November 17, 2022
WATERLOO, Ontario — Debbie Jones, BSc, FCOptom, FAAO, Clinical Scientist at the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE), joined an episode of the Don’t Lose Sight of Vision Care Benefits podcast about the childhood myopia epidemic. The podcast is part of the Canadian Association of Optometrists Podcast Series.
In this episode, Dr. Jones was able to address a non-medical audience about the ins and outs of myopia. Speaking with podcast host Denise Balch from Connex Health, she describes the associated risks for more severe vision impairment later in life as a potential consequence of myopia.
Dr. Jones notes that recent work showed a 30% prevalence of myopia among 11- to 13-year-olds in the Waterloo-Kitchener region. Remarkably, one-third of those children’s caregivers were unaware of the problem until the research project uncovered the condition.
Dr. Jones explained that preventing or delaying the onset of myopia is possible, and she recommends that group benefits administrators and wellness coordinators help their employees consider outdoor time and screen time plans for their children. She also describes a range of therapies that are available to slow myopia progression, including specialized contact lenses and eyeglasses, as well as eye drops.
Balch and Dr. Jones also encouraged parents to have their children’s eyes examined regularly by an optometrist so problems can be identified as early as possible.
Dr. Jones concentrates her clinical work in pediatric optometry and research in myopia control. Trained in the U.K., she is currently a clinical professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Waterloo, where she has been a faculty member for more than two decades. She was formerly in private practice and has published articles in optometric journals and regularly presents at optometric conferences worldwide. Dr. Jones is a Fellow of the British College of Optometrists, the British Contact Lens Association, and of the American Academy of Optometry.