Landmark Study: Myopia in Canadian Children Worsening

A new study from Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science and the CNIB has found that the eyesight of school-age Canadian children is deteriorating, and at a much younger age than in previous generations.

17.5 percent of children surveyed by the study were nearsighted. Between the ages of six and thirteen, myopia prevalence increased from 6 percent to 28.9 percent.

“Historically, myopia started at age 12 or 13, but now it is showing up more often in kids six or seven years old,” said Dr. Mike Yang, lead investigator and clinical scientist with the Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR).

Even more concerning, nearly one third of these cases were going undiagnosed and uncorrected.

“Kids don’t know they can’t see the blackboard,” said Prof. Deborah Jones, co-lead investigator on the study and a clinical professor at Waterloo. “This kind of gradual deterioration in eyesight easily goes unnoticed without regular eye exams.”

The survey population involved children from the Waterloo region, though plans are in place to extend the study to populations across Canada, with an eye to examining the differences between ethnicities and environmental settings.

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