If your child has been diagnosed with myopia—also known as nearsightedness—you’re not alone. In fact, children’s eye problems are often unexpected, and parents want to know how they can help their child get the best treatment.
Myopia might not be completely new to parents. Many have myopia themselves, and experts predict myopia will affect nearly 50% of North America’s population by 2030.1 Earlier generations had few options but to watch myopia get worse for themselves or their children. But now there’s evidence that the right myopia treatments can keep children's eyes from getting worse so quickly.
Imagine waking up with half your current myopia prescription. That’s what myopia control can do for your age-appropriate child.*†‡2,3 Here are some things you can do right now to help maintain your child’s eye health and slow the progression of their myopia.
Know the Signs of Myopia
The very first thing you can do for your child’s eyesight is know what to look for. Are they struggling to see the board at school? Do you notice them squinting when looking at objects in the distance? If so, myopia could be the cause. Complaining about blurred vision and headaches is also often an early symptom. That said, your child may have myopia and not have any signs at all.
Myopia generally first occurs in school-age children and progresses until about age 20.4 According to the American Optometric Association, 34% of children ages 12-17 have myopia, due in part to changing lifestyles and less time outdoors.5,6,7
Treating for the Short Term and Long Run
When your child is diagnosed with a medical condition, you want to get treatment right away, not after the condition gets worse. The same goes for nearsightedness in kids.
Since myopia makes faraway objects appear blurry, children may have more difficulty participating in sports, school and other daily activities.8,9 Without myopia management, their worsening myopia progression will lead to dependency on optical corrections like glasses or contact lenses to complete everyday tasks.
But the immediate obstacles pale in comparison to the increasing problems myopia can cause later in life, like glaucoma, retinal detachment or early development of cataracts.10,11,12,13 Early treatment is mission critical: Addressing myopia at the onset can slow its progression and lower a child’s myopia levels later in life.14 That’s why the steps you take today are the most important of them all.
Unfortunately, not all parents are familiar with myopia, let alone how serious it can be. Once myopia gets worse, you cannot go back. 26% of parents of children with myopia don’t know the term,15 but if you’re reading this, you aren’t one of them! Once you better understand the condition, you can arm yourself with knowledge about how crucial it is to act quickly.
Delaying the Onset of Myopia
The good news is, there are proven ways to slow the progression of myopia—in addition to helping your child see clearly. That means you have the power to help ensure myopia isn’t an obstacle in your child’s daily life. Eye care professionals recommend spending more time outdoors,15 reducing screen time, and modifying how close kids are to their screens.
Dr. Justin Kwan, OD, FAAO, Senior Manager of Myopia Management at CooperVision, recommends taking children on errands and to the park to help reduce the risk of developing myopia. Even in that short time, they’ll be outside a little more than they would be otherwise.
When it comes to clearing up blurry vision and controlling your child’s nearsightedness, it’s also important to choose the right products. Early intervention is key here because myopia worsens more quickly in younger children.16 Standard glasses will only correct your child’s vision, not slow the progression of myopia. Early intervention with myopia management disrupts that process, in a good way. That’s why 92% of eye care professionals agree it’s important to address children’s eye conditions and slow myopia progression at an early age—ideally before they turn 10.17
Your Child Has Myopia—Now What?
The first step is to make an appointment with your child’s eye care professional. For every five eye care professionals, four of them worry that pediatric patients will have significant eye health issues as they grow older.17 That’s because children’s myopia worsens as they grow, which can lead to future eye health problems. Even children with fairly low prescriptions have a higher risk of glaucoma and retinal detachment than children without myopia, and that risk increases exponentially as prescriptions get worse.18
Don’t Panic: There are FDA-Approved Myopia Management Tools
As a parent, you need products that easily fit into your child’s life, and most eye care professionals agree that today’s contact lenses can do just that. Until recently, traditional glasses and contact lenses in the U.S. were developed only to correct blurred vision. That all changed with the introduction of MiSight® 1 day, a contact lens that’s clinically proven to slow the progression of myopia in age-appropriate children.19 These daily wear single-use contact lenses are the first and only FDA-approved19 product to slow the progression of myopia in children 8-12 years old at the initiation of treatment. ‡ § | 19
Not surprisingly, 84% of eye care professionals would consider putting children with myopia into contact lenses that can help slow the progression of myopia.20 And on average, they’re comfortable fitting children as young as 9 years old17, which means you can confidently get your child the safe and reliable help they need as soon as possible. Even better, 90% of age-appropriate children say they prefer wearing MiSight® 1 day contact lenses over glasses.21
If you’re unsure whether your child has the skills to use contact lenses, there’s good news there, too: 90% of age-appropriate children are able to apply and remove their MiSight® 1 day contact lenses on their own, with supervision.¶ 22
As children grow older, their prescription often gets worse. But it doesn’t have to. Now you can partner with your eye doctor to help protect your child's vision and eye health for life.