Check out our round-up of the latest and most effective methods to manage your child’s myopia/short to reduce the amount and risk of deterioration or progression whilst giving them the best vision for school, learning and for play.
We’ve been actively slowing down the deterioration of children who are short-sighted for over 7 years. In addition to our amazing results over this period, we have products and services before they are available elsewhere. We constantly strive to bring you the latest innovations and options for your child to protect their eyes safely and successfully for the future.
The last 10 years have seen a huge rise in the numbers of children becoming short-sighted (myopic) in the UK and around the globe. There are twice as many 18-year-olds who are myopic compared to a decade ago. The last two years of the pandemic have seen this epidemic become accelerated. Myopia can affect the quality of life of a child, their self-esteem and the ability to participate in the regular pursuits that many take for granted such as playing sports or physical activities. However, the biggest problem is that mechanism of action of myopia increases the risk of serious health problems in the eyes in later life. Just one unit of increase in myopia (1 dioptre) will increase the risk of a serious problem by 67%.
There are 3 main ways to manage the rate of progression of myopia:
- Orthokeratology contact lenses (also known as night lenses, orthok and OK lenses) for overnight wear.
- Daily wear contact lenses
- New generation spectacle lenses with a special treatment zone
- There is another way to manage myopia using Atropine drops that also slow down the deterioration. They are widely used in Asia, America Australia but they are not licenced for use in the UK yet. It is possible to be prescribed these (off licence) from some consultant ophthalmologists.
Orthokeratology (Orthok, night lenses, OK lenses)
Ortho-K lenses have been successfully used for myopia management and reducing the progression for over 15 years. They are rigid contact lenses that are worn overnight and gently reshape the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye). This means that when they are removed in the morning, the myopia is neutralised, and your child will have clear vision for the rest of the day. They need to be worn again each night to keep the effect working. One of the most powerful and lucky “side-effects” of this way of correcting the sight is that the rate of change is slowed down by about half. Children don’t need to wear anything else during the day. They can perform activities such as swimming or sports without the same risks as soft lenses or wearing glasses. The main limitations are that the initial fitting and adaptation can take much longer than the other methods and the range of prescriptions that can be fitted isn’t as wide as daily wear contact lenses.
Daily wear soft lenses
These lenses have a special optical treatment zone that successfully reduces the rate of change. The most well-known contact lens for myopia management for children is MiSight from Coopervision which is a dual-focus design. We’re the largest provider of MiSight contact lenses in the UK, however, in 2022 there are now several lens options for management that may have advantages over MiSight for some children.
This includes children who need a stronger power than the range of MiSight or those who have more astigmatism. There is a type of contact lens for myopia management with enhanced optical properties called an Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) lens design such as the NaturalVue or Seed lenses. These have a much larger power range and can treat a significant amount of astigmatism too.
If your child has even higher levels of short sight or astigmatism, don’t worry. In 2023, we can help children who need stronger lenses and many who have been told elsewhere that it’s not possible to help them. We can supply custom-made soft contact lenses or special hybrid lenses such as the ID lenses from Synergeyes. These can correct significantly higher levels of myopia and astigmatism compared to all the other options.
What happens if your child can’t wear or tolerate contact lenses? Even though we have a very high success rate in helping children wear contact lenses (only about 5% can’t manage to wear them), thankfully we now have several options for new generations of spectacle lenses that can slow down the rate of deterioration. We have successfully used the Miyosmart lens from Hoya and Stellest lens from Essilor. Both of which are great for slowing down the rate compared to regular glasses and traditional contact lenses.
All children should be offered myopia management
All children who are short-sighted or myopic, especially those who developed it at a younger age, should be wearing an optical correction that is optimised to manage their myopia and slow down the rate of change. Not only will their vision be well corrected and clear, but you’ll also be protecting their eyes for the future.
Want to know which is best, Orthok or MiSight or Miyosmart?
Check out our upcoming news posts or call us on 02083431122 or email [email protected] for specific information for your child.