Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, causes blurred vision for distance objects, and as the myopia increases, can cause blurred vision, even at arm's length.
It typically starts before the age of 10 and then can progress and get worse every few months. It is due to the eyes growing too quickly and too long for the normal rate of eye growth. Usually, in children, eyes are meant to grow steadily until the teenage years and then stabilises. In myopia, though, the eyes grow too quickly leading to rapid and continual deterioration of vision and continued eye growth through the teenage years and even in early adulthood.This ongoing deterioration is called myopia progression.
Myopia progression brings with it:
'Myopia control' has become the increasingly adopted term to describe the use of treatments aimed to slow progression of myopia. These treatments include special types of spectacle lenses (glasses), soft contact lenses, ortho-k and atropine eye drops. Myopia control is particularly important for children, because this is the stage in life when myopia is most likely to progress or worsen quickly.
Myopia control is also important in teenagers as their vision can still be worsening, albeit at a slower rate than in younger children. Around half of teenagers reach stability of their myopia progression around age 16, but this means half are still progressing, so ideally myopia control treatment should continue into early adulthood.
Myopia control or myopia management are terms used interchangeably to describe the extra clinical care required for children and adults with myopia. Generally, myopia control means slowing down myopia progression with spectacle, contact lenses. In some countries there are also eye drop treatments but these are not yet licensed in the UK.
Myopia control treatments have been mostly researched in children from around age 6 through to 16. There is less evidence for effective treatments for kids younger than this, or for teens and young adults older than this.
Children aged 6-10 years tend to show the most rapid progression, or worsening, of their myopia. This means it is crucial to start a myopia control treatment as soon as possible.
Here at Ellis Bass Optometrists we offer various forms of Myopia Control:
It’s important to see myopia for what it really is – a health condition of the eyes which increases risk of vision problems and eye diseases. It’s not just about a pair of glasses, and it can’t just be ‘fixed’ with laser surgery because once the eye grows too long, this can't be reversed and the eye health risk will always be a concern.
The number of children and adults with myopia is increasing around the world. Myopia is a lifelong condition and increases risk of potentially sight threatening conditions in later life, leading the World Health Organization to classify myopia as a global health concern.
Myopic macular degeneration, an eye disease which affects central vision, is already the leading cause of vision impairment in working-aged adults in China and Japan, where levels of myopia are very high
Based on current research evidence, many of these options are similarly effective. These are the new design 'lenslet' spectacle lenses, myopia controlling soft contact lenses and night lenses ( ortho-k) . All of these options have been shown to slow myopia progression in children and teenagers by at least half, compared to kids wearing single vision spectacle or contact lenses (which is considered a non-treatment).
As described above, these treatments have all been researched in kids aged from around 6 to 8 through to 14 to 16 years of age, but there are less studies including children younger or teenagers older than this. If your child falls outside of these age ranges as described by the scientific evidence, the treatment may still work for them, but the expectations for treatment may need to be adjusted.
Your child's age can also factor into suitability of specific treatments. For example, younger children may find handling contact lenses more challenging, although they can typically handle them well from age 6-8.
The best option for your child will depend on many factors, as described above. Sometimes there may be quite a few options which could suit a particular child or teenager. We are more than happy to answer your questions regrading suitable option of myopia control for your child.
Please contact us at if you cannot find an answer to your question.
Myopia control treatments have been mostly researched in children from around age 6 through to 16. There is less evidence for effective treatments for kids younger than this, or for teens and young adults older than this
Someone with myopia has to wear glasses or contact lenses to correct their blurred distance vision. However if you have lower myopia, you’re more functional in the mornings before you put your glasses or contact lenses on; you can cope a little better without them rather than being disabled without them.
With myopia control, children and teenagers will undergo less frequent changes in their prescription. With vision being more stable and deteriorating less between eye examinations, children and teenagers will have better vision for school, sport and other daily activities.
Research has shown that more myopia leads to higher lifelong risks of eye diseases like cataract, retinal detachment and macular degeneration. Even low levels of myopia can increase the risk of eye diseases compared to someone who doesn't have myopia.Higher levels of myopia also increase the risk of suffering vision impairment in a person's lifetime.
Each additional diopter of myopia (-1.00D or 4 steps of power) can affect vision-related quality of life and increases the risk of eye diseases occurring across a person's lifetime.
Myopia in children and teens may just seem like it's just about needing a pair of glasses. However, as childhood myopia worsens, the eye is growing at an accelerated rate. The eyes are meant to grow in childhood, at a regular rate up until age 10 to 12. However if they grow too quickly or don’t stop at age 10 to 12, then a child becomes myopic.
This excessive growth of the eye stretches the retina – the light sensitive layer lining the back of the eye – and the stretching increases risk of eye diseases and vision impairment occurring across your child’s lifetime.
Myopia control is about slowing down this excessive eye growth, ideally to the normal rate expected in childhood. Even at levels of myopia traditionally thought of as quite ‘low’, there are increased risks of eye diseases compared to someone who is not myopic
Laser eye surgery doesn't 'fix' myopia. It can fix the blurred vision from myopia but doesn't fix the excessive eye length which brings with it increased eye health risks in myopia. Even after an adult has laser surgery for myopia, their eye health will still be at increased risk from this excessive eye length, and require ongoing monitoring.
There is much research showing that a child or teenager's visual environment can increase their risk of myopia onset and progression. The visual environment includes considering the following factors:
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