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Myopia Control: A Complete Guide for Parents

Written By: Jason Higginbotham
BSc (Hons) MCOptom Prof Cert Glau Prof Cert Med Ret Prof Cert LV FBDO MBCLA

Updated: 8th December 2023
 

Welcome to Myopia Focus' in depth guide to Myopia Control

If you're reading this guide, the chances are you're a parent and you’re trying to make sense of myopia, how it affects your child and what you can do about it. Perhaps you have already heard about myopia control or myopia management, perhaps not, but either way, you're not alone. In fact, Myopia Focus was created for this very reason, to help raise awareness of myopia amongst parents and help them find out more about the myopia treatment options that are available.

This comprehensive guide provides a detailed look into myopia, and myopia control. Feel free to jump to the section that most interests you.

Definition: What is Myopia Control?

Myopia Control, also called 'myopia management', is a series of treatments and strategies designed to slow the progression of myopia, or short-sightedness, in individuals. These methods aim to reduce the elongation of the eyeball and the associated worsening of vision and ultimately, decrease the risk of developing more severe eye-related complications in the future.

Definition

Contents

Part 1: What is myopia management? - Jump to Section

If you're new to myopia control, it helps to understand a bit more about myopia itself, its causes, types of myopia and the resulting problems.

Part 2: What is Myopia Control? - Jump to Section

In part 2, we'll look at a number of clinically proven treatment options. The treatment options we discuss are back by science, clinical studies and expert opinion, not on individual case studies. You'll discover a comprehensive list of all myopia treatment options and can read more about them.

Part 3: Putting it all together - what's the best myopia treatment option for your child? - Jump to Section

Having, explored some of the potential options, we'll take a quick look at some of the things you should consider when thinking of a myopia control treatment plan for your child. Of course, once, you have read this section, we strongly advise that you find a specialist eye care professional near you to help. 

BONUS: Actions you can take now - Jump to Section

Finally, as you'll discover, modern lifestyles are having a big impact on the myopia epidemic. So, we highlight a few simple tips and tricks that you and your child could adopt to slow down their myopia progression.

Part 1

What Is Myopia?

Why Myopia Matters: More Than Just Blurry Distance Vision

Let’s start by quickly defining, ‘Myopia’. Myopia, commonly known as short-sightedness in the UK, and near-sightedness in the US, is the inability to see far away objects clearly, and is a condition that we're seeing more and more in children.

In the UK, 1/3 of the population have myopia and globally 2.6 billion people suffer from the condition with prevalence increasing worldwide. 50% of the world's population is predicted to be myopic by 2050 and myopia has been declared an epidemic by the WHO in some countries. There is growing concern for the increase of myopia in children, with myopia twice as common as in the 1960s. Myopia onset usually occurs between 6 and 13yrs of age; earlier-onset is associated with higher levels of myopia in adult life.

Why is Myopia Important?

​Myopia matters, because it isn't just about blurry distance vision or wearing glasses. It's about the long term health of your child's eyes. When myopia progresses, it can lead to conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, or even retinal detachment later in life. These are serious eye health issues that we aim to prevent through effective myopia control treatments and strategies.

The Two main types of Myopia

As a parent, it is important that you know, there are two main types of myopia, 'refractive myopia' and 'axial myopia'.

 

The eye is a complex optical system and ultimately it is designed for ‘emmetropia’, (a clinical term used by eye care professionals to describe a person with perfect vision, also known as '20/20 sight'), where light from distant objects focuses directly on the retina without any lens adjustment. However, in myopia, this system is disrupted, causing distant objects to appear blurry.

 

Of these two ‘focusing errors’, it is axial myopia which is most common, and unfortunately, also axial myopia that poses the biggest long-term risk.

 

Types of Myopia
Refractive Myopia
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This type occurs when the refractive elements of the eye (the cornea and lens) bend light too strongly. In refractive myopia, either the cornea has too much curvature or the lens is too thick, resulting in light rays being focused in front of the retina instead of directly on it. The primary cause of refractive myopia is often genetic, meaning it's inherited from the parents. Environmental factors, such as excessive close-up work (like reading or screen use), can also contribute to the development and progression of refractive myopia, especially in children and teenagers.

