The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) is pleased to announce it will receive donated eyeglasses from SightGlass Vision, Inc. to help local children in need. The eyeglasses will be distributed through the School of Optometry & Vision Science’s (WOVS) Clinic.
This effort is in support of the first annual Myopia Awareness Week (@MyopiaMovement), aimed at educating caregivers and changing the way optometrists understand and treat myopia. Myopia Awareness Week takes place May 13-19, 2019.
“We are pleased to accept this generous donation from SightGlass Vision to help children in our community who are struggling with sight issues. We know that some families are unable to afford corrective measures such as eyeglasses,” said CORE’s director Dr. Lyndon Jones.
“This effort will make a huge difference in the lives of these children who are most in need, as well as their family members, and we are grateful to the SightGlass Vision team for their support and dedication to helping address myopia in children.”
Findings in Myopia Prevalence in Canadian School Children: a Pilot Study, conducted by CORE indicated, that while the rate of myopia was 6% in children aged 6-8, it soars to 28.9% in children aged 11-13.[i] Often increasing rapidly during childhood, myopia progresses into the teen years and early adulthood, leaving many with significantly impaired uncorrected vision. Earlier onset and rapid progression results in the need for stronger prescription glasses and increases the risk of potentially blinding conditions such as glaucoma, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration in adulthood. SightGlass Vision is developing new technology to slow myopia progression that is currently being investigated in clinical trials at research sites around the world, including CORE.
Myopia has seen a dramatic increase in prevalence over the past several decades. Myopia is now the leading cause of irreversible blindness in parts of Asia and it is estimated that almost half of the entire world’s population, or five billion people, will be nearsighted by 2050.[ii] This increase is thought to relate to lifestyle changes, including less time outdoors and more eye-straining or near-work-related activities such as reading and screen time.
“The increasing prevalence of myopia around the world is of great concern to us and it has been well established that myopia often progresses rapidly during childhood,” said Thomas W. Chalberg, Ph.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of SightGlass Vision. “Our donation is grounded in the belief that no child should struggle with sight issues and it is our privilege to make this contribution to CORE and the School of Optometry & Vision Science to help children in Waterloo Region see better.”
The University of Waterloo is one of 15 sites across North America that will select, order, and dispense the eyeglasses to children in need. The WOVS Optometry Clinic will receive up to 40 pairs of standard ophthalmic frames and impact-resistant spectacle lenses – the standard of care for children who have myopia, hyperopia, and/or astigmatism.
[i] Yang M, Luensmann D, Fonn D, et al. Myopia prevalence in Canadian school children: a pilot study. Eye (Lond). 2018;32(6):1042-1047.
[ii] Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, et al. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016;123(5):1036-1042.