A common but underestimated vision disorder
Myopia is a disorder that occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea too curved. Because images are formed at the front of the retina, your long-range vision is fuzzy but things that are close to you are clear.
In Quebec the number of children with myopia has doubled in the last 20 years. Although the disorder is partly hereditary (30%), the biggest factor is lifestyle (70%).
Screen time has been rising over the years, and we’re seeing more and more children developing myopia as a result. But as you’ll see in the report below (in French), it’s the increasingly early onset of the disorder that really has healthcare professionals worried.
The earlier the onset, the quicker the progression, because children’s eyes are still developing. Children who develop myopia before age 10 and are not treated have a higher risk of developing a visual impairment such as cataracts, a detached retina, glaucoma, or macular degeneration by the time they’re 60.
Although prevention is key for combating myopia, there are now proven solutions and things we can do to slow its progression in children.
1- Flexible contact lenses
Brilliant FuturesTM Myopia Management Program
Brilliant Futures™ from CooperVision, introduced in Canada in November 2020, is a program that stresses the importance of taking good care of your eyes. It also provides healthcare professionals with tools to educate patients and keep myopia in check among children.
At the core of the program are CooperVision’s innovative MiSight 1‑day contact lenses. They’ve been approved by Health Canada and are the first 1-day flexible contact lenses that can significantly slow the progression of myopia in children.
CooperVision recently launched a major campaign featuring actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. A myopia patient herself, Gellar says she wanted to get involved after learning that her eight‑year‑old son also has the disorder. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness of myopia and remind people how important regular eye exams are.
MiSightTM 1‑day contact lenses
Flexible lenses used to slow the progression of myopia are not like single-vision contact lenses and glasses. Thanks to their unique design, MiSightTM 1‑day lenses bring things into focus on the centre of the retina, just like single-vision lenses do, but they also control fuzziness around the edges.
|Thanks to their unique design, MiSightTM 1‑day lenses bring things into focus on the centre of the retina, just like single-vision lenses do, but they also control fuzziness around the edges.||
It’s this control of the fuzziness that slows down the elongation of the eye and thus slows the progression of myopia. A single lens has treatment and correction zones that overlap.
And because they’re 1-day lenses, they’re just right for young patients. No maintenance required! Disposable lenses keep your child’s eyes perfectly hydrated, day after day.
To better understand the technology behind these innovative lenses, watch the short video below (in French) produced in partnership with Dr. Isabelle Leclerc, optometrist and owner of the Terrebonne Opto‑Réseau clinic.
2- Prescription glasses
HOYA MiyoSmart lenses
When looking at solutions and products to slow the progression of myopia, prescription glasses such as HOYA MiyoSmart are another good option.
A two-year clinical study has shown that the D.I.M.S. (Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segments) technology used in these glasses slows the progression of myopia in children by an average of almost 60% and reduces axial elongation (lengthening of the eyeball).
These special lenses not only correct refraction errors, but also have numerous defocus zones around the centre to keep myopia in check.
HOYA MiyoSmart lenses and MiSightMD 1‑day contact lenses are just two of the treatment options available for slowing the progression of myopia. To discuss these and others, contact your Opto‑Réseau eye care professional.
In addition to the options available at your clinic, small changes and healthy habits can make a difference and help control the progression of myopia.
Here are some tips to help your child maintain good vision:
- Spend more time outdoors (at least an hour a day). Being in daylight and seeing things at a variety of distances when they’re outside can have a positive effect on the health of your child’s eyes.
- For screentime, choose the TV rather than a tablet.
- Take regular study breaks. Follow the 20/20 rule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes during periods of intense concentration and close-range vision.
- Make sure your child has good visual ergonomics. Proper lighting, correct posture and appropriate distance are important when your child is in front of a screen.
- Schedule a check-up with your eye care professional annually or every two years to make sure any vision problems are detected early and treated promptly.
Has the pandemic caused a spike in cases?
Today, an estimated one in four children has myopia. If the current trend continues, 25 years from now half the population will have the disorder. However, numbers started going up even before working from home became the norm.
Our eyes have adapted to the more widespread use of smartphones and electronic tablets. Previously, we used to read or focus on objects at a distance of about 40 cm. Today, it’s down to 18 cm.
Eye health experts have been aware of the effects of our connected lifestyle for years, and since the onset of the pandemic more and more patients are being seen for visual discomfort. And myopia isn’t the only problem. Cases of dry eye are skyrocketing as well.
As we mentioned above, healthy habits can make a big difference in slowing the progression of myopia in your child and in reducing symptoms associated with dry eyes. If you’re suffering from dry eyes, know that you have options, including a range of products developed by Quebec company Imed Pharma.
If you have more questions about your eye health or would like to know more about solutions for slowing the progression of myopia in your child, schedule an appointment with your Opto‑Réseau eye care professional.