Axial Myopia
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This form of myopia is caused by the elongation of the eyeball. Instead of the eye being a normal shape, in axial myopia, the eyeball grows longer from front to back. This elongation means that light entering the eye is focused before it reaches the retina, leading to blurred distance vision. The causes of axial myopia are multifactorial, including genetic predisposition and environmental influences. Research suggests that lack of outdoor activity and prolonged near-vision tasks (like reading or using digital devices) can significantly contribute to the development of axial myopia in children.

Clinical evidence has shown that a personalised eye care plan can significantly decrease the progression of myopia in children by up to 50%.

Myopia Causes and Signs: What to Look Out For

 

You might wonder, "What causes myopia?" Well, it's a mix of genetics and lifestyle. If you or your partner are shortsighted, there's a higher chance your child might be too. Additionally, this can be compounded by factors like limited outdoor play, excessive reading, close-up work and of course screen time, can contribute to its development. It's a modern-world challenge, with kids spending more time indoors and on screens than ever before.

There's no blame game here. The world is changing, and we're all on it for the ride, but that doesn't make it any less true that our modern lifestyles are a big factor. As a parent you will want to keep an eye out for signs like squinting, sitting too close to the TV, or complaining of headaches – these can be early indicators of myopia. Make sure you speak to their school teacher too. Not being able to see the whiteboard at school, is often a big indicator. You can also take our quick (free) online test to asses your child's risk of developing myopia.

Focussing on High Axial Myopia?

 

​Myopia, isn't great for anyone. Most glasses wearers will agree, it can be a pain, even if some people do manage to pull off 'wearing funky glasses' as part of their identity. For many children and adults, whilst it isn't ideal, being myopic isn't a massive problem either. Unfortunately, for others, it is. Myopia matters, because it isn't just about blurry distance vision or wearing glasses. It's about the health of their eyes.

So, whilst the rise in myopia rates, is alarming, it is really the rise of high axial myopia that needs our attention. That’s why it is important children whose myopia has already progressed to a high level are identified and offered appropriate treatment.

High myopia refers to a severe form of short-sightedness, typically defined when an individual's refractive error reaches -6.00 dioptres or more. Often starting in childhood, it can worsen rapidly, reaching high levels by late teenage years or sometimes even into the twenties. The earlier a child becomes short-sighted, the more likely their vision will deteriorate significantly into adulthood. Some studies, including one by Fromstein et al (2019), highlight that myopia progression can continue well into mid-adulthood. As previously highlighted, genetics play a crucial role in high myopia development, with children of myopic parents being more susceptible. While high myopia itself doesn't directly cause vision loss, it significantly increases the risk of other serious eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and myopic maculopathy, a type of macular degeneration. In simple terms, this is because, as the eyeball elongates, structures of the eye, such as the retina, which lines the inside of the back of the eye, stretch and become thinner.

Axial Myopia
Source: Modified from Global Myopia Symposium 2020 and other publications such as Review of Myopa Management

 

Char Showing Increased risk caused by higher myopia
Risks of High Myopia
Risks of High Myopia
 

Why is high axial myopia a problem?

High myopia, defined as a refractive error of -5.00 diopters or more, can significantly increase the risk of several serious eye conditions in adulthood. These conditions often stem from the structural changes in the eye associated with severe myopic elongation. It's important to note that while these risks are elevated in individuals with high myopia, not everyone adult with high myopia will experience these complications. Here are some of the risks associated with high myopia, along with relevant statistics and information:

Risks of High Myopia
 

Why is high axial myopia a problem?

High myopia, defined as a refractive error of -5.00 diopters or more, can significantly increase the risk of several serious eye conditions in adulthood. These conditions often stem from the structural changes in the eye associated with severe myopic elongation. It's important to note that while these risks are elevated in individuals with high myopia, not everyone adult with high myopia will experience these complications. Here are some of the risks associated with high myopia, along with relevant statistics and information:

Retinal Detachment

Individuals with high myopia are at an increased risk of retinal detachment. Studies suggest that myopic individuals have a 2-6 times higher risk compared to non-myopic individuals. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates from its underlying support tissue, which can lead to permanent vision loss if not promptly treated.

