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Many people know that having myopia means being nearsighted—that distant objects appear blurry. What many people don’t know? That myopia is often diagnosed in children, and with treatment, myopia progression can actually be slowed.
But what does myopia management involve? And why is it important? Read on, and let’s take a closer look at what you need to know.
What Is Myopia Management?
“Myopia management” refers to various methods that eye doctors use to slow down the progression of myopia in children to keep it from getting worse quickly. These methods can include treatments like specially designed myopia control glasses, eye drops, hard contacts, or soft contact lenses such as MiSight® 1 day. (We’ll discuss myopia treatment more in a bit.) The key thing to know about myopia management: It’s more than just throwing on some prescription glasses or contacts to function and see clearly.
A myopic eye is more elongated from the front of the eye to the back. This happens when the eye grows at a faster rate than usual. Some children who develop myopia have what’s called progressive myopia, which means the eyes continue to stretch and grow longer. The nearsightedness continues to worsen rapidly, particularly in young kids.
Can Myopia Be Reversed or Cured in Childhood?
No, myopia can’t be reversed or cured—it can only be slowed down and, in some cases, kept from getting worse. Studies show that the majority of myopia progression occurs in childhood (prior to age 16) when our bodies are still growing (and myopic eyes are still stretching).
Why Is Myopia Management Important?
So, why does myopia management matter? If it can’t be reversed, then isn’t it just a matter of having a stronger prescription? Not at all—myopia management is all about looking out for your child’s future eye health.
When myopia is diagnosed in children, it sometimes progresses rapidly—at times up to .25 diopters every six months. So, the younger a child is when diagnosed, the more advanced their myopia may become, with a greater chance of developing high myopia (severe nearsightedness with -6 diopters or more of spherical correction).
Myopia management can lead to lower numbers for the resulting eye prescription and, most importantly, a lower risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases and other eye health issues. Lower prescription numbers also mean:
To sum that up: The bottom line is that early myopia management in children can help safeguard them from moderate and high levels of myopia and an increased likelihood for sight-threatening eye diseases such as retinal detachment.
Myopia Treatment Options
Ok, so what can be done to slow the progression of myopia in children? Treatments most commonly prescribed include myopia control glasses, myopia management contact lenses, or medications such as eye drops.
Contact Lenses for Myopia Control in Age-Appropriate Children
Certain contacts are highly effective for myopia control. For instance, MiSight® 1 day are soft contact lenses that have been FDA-approved for slowing the progression of myopia in children ages 8-12 at the initiation of treatment.±*1 These lenses use ActivControl® Technology to correct nearsightedness while also slowing its progression.*1
These contacts not only give age-appropriate children freedom from glasses for their active lives but also have been clinically proven to slow myopia progression.*1 Look for a MiSight® 1 day-certified eye doctor near you to schedule an exam.
Orthokeratology for Myopia Control
Orthokeratology (or ortho-K) is another type of contact lens that can be used for myopia in kids. These lenses are very different in that they’re rigid gas-permeable contacts that are only worn at night to reshape the cornea during sleep. During the day, light passes through the reshaped cornea properly, making distant objects look clear.
This method of treatment has been studied to slow the progression of myopia but does not have FDA approval to do so. Additionally, it only temporarily makes vision clear. If you stop using these lenses, your cornea will go back to its usual shape and nearsightedness will return.
Myopia Control Glasses
Traditional, single-vision eyeglass lenses can correct nearsightedness, but they can’t slow down the progression of myopia. Some types of glasses, like bifocal or progressive addition lenses, create some peripheral myopic defocus—but not enough to slow myopia progression to any significant degree.
Glasses are a viable solution for some children—especially kids who can’t use contacts or eye drops.
Atropine Eye Drops for Myopia
Fun fact: Atropine eye drops are actually one of the types of drops eye doctors may use for dilating patients’ eyes at an eye exam. But doctors have found that these drops can be given to children in much lower concentrations at bedtime to slow the progression of myopia.
Change in Daily Habits
If a child spends excessive time in close-up activities—drawing, tablet use, reading—then your eye doctor will likely recommend taking regular breaks from these activities. Spending time outside is also important because sunlight can play a part in healthy eye growth. Studies have shown that spending more time outside is effective in reducing myopic progression.
Myopia Management: It’s All About Eye Health
Remember: Myopia management is not just about correcting nearsightedness—it’s all about protecting long-term vision and eye health. Myopia in children can progress fast. By slowing down the progression, kids’ risk for vision-threatening eye disease can be greatly reduced. Start by booking an eye exam and talking to your child’s eye doctor.
±Indications for use: MiSight® 1 day (omafilcon A) soft (hydrophilic) contact lenses for daily wear are indicated for the correction of myopic ametropia and for slowing the progression of myopia in children with non-diseased eyes, who at the initiation of treatment are 8-12 years of age and have a refraction of -0.75 to -4.00 diopters (spherical equivalent) with ≤ 0.75 diopters of astigmatism. The lens is to be discarded after each removal
*Compared to a single vision 1 day lens over a 3 year period
1. Chamberlain P, et al. A 3-year Randomized Clinical Trial of MiSight® Lenses for Myopia Control. Optom Vis Sci. 2019; 96(8)556-567