Is your child’s prescription getting stronger and stronger?
It’s more than an inconvenience. It’s a serious risk to your child’s vision.

Myopia is a visual condition where near objects can be seen clearly, but distant objects do not come into proper focus. Commonly referred to as nearsightedness, myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long from back to front or the cornea has too much curvature, causing light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina rather than directly on its surface.

The cause of myopia is not entirely clear, although it seems to be a combination of genetics and environment. More and more, the evidence is pointing to two factors which seem to greatly affect the incidence rates around the world: reduced time outdoors and increased time spent in front of digital devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Rates of myopia are drastically on the rise throughout the world. In fact, over 10 million American children have myopia, nearly double the incidence rate of myopia only two decades ago. Incidence of myopia in children is enough for it to be considered an epidemic, with the number expected to jump 40% worldwide by 2050. Myopia is currently the 6th leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Myopia is considered progressive when distance vision continues to get worse over time. Progressive myopia puts your child at risk for a wide range of serious and potentially devastating eye conditions later in life. These risks include cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and glaucoma.

At Grand River Eye Care, we have an in-house Myopia Control Centre where we specialize in providing effective, innovative treatment to manage the progression of myopia. Our Optometrists will begin with a full assessment of your child’s myopia and eye health, and then recommend a personalized treatment plan to slow or even stop your child’s myopia from getting worse. This will help to minimize the risks to your child’s long-term vision.

There are three main treatments that are used for effective myopia management: Orthokeratology, specialized soft multifocal contact lenses, and atropine therapy. Each treatment option has its advantages and disadvantages.

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-k, uses a custom-made rigid contact lens worn at night to gently reshape the cornea (the front surface area of the eye) as your child sleeps. After a few nights of wear, your child will no longer need to wear glasses or contacts during the day – an especially appealing option for your athletes. By correcting the progressive elongation of the eye, ortho-k has been proven to be highly effective at slowing and even halting the progression of myopia.

Multifocal soft contact lenses are worn during the day. The unique focus of the lens on the retina gives a similar myopia control to wearing ortho-k lenses. These lenses slow down the elongation in the eye over time and is an effective means of myopia control.

Atropine is a medicated drop, similar to the drop that is used to dilate the eyes for an eye exam. In micro-doses (around 0.01%), atropine has been found to be highly effective at reducing myopia progression with no discernable side effects. Atropine therapy is safe, and an ideal choice for children who are too young to begin ortho-k.