More and more children around the world are becoming short-sighted (myopic). It is a concern for many parents whose children have this eye condition that seemingly gets worse every year. However there are ways to slow down this worsening, called myopia control or myopia management. This involves your eye care practitioner prescribing specific spectacle lenses, contact lenses and/or atropine eye drops and monitoring their success over time. Click here to read about why myopia management matters – it’s about long term eye health and quality of life, not just about having a lower prescription in glasses (although that’s a great side effect)!
It’s important to note that there’s nothing currently available which can promise to STOP myopia progression. The current research and available options can work to SLOW DOWN myopia progression – by about a third to a half on average, depending on the option selected and your child’s individual factors.
Contact lenses have the advantage, though, of both correcting the blurred distance vision of myopia and being the most widely available and consistently successful option for also controlling myopia progression.
Which is best?
When your child is myopic, we have to firstly think about correcting their blurred distance vision, which we can do with spectacles or contact lenses. So far, the vast amount of myopia control research indicates that myopia controlling contact lenses offer better effectiveness for slowing down the worsening of childhood myopia than spectacle options (except for one new spectacle lens design on the horizon – more in the blog!). You can read more about contact lens options and the safety of contact lenses in children via the links. If your child (or even you) aren’t quite ready for contact lenses, then the choices are spectacle lens options and atropine eye drops. Atropine eye drops can work about as well as the contact lens options, but can have some side effects and will still require your child to wear spectacles to correct their myopia.
Your eye care practitioner will be the best guide of which option is most suitable for your child, as it can depend on their level of myopia, eye muscle coordination, eye shape and more. It can depend on in which country you live as to which options your eye care practitioner has available. It is also important for your eye care practitioner to understand which option(s) will suit you, your child and your family best, for example whether both your child and your family are ready for the extra commitment of contact lens wear. Finally, it’s important for you to understand the influence of your child’s visual environment (click this link to read more) – outdoor time and screen time – on successfully managing their myopia. There’s lots more reading to do on this website to help you.