Even before COVID-19, the world was silently coping with another pandemic.
You may have already seen evidence of it: every year, a higher percentage of teenagers need to wear glasses. Those teenagers become adults with glasses, and those adults are more likely to develop serious eye conditions including retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.
The rapid growth of myopia—commonly called nearsightedness—meets the CDC’s definition of “pandemic”, according to American optometrist Dr. Dwight Akerman, Chief Medical Editor or Review of Myopia Management. It’s estimated that an additional 740 million people will develop myopia over the next ten years, and that 49.8 percent of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.
Here is where parents come in. The changes in the eye which lead to myopia often begin in pre-teen years, and while there is no “cure”, there are now proven methods of limiting or even arresting the onset of myopia. In practical terms, this means children may not develop such a “strong” prescription, or may avoid needing glasses altogether. It also means a reduced chance of developing serious vision problems later in life.
One effective myopia treatment called ortho-k has been quietly growing in popularity for the past twenty years. And as with dental braces, ortho-k is best done at a young age rather than as an adult.
Toronto is home to a pioneer of ortho-k science. Optometrist Dr. Edward Chow opened his Toronto practice in 1973, and has made significant contributions to the science and practice of ortho-k. In 2018 Dr. Chow founded the Global Council on Myopia Management, with the goal of preventing vision loss through myopia education.
It’s perhaps fitting that Dr. Chow opened his new Myopia Clinic in the year 2020. The clinic specializes in ortho-k and related “myopia control” services for both children and adults:
People who find contact lenses uncomfortable because of dryness or irritation may benefit from [ortho-k]. Those who engage in sports and have active lifestyles may also enjoy the freedom that Ortho-k brings. This procedure is particularly pertinent to high myopes (people with nearsightedness) and to children with progressive myopia and astigmatism. (Source: choweyeinstitute.ca)
As part of his mission to educate the public on myopia and ortho-k, Dr. Chow welcomes all inquires on childhood or adult myopia, and how ortho-k might help.
This article is opinion and not a substitute for professional advice. Disclaimer