Myopia, commonly known as short-sightedness, is becoming more and more prevalent, particularly in children. Studies show that myopia cases in children have more than doubled since the 1960s and they are set to keep rising.
About myopia in children
The rising prevalence of myopia is often down to genes – with one myopic parent, a child is 3 times more likely to be myopic, and if both parents are myopic the chances rise to 7 times more likely. Children are most likely to develop it between the ages of 6 and 13, and nearly 1 in 5 UK teenagers are now myopic.
The younger a child is when they develop myopia, the faster it will progress. This is because their eyes grow at a faster rate and means they will need a higher strength prescription as they get older. It is thought that the amount of time children spend in front of screens at close range is also another reason why myopia is becoming so prevalent.
Risks of high myopia
Needing to wear glasses or contact lenses may not sound so bad, but myopia comes with other risks as your child ages. High myopia, which will limit the types of glasses or contact lenses that can be worn, is a risk they will have to contend with if myopia is not treated early. People with myopia are also at higher risk of developing eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachments later on in life.
Childhood myopia treatment
Methods have been developed to help slow the progression of myopia in children, thus protecting their future eye health and vision. We offer two types of contact lenses that are designed to treat myopia.
Ortho K lenses
Also known as Orthokeratology treatment, Ortho K lenses are designed to be worn overnight. They gently work to correct your child’s vision while they sleep, so they won’t need to wear glasses or regular lenses during the day. They have also been shown to slow down the progression of myopia.
With our corneal topographer to assist with complex lens fittings, we can map the cornea to take specific measurements so you can have customised lenses made. These lenses are safe to use for children as young as 8, as they are only inserted, worn, and removed at home under parental supervision. The corrective effects of Ortho K are also completed reversible – if your child decides they want to stop wearing the lenses, their prescription will revert to what it was originally within a few days.
MiSight® 1 day soft contact lenses are proven to significantly slow myopia progression and children aged 8 and up, with many preferring to wear them over glasses. We find that children are generally very adaptable and learn quickly, embracing the responsibility that comes with wearing lenses, so it doesn’t take them long to get used to them.
We provide bespoke fitting appointments to discuss your child’s needs, lifestyle and suitability for lenses, as well as instructions on using and caring for lenses. All children will be seen for regular after care appointments following the initial consultation and fitting, to ensure their vision and eye health remains in the best shape and that they are happy with their lenses.