Keeping tabs on your child’s health and well-being is a priority for parents: you schedule annual visits with their paediatrician, and you get their teeth checked at the dentist every six months or so. Great! But when was the last time you had your child’s eye health assessed by a professional?
Eye health & exams
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends school-age children (six to 19 years old) have their eyes checked once a year1. Yet, according to a 2021 survey conducted by CooperVision Canada and Maru/Blue, only 55 percent of Canadian parents with children under 14 say they take their kids for an annual eye exam2.
Annual eye exams for children are not only quick and easy, they’re an important way to monitor your child’s vision and eye health. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and comprehensive eye exams performed by an optometrist can detect a wide array of issues—from blurry vision to brain tumours3—early, so they can be properly treated and managed.
An annual eye exam is also the best way to identify nearsightedness, also known as myopia, in children—and myopia is a medical condition that should be taken seriously.
Myopia, which usually starts in childhood and progresses until about age 20, is a common visual condition that makes it difficult for kids to see objects in focus at a distance. It can be worsened by the overuse of “near vision” (i.e., looking at things close up), which happens with activities such as reading, writing or too much screen time4,5. A lack of natural light—which can occur when kids spend too much time indoors—can also contribute to myopia getting worse4,6.
Between at-home online learning and restricted access to their usual activities, the pandemic has resulted in a sort of perfect storm for the development of myopia in children, as kids have been spending a lot more time using their near vision and staying indoors. According to the CooperVision/Maru/Blue survey, and compared to pre-pandemic times, 59 percent of Canadian parents reported their children under 14 were spending more time doing things that require their near vision, and 42 percent said their kids were spending less time outdoors2.
“The human body was not designed for us to only use our vision inside,” says Dr. Debbie Jones, professor of optometry at the University of Waterloo and clinical scientist at the Centre for Ocular Research & Education. “Spending time outside is encouraged, as it has been shown to have a preventative effect and can delay the onset of myopia7.” She adds that making sure kids keep a reasonable distance from their books and screens, and having them take regular breaks when using their near vision, are also good ways to help prevent early symptoms.
And while myopia might not sound like a big deal, if left untreated or improperly managed in kids, it may contribute to more severe eye-health complications and sight-threatening conditions—such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment and more—later in life8.
If an eye exam reveals your child has myopia, there are various treatment options available and kids are typically prescribed glasses, which can help improve their vision but, unfortunately, won’t prevent their myopia from getting worse over time. “While using regular eyeglasses and contact lenses can help children see distance objects clearly, these will not slow down the progression of their myopia,” says Dr. Jones. She suggests parents stay on top of their children’s vision with regular eye exams, and says that enrolling in a trusted myopia management program to help reduce progression is also key.
Brilliant Futures™ Myopia Management Program
Thankfully, parents of kids with myopia can turn to the Brilliant Futures™ Myopia Management Program with MiSight® 1 day contact lenses, which provides age-appropriate children with clear distance vision±9,10 and can potentially slow their myopia progression†9.
MiSight® 1 day contact lenses are easy to use, daily-wear single-use soft contacts, which are disposed of at the end of each day. They’ve been clinically proven safe‡9-11 and, over a three-year period, slowed myopia progression by 59 percent, on average†9. They’re also the first and only soft contact lenses that are FDA-approved* to slow the progression of myopia in children aged eight to 12 at the initiation of treatment †9. Plus, they’re kid-approved: After using MiSight® 1 day contact lenses for three years, 90 percent of children still strongly preferred them over their glasses12.
With the Brilliant Futures™ Myopia Management Program with MiSight® 1 day contact lenses, parents receive the comprehensive support, knowledge and tools they need to help their age-appropriate kids see better, so the whole family can focus on brighter days ahead.
For more information on the Brilliant Futures™ Myopia Management Program with MiSight® 1 day contact lenses visit CooperVision Canada.
± VA [LogMAR >6/6 (20/20)] at all visits from dispensing to 6-year visit.
†Compared to a single vision 1 day lens over a three-year period.
‡ No slit-lamp observations recorded above grade 2 at any scheduled visits apart from 1 observation of grade 3 GPC attributed to a foreign body at the 1-month visit.
*USA Indications for use: MiSight® 1 day (omafilcon A) soft (hydrophilic) contact lenses for daily wear are indicated for the correction of myopic ametropia and for slowing the progression of myopia in children with non-diseased eyes, who at the initiation of treatment are 8-12 years of age and have a refraction of -0.75 to -4.00 diopters (spherical equivalent) with ≤ 0.75 diopters of astigmatism. The lens is to be discarded after each removal. Canadian Indications for use: MiSight (omafilcon A) Soft Contact Lenses for Myopia Control may reduce the rate of myopia progression in children (6-18) and correct ametropia. Reduction of myopia progression was observed in children with wearing time of 12 hours (8-16 hours) per day, 6.4 days (5-7) per week in a clinical study. Permanent myopia control after lens treatment is discontinued is not supported by clinical studies. MiSight (omafilcon A) Soft Contact Lenses for Myopia Control are indicated for single use daily disposable wear. When prescribed for daily disposable wear, the lens is to be discarded after each removal.
- Canadian Association of Optometrist website, https://opto.ca/health-library/frequency-of-eye-examinations.
- CooperVision data on file 2021. Children Myopia Awareness, Maru/Blue online panel survey 5/7/21 to 5/11/21 of n=509 parents (with children under 14) in Canada
- American Academy of Ophthalmology website, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/surprising-health-conditions-eye-exam-detects
- Gifford P, Gifford, K L. The Future of Myopia Control Contact Lenses. Opt Vis Sci. 2016;93(4):336-43.
- Wolffsohn JS, Calossi A, Cho P, et al. Global Trends in Myopia Management Attitudes and Strategies in ClinicalPractice. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2016;39(2):106-16.
- Rose KA, Morgan IG, Ip J, et al. Outdoor Activity Reduces the Prevalence of Myopia in Children. Ophthalmology 2008;115(8):1279-85.
- Xiong S, Sankaridung P, Naduvilath T, Zang J, Zou H, Zhu J, Lv M, He X, Xu X. Time spent in outdoor activities in relation to myopia prevention and control; a meta-analysis and systematic review. Acta Ophthamol. 2017;95(6):551-566.
- Flitcroft DI. The complex interactions of retinal, optical, and environmental factors in myopia aetiology Prog Retin Eye Res. 2012;31(6):622-660.
- Chamberlain P, et al. A 3-year randomized clinical trial of MiSight lenses for myopia control. Optom Vis Sci. 2019;96:556–567.
- Chamberlain P, Arumugam B, Jones D et al. Myopia Progression in Children wearing Dual-Focus Contact Lenses: 6-year findings. Optom Vis Sci 2020;97(E-abstract): 200038.
- Woods, Jill et al. Ocular health of children wearing daily disposable contact lenses over a 6-year period. Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, Volume 0, Issue 0, 2021
- Sulley A et al. Wearer experience and subjective responses with dual focus compared to spherical, single vision soft contact lenses in children during a 3-year clinical trial. AAO 2019 Poster Presentation.