Updated: May 3
If your child has myopia the first thing to say is that you are not alone. One 2016 study  revealed that 32% of UK children had myopia. Another study  put the figure lower at 25% but commented that the number of children in the UK who are short-sighted has doubled over the past fifty years. That study also revealed that children in the UK are becoming short-sighted at a younger age than previously thought, with developmental changes seen in primary school.
So, what can parents do if their child has been diagnosed with myopia? Apart from helping your child to understand and come to terms with their short-sightedness, there are a number of measures that can be taken in order to help to reduce the progression of myopia.
First and foremost, it is vital to ensure that your child has corrective glasses or contact lenses. Doing nothing is not an option. Wearing glasses or lenses with the correct prescription for your child’s myopia can help to relieve eye strain and ensure that vision is not blurred; they won't, however, slow the progression of myopia. On the other hand, failing to wear corrective lenses has been shown to accelerate the development of myopia.  So regular eye checks with lenses updated as needed are important steps in the management of your child’s myopia.
Following on from simple corrective lenses, it is also worth exploring the use of myopia therapy glasses. Not only do they correct your child’s vision; but by managing the way in which light falls on the retina, myopia therapy glasses can help to slow down changes in the eye which can exacerbate myopia. And the more that you can slow down changes, the slower that myopia will progress.
Another simple way of helping your child is to encourage them to not only take more time away from screens but also spend that free time outdoors. A 2019 review commented that “There is solid evidence that exposure to brighter light can reduce risk of myopia.”  In fact, time spent outdoors during childhood has been shown not only to help to delay the progression of myopia but also to lower risk of developing myopia in the first place. So, this is also one area in which parents can be proactive, helping not only to stop their child’s myopia from getting worse but also potentially preventing it from developing at an early age.
If you're a parent whose child has been diagnosed with myopia, or if they are struggling with their distance vision, we hope you found MyopiaFocus helpful. Please join our community or sign our petition to get the government and NHS to recognise myopia as an ocular disease/serious ocular condition and fund myopia management for children.