Myopia (nearsightedness) is on the rise. With our children spending more time in front of screens and less time outdoors, myopia is fast becoming an epidemic. By the year 2050, it is estimated that 50% of the world will suffer from myopia – about 5 billion people.
The consequences of high myopia are more than just thick glasses. Those with myopia have a higher risk of blindness or vision impairment due to retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration (MMD) and glaucoma. This is due to the continued elongation of the eyeball. This increase in axial length is what increases the risk of these sight threatening diseases.
The consequences of doing nothing about progressing myopia are often devastating. Retinal Detachment risk increases by over 20 times in myopia over –5.00D. This sight threatening condition requires invasive surgical repair within 48 hours in order to avoid permanent vision loss. Perhaps the most compelling reason to do something is the fact that a child’s lifetime risk of irreversible damage to central vision is 40 times greater in myopia over –5.00D, and over 126 times greater over –7.00D! Even the risk of glaucoma and cataracts increases more than 3 times at just –3.00D. Risk increases further with family history.
Thanks to recent and ongoing research, there are now treatments to slow the progression of myopia. At Mission Eye Care, we have doctors residency trained in myopia control using specialty contact lenses and are proud to be the only clinic in Alberta with optometrists credentialed in this field. Our Myopia Control Academy Program will give you and your child the highest level of care. We work in conjunction with local ophthalmology clinics to ensure we closely monitor your child’s eyes and accurately measure the axial length of your child’s eyes using the latest technology.
We offer four main options for myopia control, depending on the unique lifestyle and visual requirements of each individual patient. For all patients, at least 1-2 hours of outdoor time every day is recommended as it has been shown to be correlated with later onset and reduced progression of myopia. If there is any amount of myopia prior to age 11, myopia control strategies are recommended. There is a link at the end of this page with a myopia calculator showing how much your child’s myopia will progress without some form of control.