All posts by Nicole Tavares

Centre for Ocular Research & Education partners with SightGlass Vision to bring eyeglasses to local children in need

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 11-13.1 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 2050.2 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.

About the Centre for Ocular Research & Education

The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science. Over the next three decades, the organization evolved from a three-person operation into a thriving hub of basic and applied research, collaborating with sponsors, agencies and academia on advanced biosciences, clinical research and education. Its uncompromising independence and results of the highest quality have been at the heart of many of the most prominent advances in eye health. Today, its approximately 50-person team serves a range of ophthalmic sectors, including medical devices, ocular pharmaceuticals, digital technology and others, with a focus on the anterior segment. For more information, please visit core.uwaterloo.ca.

About the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science
The University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science (WOVS) provides the only English optometric training in Canada. The School delivers an accredited, four year degree program leading to a professional Doctor of Optometry (OD). An extensive clinic program provides practical experience for students and health services for the public. The School of Optometry and Vision Science also has an impressive program supporting research in Vision Science and Optometry. For more information, please visit uwaterloo.ca/optometry.

About SightGlass Vision, Inc.
SightGlass Vision, Inc. is a clinical-stage medtech startup company focused on ending nearsightedness (myopia). Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, SightGlass is developing innovative spectacle lenses to reduce the progression of myopia in children. Based on groundbreaking research from the University of Washington, SightGlass was founded in 2016 by Professors Jay and Maureen Neitz, who are world-renowned vision researchers, and Dr. Thomas Chalberg, a serial entrepreneur in the biotechnology and medical device sectors. For more information, please visit www.sightglassvision.com.

  1. Yang M, Luensmann D, Fonn D, et al. Myopia prevalence in Canadian school children: a pilot study. Eye (Lond). 2018;32(6):1042-1047.
  2. 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.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Aimee J. Lewis or Mike McDougall, APR, Fellow PRSA, McDougall Communications for CORE

aimee@mcdougallpr.com +1.585.414.9838  |  mike@mcdougallpr.com +1.585.545.1815

Seeing is Believing: Eye-Popping Photos Show Why Good Contact Lens Hygiene is Essential

Caught short without your contact lens case or care solutions? Lens unexpectedly falls out? What would you do? NBA star Ron Baker, faced with just this dilemma earlier this year chose to pop his lens in his mouth to wet it and then place it back on his eye. This was seen by countless people around the world as the video clip spread online, eliciting cringes from the eye health community and shrugs from wearers who have done the same.

During the holidays, when routines are disrupted and time is at a premium, contact lens wearers may also be tempted to skip regular hygiene practices. But is it wise? Scientists from the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo conducted an eye-popping experiment to help consumers picture the risks.

To demonstrate the rapid growth of bacteria associated with mishandling contact lenses, CORE researchers exposed new, clean contact lenses to human saliva and then placed them into petri plates for monitoring. The action of putting a contact lens in the mouth resulted in significant growth of microorganisms after only two days of incubation (Figure 1).

They then examined the effect of handling contact lenses with both clean and unwashed hands. Unwashed hands were pressed into agar (Figure 2a), and also used to handle a new contact lens (Figure 2b). Scientists then repeated the procedure after following recommended handwashing practices, touching both the agar directly, along with applying and removing a contact lens (Figures 2c and 2d). The results clearly demonstrate the impact handling has on contact lenses. Samples that had been placed in the mouth or touched with unwashed hands showed significantly higher numbers of visible bacteria. By comparison, the contact lens touched with clean hands had only a minimal bacterial load.

“Contact lenses are a safe, highly effective form of vision correction used by millions of people, but ignoring good contact lens care can have a devastating effect on eye health and vision,” says CORE senior research associate Miriam Heynen, MSc, who conducted the experiment with laboratory research assistant Vivian Chan, Bsc., after hearing a news report on poor contact lens care habits.

She continued, “Bacteria are present on surfaces all around us and this simple experiment is a graphic demonstration of how they reproduce over just a short amount of time. Taking care of your contact lenses is a must, no matter how pressed for time you are. Handle with clean, dry hands, use a case and care solution as recommended by an eye care practitioner, and always keep spare contact lenses and spectacles with you. Proper care is simple, essential for good health, and after seeing these photos, a no-brainer for anyone who appreciates their eyes.”

Contact lens wearers can more easily resolve to practice better hygiene during the holiday season and the New Year, thanks to a printable, easy-to-read tip sheet available from CORE which covers good hand hygiene along with other reminders on safe contact lens wear.

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About the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE)

The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) – formerly known as the Centre for Contact Lens Research – was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science. Over the next three decades, the organization evolved from a three-person operation into a thriving hub of basic and applied research, collaborating with sponsors, agencies and academia on advanced biosciences, clinical research and education. Its uncompromising independence and results of the highest quality have been at the heart of many of the most prominent advances in eye health. Today, its approximately 50-person team serves a range of ophthalmic sectors, including medical devices, ocular pharmaceuticals, digital technology and others, with a focus on the anterior segment. For more information, please visit core.uwaterloo.ca.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Aimee J. Lewis or Mike McDougall, APR, Fellow PRSA, McDougall Communications for CORE

aimee@mcdougallpr.com +1.585.414.9838  |  mike@mcdougallpr.com +1.585.545.1815