Myopia Control in Calgary

Mission Eye Care is the only clinic in Canada with 3 residency trained optometrists with specialized training in myopia control. Evidence based treatments including orthokeratology, specialized soft contact lenses, specialized eyeglass lenses, and pharmaceutical treatments can reduce the progression of your child’s myopia. We use the latest technology to precisely monitor changes and tailor treatments for best results.

The progression of Myopia (nearsightedness) in childhood can be slowed. In fact, 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 are essential for early detection of nearsightedness, and early treatment which is far more effective when younger.

What causes Myopia?

With our children spending more time in front of screens and less time outdoors, myopia is fast becoming an epidemic, with 50% of children expected to be myopic by 2050. Myopia, or nearsightedness, occurs when the eyeball grows too long and light focuses in front of the retina, resulting in blurry vision. 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 lack of outdoor time, having myopic parents, and other genetic and environmental 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.

Symptoms & Signs of Myopia in Kids

Signs of myopia in kids include:

  • Squinting or head turning
  • 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 eye exam is the best way to detect and treat myopia early. The earlier it is treated, the lower the risk of myopia related eye damage. Simply getting standard eyeglasses or contact lenses does nothing to reduce the progression of nearsightedness.
A child sits in her desk at school looking at the whiteboard

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. 
Myopia risk chart showing the increasing complications from untreated myopia.

Natural treatments for myopia

Spending at least 1-2 hours per day outside has been correlated with later onset and reduced progression of myopia. Low screen time and holding reading material at least 30cm away can also reduce risk of progression. However, if there is ANY amount of myopia prior to age 11, additional myopia control strategies are strongly advised since and lifestyle changes alone are ineffective.

Also remember that the natural lens inside the eye has minimal UV blocking ability until well over the age of 18, so make sure they wear their sunglasses!

How to treat nearsightedness in children

The 4 main treatments:

Early detection of myopia is critical to best treat nearsightedness in children. Annual eye exams allow us to monitor for the progression of nearsightedness and treat it early. A combination of the following 4 options may be part of your child’s myopia management plan, which is tailored based 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. Studies show that 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, we have a wealth of expertise with the benefits of each lens design and can recommend the most appropriate option for your child. We also offer 1 year no-charge replacement 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 dedicated to utilizing the latest technology to monitor and treat your child’s myopia. Your Optometrist will go over the latest research and design a treatment plan based on baseline data, genetic and environmental risk factors, and your child’s lifestyle. Follow ups will be booked at regular intervals with specialized testing to monitor and modify treatments as needed.

You will also get regular reports showing the results of treatment relative to normal growth curves so you can track your child’s success!