Myopia Management in Calgary

Myopia management for nearsightedness in children is now considered by the Canadian Association of Optometrists as the standard of care to reduce the risk of eye diseases later in life. Annual eye exams by specialists are essential to the early detection of progressing nearsightedness.

The Myopia Clinic at Mission Eye Care is the only clinic in Canada with 3 residency trained optometrists specializing in this field. Evidence based treatments including orthokeratology, specialized soft contact lenses, specialized eyeglass lenses, and pharmaceutical treatments help to reduce the progression of your child’s myopia. We use the latest technology to precisely map the length and curvature of the eye and tailor treatments for best results.

What causes Myopia?

With our children spending more time in front of screens and less time outdoors, myopia is fast becoming an epidemic. Myopia, or nearsightedness, occurs when the eyeball grows too long and the image no longer focuses properly on the retina. The higher the myopia, the more stretching of delicate tissues inside the eye, increasing the risk of sight threatening diseases and even blindness later in life.

In addition to increased screen time, there are a number of other risk factors associated with the progression of myopia including outdoor time, myopic parents, and genetic factors.

Myopia Risk Calculator

Click the icon for a quick 6 question survey to assess your child’s risk of myopic progression (external link). You can bring the results to your child's exam and we would be happy to go over them with you.

A child sits in her desk at school looking at the whiteboard

Symptoms & Signs of Myopia in Kids

Myopia symptoms in kids include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty seeing the whiteboard
  • Sitting very close to the tv or computer screen
  • Struggling in activities requiring hand-eye coordination
With early or mild myopia, your child may have no symptoms at all. A routine annual exam is the best way to detect and treat myopia early. The earlier it is treated, the lower the myopia and the lower the risk of myopia related eye damage. Simply getting standard eyeglasses or contact lenses does nothing to reduce the progression of nearsightedness.
Myopia risk chart showing the increasing complications from untreated myopia.

Myopia and Eye Disease

High myopia as a child increases the risk of sight threatening eye diseases in adulthood, including:

The lower the myopia, the lower the risk of blindness and visual impairment later in life, so early detection and treatment is critical. 

Natural treatments for myopia

Spending at least 1-2 hours per day outside has been correlated with later onset and reduced progression of myopia. However, if there is ANY amount of myopia prior to age 11, additional clinical myopia control strategies are strongly advised.

How to treat nearsightedness in children

Early detection of myopia is important to best treat nearsightedness in children. Annual eye exams allow us to monitor for the progression of nearsightedness and treat it early.

There are four main options for myopia control. A combination of these options may be prescribed depending on the rate of myopic progression as well as the unique lifestyle and visual requirements of your child:

 

Soft & Hybrid Multifocal Contact Lenses

Specially designed soft contact lenses that are worn during the day and removed at bedtime. These lenses have been proven in long term studies to slow down eye elongation (and therefore myopia) through a method known as peripheral defocus.

These lenses are available in daily disposables for those without astigmatism, and also monthly disposable and hybrid designs for those with more complex prescriptions.

A woman wears yearly contacts

Orthokeratology

Orthokeratology treatment involves the overnight wear of customized rigid contact lenses that gently reshape the surface of the eye while sleeping.

This allows freedom from contact lenses and glasses during the day and is ideal for active kids who may otherwise be limited by eyeglasses during sports and other activities. It has also been shown in many studies to be one of the most effective methods to slow the progression of myopia.

These lenses can last up to 2 years and have a proven safety record when used under doctor supervised care along with good hygiene practices.

A child wears orthokeratology contact lenses while he sleeps

Atropine Eye Drops

This treatment is often prescribed for children who are either too young or unable to wear contact lenses. However, it is most effective when used in conjunction with other treatments to further reduce myopia progression. Recent studies show that 0.01 to 0.05% atropine decreases progression of myopia by 50-87%. It appears to act by thickening the layer of the eye just under the retina called the choroid. This may increase the structural integrity of the eye and thereby reduce its elongation.

These drops are made at compounding pharmacies and generally dispensed in supplies of 1 to 3 months. Some children will have light sensitivity or difficulty focusing at near, in which case the concentration is adjusted to reduce or eliminate these effects.

A young child with big blue eyes looks wide eyed at the camera

Myopia Control Eyeglass Lenses

There are many new custom spectacle lens designs on the market designed to slow the progression of myopia. Some designs use tiny dots embedded in the lens, while others use concentric rings to create the defocus needed.  Research shows they can reduce myopia progression by as much as 60% when the appropriate lens design is chosen.

Proper fitting of the frames and lenses is critical to success, as the lenses must be properly centered for optimal effect. At Mission Eye Care, our opticians have a wealth of skill and expertise with these designs and can ensure proper fit and monitoring in conjunction with your eye doctor. We also offer no charge replacement within a year if the lenses get damaged or the prescription changes!

A young girl tries on myopia control glasses

Our Myopia Control Clinic

The Myopia Control Clinic at Mission Eye Care is where we use our expertise and technology to monitor your child’s myopia. Your Optometrist will make recommendations depending on baseline data, genetic risk factors and lifestyle, the latest clinical evidence, and the goals of treatment.

You will also get an annual report card with graphs showing the results of treatment relative to what they would have been without treatment. We want you to be as pleased with the outcomes as we are!