Canadian kids and myopia

Study is the first of its kind to explore the prevalence of myopia in Canadian children

A child having her sight tested

The prevalence of myopia in Canadian children soars between the ages of 11 and 13, according to a first of its kind research study.

Conducted in partnership between the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE), the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, researchers found that while the rate of myopia amongst children in Canada aged between six and eight was 6%, this rose to 28.9% for those aged 11–13.

Findings of the Myopia prevalence in Canadian school children: a pilot study, which were published in the journal Eye, also found that spending one extra hour spent outdoors a week, lowered a child’s odds of becoming myopic by 14.3%.

It added that children with at least one myopic parent were 2.52 times more likely to be myopic.

Lead investigator on the study and a clinical associate at CORE, Mike Yang, highlighted that myopia is receiving significant attention from the eye health community worldwide, as incidence rates continue to climb among children at a startling pace. 

He explained: “Our research paints a troubling picture, yet also shows the beneficial impact of outdoor time. We believe it adds meaningful, objective, and actionable knowledge to the research and clinical communities, as more efforts are placed against overcoming this critical and ever-growing problem.”

Clinical professor at the School of Optometry & Vision Science and clinical scientist at CORE, Debbie Jones, said that the research highlights “the growing need” for strategies to slow down the progression of myopia.  

“CORE has played a significant role in clinical studies that have demonstrated the ability to control myopic progression. Patients may benefit from lower levels of myopia than if it is left unaddressed, likely lowering levels of sight threatening myopic complications,” she added.

Image credit: Getty