Glaucoma

High myopia increases the risk of developing glaucoma, a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. The risk of developing open-angle glaucoma is about 2 to 3 times higher in highly myopic individuals. Glaucoma can lead to progressive and irreversible vision loss.

Myopic Maculopathy

This condition is one of the leading causes of visual impairment and blindness in people with high myopia. The prevalence of myopic maculopathy in highly myopic eyes is reported to be around 5-11%. Myopic maculopathy includes a range of changes in the macula, the central part of the retina, and can lead to central vision loss.

Cataracts

People with high myopia are also at a higher risk of developing cataracts, especially at an earlier age. Cataracts involve the clouding of the eye's natural lens and can impair vision.

Why haven't I heard about Myopia Control before?

In 2023 Myopia Focus conducted a survey of 210 parents to find out their awareness and understanding of myopia and myopia control. Whilst 97% had heard of "short-sightedness" only 61% had heard of myopia and a tiny 10% had heard about myopia (management) control - so now you know why we started this website! Equally concerning, but not unexpected, is that 65% of parents said that when they found out their child was myopic, they weren't concerned and thought it just meant their child would have to wear glasses. The moral of the story is, that if you are reading this, you're ahead of the curve.

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I know someone who cured their Myopia by...​

As you're researching, the liklihood is, you may come across some websites and 'influencers' who claim that myopia is not a disease, that it can be cured or reversed. That myopia is just a ruse to make you buy glasses and become dependent on your eye care practitioner. Of course, they can tell you just how to do it. All you have to do is sign up for their program.

As much as we would love to have a solution to the myopia problem, like most things in life, it's not quite as easy as that. So, if you do come across these sites, please do think carefully about the information they provide and cross check their claims accordingly.

You may find some of these articles on debunking some Myopia Myths and Claims interesting...

Part 2

What is Myopia Control?

The World of Myopia Control: Options and Effectiveness

Hopefully you read the definition of Myopia Control above, but it's worth revisiting here for those who didn't.

 

Myopia Control, often referred to as myopia management, encompasses a range of treatments and strategies aimed at curbing the progression of myopia, or near-sightedness. The focus of these methods is to limit the elongation of the eyeball, which in turn helps in managing the deterioration of vision often seen in myopia. The ultimate goal of myopia control is to lower the chances of encountering more serious eye-related issues later on. You can watch my video to find out more.

Myopia Control Options & Effectiveness​

Despite some individuals claiming that they have fixed their myopia, unfortunately, for now at least, myopia cannot be reversed or ‘fixed’. Myopia control isn't therefore about curing short-sightedness; it's about managing and slowing down its progression. Imagine myopia as a journey where the path can get increasingly difficult. The goal of myopia control is to make this path smoother, safer, and less steep, keeping the level of eye growth in check so it doesn’t escalate to a point where it poses serious risks to eye health.

Now, let's delve into the world of myopia control and look at the various treatment options out there:

Myopia Control Treatments

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses have been around for a long time. They offer numerous benefits, such as making it easier for people to play sport and therefore get outdoors more to simply making some people feel more comfortable. There are now specialist myopia control contact lenses available.

  • Multifocal Contact Lenses: These are designed with multiple lens powers to correct nearsightedness while simultaneously reducing the eye's focusing effort. Studies have shown that they can slow myopia progression by about 25-50%.

  • MiSight Lenses: These daily disposable soft contact lenses are specifically designed for myopia control and have been shown to reduce myopia progression by about 59% over a 3-year period.

Myopia Control Glasses

A range of glasses are also available. Unlike standard glasses, which simply correct the refractive error, myopia control glasses have been engineered to also deliver myopia control benefits.

  • Progressive Addition Lenses (PALs): These glasses have a gradient of increasing lens power, which aids in near vision tasks. While they're effective for vision correction, their effectiveness in slowing myopia progression is relatively modest compared to other interventions.

