When a parent learns their child has been diagnosed with myopia, it can prompt some questions. What’s important to remember is that for every child who receives a myopia diagnosis, there’s a pathway to successful myopia management. For parents with myopia, this may include a different treatment approach than the one they pursued or was initially offered to them as children. While the journey may vary depending on how a child’s myopia worsens, families often follow a similar path along the way. To help parents visualize where they are in the journey and what’s ahead, here’s a summary of what they can expect.
Since myopia can have a genetic component, many parents of children with myopia are already aware of the condition and are on the lookout for its onset. Parents who have experienced myopia themselves may know the signs that can lead to early detection. Of course, many parents may not realize their child is experiencing changes in their vision. For those parents who aren’t familiar with myopia, gaining awareness can arm them with knowledge, and in turn, help them support their child. One of the main goals of this blog is to help parents understand what myopia is and why it requires timely intervention to provide immediate vision correction and minimize the risk of long-term eye health complications associated with myopic progression. Any parent reading this article has made it this far in the journey, which is a positive sign!
Even attentive parents won’t always know when their child experiences blurry vision. Kids have a natural way of adapting to their circumstances, so they won’t often know or verbalize if objects are blurry at distance. A sudden change in the classroom, such as not being able to read the writing on whiteboards, is a common indication a child may have myopia. The best way to know if a child has changes in their vision is through a comprehensive eye exam with their eye doctor.
Diagnosis and treatment:
Parents who suspect their child might have nearsightedness should contact their eye doctor to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, regardless of whether or not their child is due for their annual checkup. During the exam, the doctor will take a careful history, which may include asking about the parents' vision and vision history. The doctor will also complete all the appropriate elements of the exam to arrive at a diagnosis. If the child needs myopia management treatment, those options will be shared at that time. Parents who don’t have an eye doctor for their child should consider one whose practice specializes in myopia management. CooperVision’s MiSight® doctor locator can help you find an eye doctor certified to prescribe MiSight® 1 day lenses, the first and only FDA-approved* soft contact lenses proven to slow the progression of myopia in children aged 8-12 at the initiation of treatment.*†1
Once the parent, child and doctor agree upon the most appropriate myopia treatment plan, it’s important to help support the child as they incorporate certain changes into their lifestyle. For instance, limiting the amount of near work a child does each day could help them slow progression.2 Encouraging more time spent outdoors is another way the child might help slow eye elongation that causes myopia.3 If the child’s treatment plan includes contact lens wear, providing them with insertion and removal instructions can help them quickly get comfortable with a new daily routine.^4
Long-term follow up:
Once a child is diagnosed with myopia, following a treatment plan can help set them up for a lifetime of healthy vision. A regular schedule of exams with an eye care professional is an essential part of protecting a child’s vision into adulthood. This is particularly important for those with myopia, since they are more prone to a variety of eye-health complications later in life, including glaucoma, myopic maculopathy, and retinal detachment.5
A bright future:
Parents may have questions following their child’s myopia diagnosis. Eye care professionals can provide answers, from treatment options to lifestyle modifications that can help slow progression. Wherever a child’s myopia management journey takes them, there are numerous resources to empower their parents with knowledge and help the child protect their vision and eye health both now and in the future.