amount of time indoors watching TV or playing video games are at a significantly higher risk of developing nearsightedness.
Outdoor time should be incorporated into every child’s routine, especially those at risk of developing myopia. Parents and caregivers can make being outdoors fun by playing sports, hiking new trails, enjoying picnics or barbeques, or organizing scavenger hunts.
Why Is Slowing Myopia Progression So Important?
Myopia generally worsens over time, mostly during childhood and into the adolescent years. If your child’s prescription regularly increases, this can lead to more serious complications. Myopia progression heightens the risk of developing other eye conditions and disorders, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal detachment. In more severe cases, permanent vision loss — or even blindness— may occur.
This is why it is crucial to monitor your child’s condition with a yearly visit to . Not sure whether your child has myopia? Refer to the following list.
Signs of Myopia in Children
Children with myopia may exhibit any of the following:
- Squinting when reading the board or watching TV
- Lack of interest in playing sports that require distance vision
- Positioning oneself at close proximity to the TV or screen
- Sitting at the front of the classroom to clearly see the teacher and board
- Holding books close to the eyes
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or if you’ve noticed some of these behaviors, give outdoor time a try and bring him or her in to for a comprehensive eye exam. We offer evidence-based myopia management treatment to slow down the progression of nearsightedness, thus preventing severe vision loss later in life.provides myopia management and other treatments to patients in Oakville, Burlington, Halton, Mississauga, and throughout Ontario.
As the holidays approach, most of us have one thing at the top of our to-do lists: gift shopping! This holiday season, give the gift of perfect vision that will have your loved one thanking you every morning. If you or anyone in your family has myopia (nearsightedness), there is no better gift than Ortho-K lenses.
What is Ortho-K?
Orthokeratology (commonly referred to as Ortho-K, corneal reshaping contact lenses or corneal refractive treatment) is a process that uses specialized gas-permeable lenses to safely and gently reshape the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye), by having them worn overnight and removed in the morning. Doing so provides clear vision all day long without the need to wear lenses or glasses. This FDA-approved method of vision correction is suitable for children and adults, is a safer alternative to LASIK, and can be used for myopia, astigmatism, hyperopia (farsightedness), and occasionally presbyopia (farsightedness due to aging).
Give the Gift of Ortho-K
Children and adults with mild to moderate myopia or those who cannot undergo LASIK or other refractive surgeries (for a variety of reasons) are excellent candidates for Ortho-K. Believe us — they’ll be grateful for this gift!
Ortho-k is not only effective for correcting refractive errors but is also great for slowing the progression of myopia in children — rendering it a particularly meaningful gift for a child. By slowing the progression of myopia, you can greatly reduce your child’s risk of developing serious eye conditions and diseases later in life, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal detachment.
While you can’t wrap this gift up in a box, with Ortho-K, your loved ones will truly SEE the difference!
The myopia management program at is dedicated to improving your child’s eye health. Call us with any questions you may have – we’re here for you.provides myopia management and other services for patients in Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga, and throughout Ontario.