  • Bifocal and Trifocal Lenses: These glasses, with distinct zones for different viewing distances, have shown some effectiveness in myopia control, though not as pronounced as contact lenses.

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) Hard Contact Lenses

  • Ortho-K contact lenses (sometimes called ‘night-lenses’) are rigid gas-permeable contact lenses worn overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea. Studies suggest a 40-60% reduction in myopia progression. They are particularly popular for children who prefer not to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day. Interestingly, they can also be worn by adults.

Atropine Eye Drops

  • Low-dose atropine drops (0.01%) are used to slow the progression of myopia. While the exact mechanism is not fully understood, they have been shown to reduce myopia progression by around 50-60%. Atropine treatment is gaining popularity due to its effectiveness and but some side effects can occur. Currently access to atropine drops is heavily dependent on where you live. Accessing it in the UK for example is difficult.

Combination Therapies

  • Combining different myopia management strategies, like Atropine drops with Ortho-K or multifocal contact lenses, is increasingly considered to offer additive effects, potentially enhancing the overall effectiveness of treatment.

Red Light Therapy (RLRL) - The New Kid on the Block

  • Red Light Therapy: This is a very new technique. Whilst it has been adopted in China, in the UK it is only being slowly introduced and is currently being trialled. Red Light Therapy involves exposing the eyes to specific wavelengths of red light, hypothesized to improve mitochondrial function and eye health. While promising, it is still considered to be in the experimental stage, and more research is needed to establish its effectiveness and safety profile.

"Myopia is one of the most prevalent eye conditions in the world, affecting nearly 2.6 billion people globally. Unfortunately, myopia is often seen as a benign condition, and many people are unaware of its long-term consequences, such as an increased risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life. Thus, it is critical that we increase awareness of myopia management strategies to help prevent or slow its progression and reduce the risk of visual impairment."

Mark Bullimore PhD - Internationally renowned scientist, speaker, and educator with over 30 years of experience in the field of myopia management. 

The Joyful Impact of Myopia Control on Daily Life

 

Myopia control isn't just about seeing the world more clearly; it's about embracing life with more joy and confidence! Imagine your child being able to read their favourite books, play video games, or gaze out the window during a road trip with crystal-clear vision. It's all about turning those everyday moments into delightful experiences.

Brighter Days Ahead with Better Vision

With myopia control, your child can step into a world where academic learning becomes easier and more engaging. Picture them confidently reading from the board in class or diving into their homework with ease. This clarity in vision can open doors to better academic performance and a stronger foundation for future success.

Fun and Games, Here We Come!

Myopia control also means your child can jump into sports and outdoor activities without the hurdles of blurry vision or wearing glasses. Whether it’s scoring goals, diving into pools, or simply enjoying a game of tag in the park, clear vision makes every activity more enjoyable and safe. It helps empower them to live life to the fullest, exploring new hobbies and interests with enthusiasm.

A Lifestyle Full of Possibilities

Ultimately, myopia control is about gifting your child with a lifestyle that's active, joyful, and brimming with possibilities. It’s about watching them grow, learn, and play with a sparkle in their eyes and a smile on their face, knowing that the world is theirs to explore, with every detail in perfect clarity.

Part 3

What's the best Myopia Control treatment option?

Selecting the Right Option for Your Child

Choosing the most suitable myopia control option for your child involves considering various factors to ensure the best possible outcome. It's a decision that balances the child's specific needs with what's feasible and practical for your family. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Key Factors to Consider

  1. Age of Your Child: The effectiveness of certain myopia treatments can vary depending on how old your child is. Younger children may respond differently to treatments compared to teenagers.
     

  2. Level of Myopia: The degree of near-sightedness is a crucial factor. Higher levels of myopia might require more aggressive or different management strategies compared to milder cases.
     

  3. Lifestyle Considerations: Think about your child's daily activities, hobbies, and overall lifestyle. Some treatments may fit better with certain lifestyles, offering more convenience and comfort.
     

