Myopia, or nearsightedness, worsens with time, putting your child’s vision at risk. Thankfully, your eye doctor has many treatments available to protect their sight. It’s important to book regular eye exams to help identify vision-related problems in your child as soon as possible.
Many ways to manage progressive myopia exist, including:
- Regular eye exams
- Multifocal contacts
- Specialized glasses
- Orthokeratology lenses
- Repeated low-level red-light therapy
- Atropine eye drops
- Visual hygiene
What is Progressive Myopia?
Myopia is a refractive error that can progress with time, worsening as your child grows. While myopia stabilizes eventually, your child’s vision may progress for years if left untreated. It’s essential to watch for symptoms of myopia in your child—they may not assume they have a vision problem.
Myopia symptoms in children include:
- Eye rubbing
- The need to squint to see clearly
- Complaints about blurry vision
When myopia becomes more severe, it’s known as high myopia. Having high myopia means that someone has significantly blurry vision. Additionally, this condition increases the risk of several eye conditions, including:
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia occurs due to eye shape—your child’s eyes may be too long, or the cornea has a steep curvature. This development causes light to bend incorrectly as it enters the eye, landing in front of the retina instead of directly onto it.
Besides eye shape, several factors can influence myopia development, including:
7 Ways to Manage Progressive Myopia
Your eye doctor has many treatments available to control myopia progression. There isn’t an ideal solution to myopia—each patient is different and may have specific treatment needs. When addressing myopia, your optometrist must correct vision and control myopic progression.
Your eye doctor has 7 ways to help manage progressive myopia.
#1: Regular Eye Exams
Regular eye exams won’t directly treat myopia progression, but they can help safeguard your child’s vision. Your eye doctor can test your child’s vision and monitor myopia progression. They look at and assess the eye to check if vision has worsened and measure axial length.
Axial length is the distance between the front and back of the eye. The eye of someone with myopia tends to be longer, resulting in increased axial length. Measuring axial length can help your eye doctor determine treatment effectiveness.
#2: Multifocal Contact Lenses
Multifocal contact lenses help correct your child’s vision and slow myopic progression. Lenses like MiSight contacts have unique designs that help slow axial growth.
MiSight lenses have a lens center that focuses light correctly, helping your child see clearly. The alternating rings surrounding the lens center redirect peripheral light entering the eye. Redirecting this light can help slow myopia progression.
#3: Myopia Spectacles
While single-vision lenses cannot prevent myopia progression, specially designed-glasses can. These glasses have a similar design to multifocal contact lenses for myopia—there is a central zone in the lens that helps your child see more clearly and an outer area that refocuses incoming light.
Studies have found that children wearing myopia-control glasses have significantly reduced myopia progression over 2 years compared to single-vision lenses.
#4: Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)
Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is a treatment designed to control and correct myopia, helping your child see clearly and slow myopic progression.
Ortho-k lenses gently reshape the cornea as your child sleeps. They wake up with clear vision in the morning without needing glasses. A 2017 study found that ortho-k lenses helped slow myopia progression over 12 years.
#5: Repeated Low-Level Red-Light Therapy (RLRL)
Repeated low-level red-light therapy is a newer treatment for myopia control. It involves exposing the eye to low-intensity red light at specific wavelengths. RLRL slows myopic progression by addressing eye growth and reducing axial elongation.
A 2022 study on RLRL found that this treatment can slow myopia progression with low risks. It is important to note that studies for RLRL are ongoing. Safety studies are being conducted as many of the red light devices are using red lasers (not recommended), rather than red LED.
#6: Atropine Eye Drops
Atropine eye drops can help control myopia progression. These eye drops help relax the focusing mechanisms in your child’s eye. Relaxing the eye helps slow myopia progression.
A 2023 study on atropine eye drops found they helped slow myopia progression in children aged 4 to 9. A 2016 review suggests that low doses of atropine eye drops can slow myopia progression with limited side effects—which can help children better tolerate treatment.
Atropine eye drops can help control myopia progression, but your child will still require corrective lenses to see.
#7: Visual Hygiene
Visual hygiene isn’t the same as eating a balanced diet—it means taking care of your child’s eyes to protect their eye health and vision. Too much screen time can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, such as headaches, dry eyes, and blurry vision.
Help care for your child’s vision by teaching them the 20-20-20 rule. Have them take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something at least 20 feet away to rest their eyes.
Protect Your Child’s Vision
Your eye doctor is here to care for your child’s eye health and vision, helping slow myopic progression. While each patient is different, your optometrist has many treatments available to address your child’s vision concerns. Contact Golden Vision Optometry if your child has myopia symptoms.