  4. Budget Constraints: The cost of different myopia management options can vary significantly. It’s important to consider what’s financially feasible for your family in the short and long term.

Myopia Control Effectiveness​ & Duration

It's natural to want to know about the effectiveness of each of these options. In short, and as you can imagine, the effectiveness of these treatments varies based on a multitude of individual factors such as age, the initial degree of myopia, the consistency to which treatment regimes are adhered to, and many more. It's perhaps therefore worth . Early intervention and regular follow-ups with an eye care professional are key to optimising treatment outcomes.

Variability in Effectiveness

  • Depends on Intervention Type: The effectiveness of myopia control can vary significantly depending on the chosen method. Options like orthokeratology, multifocal contact lenses, and atropine eye drops have different rates of success.

  • Importance of Compliance: How closely your child follows the prescribed treatment plan plays a critical role. Regular use of corrective lenses or consistency in applying eye drops, for example, can greatly influence the outcome.

  • Individual Response: Just as every child is unique, so is their response to myopia management. Factors such as the initial degree of myopia, general eye health, and even genetics can affect how well the treatment works.
     

Duration of Myopia treatments

 

When considering myopia control, it's important that you realise from the beginning, that myopia management is a long-term strategy.

  • Typically Until Growth Ceases: Myopia control usually continues until your child stops growing, as myopia often stabilizes once they reach adulthood. This period can vary, but it commonly extends through the teenage years.

  • Some Cases Require Ongoing Treatment: In certain situations, particularly in cases of high myopia or where the risk of progression is significant, ongoing treatment into adulthood may be necessary. Regular eye check-ups will help determine the need for continued management.

Effectiveness
Understanding the Costs of Myopia Control Solutions

Navigating the financial aspects of myopia control solutions is an important part of the decision-making process. The costs can vary widely based on the type of intervention chosen, the duration of treatment and of course where you live. Understanding these costs helps in planning and managing the investment required for your child's vision care.

Variation in Costs

  • Type of Intervention: Different myopia control methods come with varying price tags. For instance, orthokeratology lenses might have a higher initial cost compared to standard multifocal glasses or contact lenses. Similarly, atropine eye drops or specialized myopia control spectacles may have different pricing structures.

  • Duration of Treatment: The length of time your child needs to undergo a particular myopia control treatment also influences the overall cost. Some interventions are short-term solutions, while others, like orthokeratology, might be part of your child’s routine for several years.

Balancing Upfront and Maintenance Costs

 

When considering myopia control, it's important that you realise from the beginning, that myopia management is a long-term strategy.

  • Upfront Costs: Some myopia control solutions require a significant initial investment. This might include the cost of the lenses, frames, or initial supply of medication, along with any specialized eye exams or fitting sessions.

  • Maintenance Costs: Over time, maintenance costs can accumulate. This includes regular replacements of lenses or glasses, follow-up eye exams, and, in some cases, ongoing purchases of medication like atropine drops.

  • Long-term Perspective: When evaluating costs, it's important to consider the long-term benefits and potential savings. Effective myopia control can mean fewer prescription changes and a reduced risk of developing serious eye conditions, which can lead to cost savings over time.

With the costs of myopia control solutions varying, it is important that you develop a good understanding of these expenses in order to make an informed decision. Often, it can be about balancing the immediate financial investment with the long-term health benefits and cost savings for your child's vision. Make sure you discuss the costs with one or more specialist myopia management eye care professionals who can provide more clarity on their pricing structure and the anticipated costs of the different treatment options they offer. This can help you choose a solution that aligns your budget with your child's needs.

Costs

Myopia Focus is campaigning to get the NHS to recognise myopia as an ocular disease and provide better funding for  Myopia Management for Children. Please help us by taking 1 minute to sign the peition. Click here

Are there any known risks or side effects associated to Myopia Control Treatments?

As you consider myopia control treatments for your child, you'll likely want to be aware of any potential risks and side effects. The good news is that for myopia control these are although these are generally mild and rare. 

  • Discomfort and Irritation: Especially with contact lens-based treatments like orthokeratology and multifocal lenses, some children might experience initial discomfort or irritation as they adjust to the lenses.

  • Eye Dryness: Both contact lenses and certain eye drops can lead to dry eyes. This is particularly noticeable in children who spend significant time on digital devices.

  • Infection or Inflammation: Any contact lens use carries a however, it's worth noting that adherence to proper lens care and hygiene can significantly reduce this risk. In the case of atropine eye drops, infection or inflammation is less common but still a potential risk to consider.

  • Allergic Reactions: Some children may have allergic reactions to the materials in contact lenses or to the preservatives in eye drops. This is more likely if there's a history of allergies, such as hay fever.

  • Corneal Abrasion and Ulcers: While rare, improper use of contact lenses can lead to corneal abrasions. In very rare cases, these abrasions can develop into corneal ulcers, especially if lens care guidelines are not meticulously followed.

  • Visual Disturbances: Treatments such as multifocal lenses and orthokeratology might temporarily affect contrast sensitivity or peripheral vision. This usually adjusts over time, but it's something to be aware of, particularly in low-light conditions.

  • Rebound Effect: Particularly relevant to atropine eye drop treatment, there is a possibility of a rebound effect, where myopia progression accelerates once the treatment is stopped abruptly. Gradual cessation is often recommended to mitigate this risk.

  • Reduced Effectiveness Over Time: Some treatments might show a decrease in effectiveness after the initial months, necessitating regular follow-ups and potential adjustments in the treatment plan.

Whilst we have outlined some potential risks here, the best advice will be from your specialist myopia control professional. Regular follow-ups with your child’s optometrist (eye car doctor) are crucial to monitor these risks and adjust treatment accordingly. The ECP  can provide guidance on minimizing these risks, ensuring that the benefits of myopia control treatments are maximized for your child’s long-term eye health.

What do other parents think?

In our 2023 Myopia Focus survey when asked about what influences their choice of myopia control solution, parents highlighted reducing long term risk and the advice of their optometrist as the two main reasons for choosing a particular treatment. 

Bonus

What can you do NOW to slow myopia progression?

20/20/2

The 20/20/2 rule is useful guideline aimed at reducing the risk of myopia in children. Simply the rule suggests that children should spend no more than 20 minutes at a time on near work activities (like reading or using digital devices), followed by a break of 20 seconds, and crucially that they should spend at least 2 hours of outdoor time each day.

Spending time outdoors has been shown to be beneficial in slowing the progression of myopia in children. The increased light exposure outdoors is thought to stimulate the release of dopamine in the retina, which may inhibit excessive eye growth and myopia progression. This rule emphasizes the importance of balancing near work with outdoor activities to promote eye health and prevent or slow down the development of myopia.

The key is that myopia control and management should take a holistic approach. Apart from the therapies prescribed by clinicians, there are many things that you, as a parent, can do to help minimise the causative factors of myopia and reduce the risks to long-term vision. It's important to note that these strategies, are best used to prevent the onset of myopia, rather than slow down myopia once the eye has started to grow. Here are several evidence-based strategies you can consider to help manage your child's myopia:

  • Increase Outdoor Time: Encourage your child to spend more time outdoors. Children who spend more time outside are less likely to develop myopia or may experience slower progression. 

  • Control Near Work: Monitor and limit the time your child spends on near-vision tasks, including reading, using smartphones, tablets, computers, and doing homework. Encourage regular breaks.

  • Limit Screen Time: Actively reduce the amount of time your child spends on digital devices. This not only reduces eye strain but also contributes to better sleep patterns and overall health.

  • If They Use a Smart Phone - Use 'Myopia Reduction' Tools: Some of the latest software releases for Android and iOS have features that can reduce blue light or remind users to take breaks. If your child has their own phone or device, make sure they utilise these tools and technologies to reduce eye strain during screen time. Every little helps!

  • Educate Your Child: Teach your child about the importance of eye health, encouraging proactive measures like taking regular breaks during near work.Proper Lighting: Ensure adequate lighting for your child during near work to minimize eye strain.

  • Balanced Diet and Healthy Lifestyle: Encourage a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and maintain a healthy lifestyle for overall well-being, including eye health.

  • Improve Sleep Patterns: Ensure your child has regular and adequate sleep. Emerging research suggests that better sleep patterns can positively impact eye health and potentially slow the progression of myopia.

  • Find a Specialist: Whilst the body of evidence supporting the need for intervention and it's effectiveness is growing, you may find it strange that, due for a variety of reasons, not all eye care professionals actually specialise in myopia control and management techniques. Whilst ensuring regular eye exams for your child to detect any changes in vision is most critical, you might want to consider looking for an an eye care professional who specialises in myopia control. 

 

These steps, when combined, can contribute to a comprehensive approach to managing myopia in children. While these methods won't stop myopia progression, they certainly fit into the 'every little helps' category and can play an important role in controlling its rate of advancement. What's more the earlier these good habits are adopted - the better. Regular check-ups and professional guidance of course, remain crucial.

Summary

Your Key Takeaways For Myopia Control

​In conclusion, as a parent navigating the world of myopia and understanding myopia control options can be difficult and confusing. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what it is, why it is important and what you can do to support your child in their myopia journey. We know it's a lot to take in, so here are a few key takeaways:

  • Understanding Myopia's Impact: You now know that myopia, commonly referred to as short-sightedness or nearsightedness, isn't just about blurry distance vision. It represents a problem that increases the chances of developing significant eye health issues like glaucoma or problems with the retina in adulthood.

  • Different Types of Myopia: We primarily encounter two types – refractive and axial myopia. While refractive myopia is due to the shape of the cornea or lens, it is axial myopia, which involves the elongation of the eyeball, that is more concerning in the long run.

  • Understanding Influences on Myopia: The interplay of genetics and lifestyle factors, like limited outdoor play and excessive near work, plays a crucial role in myopia development. It's a balance that we, as parents, can help manage. If your myopic (and particularly a high myope), your child will already be at greater risk. Your role is vital in helping managing your child's myopia. Encouraging outdoor activities, balancing near-vision tasks, and ensuring regular eye exams are key steps you can take.

  • Myopia Control: Myopia is progressive, and left uncontrolled, can progress to high myopia. Myopia control is the name given to the use of a number of techniques used to slow down the growth of the eyeball. These range from special contact lenses, like multifocal or MiSight, to Ortho-K (corneal reshaping), and atropine drops. Recently, Red Light Therapy and even dopamine treatments are emerging as a potential treatment options. It's about finding the right fit for your child.

  • Choosing the Right Treatment: Selecting a treatment method is a personal decision, influenced by your child's specific needs, age, lifestyle, and of course, budget considerations. Each child responds differently to treatments, and it's about what works best for them. You will also need to consider the cost implications. Everyones situation is different and it is understandable to be concerned about costs which can vary significantly depending on the treatment plan you choose. At Myopia Focus, we're campaigning to iprove funding for myopia treaments in the UK. Why not SIGN OUR change.org petition?

  • Navigating Risks and Side Effects: While treatments go through rigorous scientific testing, trials and approvals, it's natural to worry about your child's comfort and health and whilst most people experience little to no side effects, some do. Regular check-ins with your eye care professional are therefore essential to monitor and address any concerns.

  • The Importance of Professional Guidance: Doubling down on the point above, consulting with an eye care specialist is key. They can provide personalised advice and help manage the risks associated with myopia control. Trust in their expertise and follow their guidance for the best care of your child’s eyes.​​

Further Reading
Jason Higginbotham - Myopia Focus - Managing Editor_edited.jpg

The Author

Jason, BSc (Hons) MCOptom Prof Cert Glau Prof Cert Med Ret Prof Cert LV FBDO MBCLA is an optometrist and dispensing optician renowned for his education and training services, with over 30 years experience. A former Director of Medical & Education at Birmingham Optical Group, Jason, runs ophthalmic consultancy firm, FYEye Ltd assist clients with training both their associate, clinical and management teams as well as providing CET/CPD content and delivery.

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