We know parents have a lot of questions about their child’s eye health. As premium eye care experts, we often receive questions such as: Why is my child rubbing his/her eyes constantly? Can my child’s headaches be a sign of an eye condition? And if the child already has an eye condition, When can my child start wearing contact lenses?
Today we’re tackling a big one: How can I manage my child’s myopia?
Myopia, in short, is nearsightedness. More specifically, it’s a very common eye condition where you cannot clearly see objects that are far away.
Myopia affects an estimated 5% of preschool-aged children, about 9% of school-aged children, and 30% of adolescents.
And, understandably, parents are concerned about how they can help lessen the drawbacks of living with myopia for their children.
But don’t fear. There are ways to manage your child’s myopia and slow its progression.
Right now, you may be wondering whether or not your child has myopia for certain. So, before we dive in, let’s look at the warning signs of myopia to help you determine whether you should seek myopia treatment for your child.
What are the warning signs of myopia?
It should be noted that nearsightedness most often begins in children from age 6 to 13. While it can also happen in adults, the earlier it is caught, the better the chances are of slowing its progression.
Warning signs of myopia in your child can include:
- Frequent headaches
- Rubbing the eyes often
- Difficulty reading the chalkboard or whiteboard in school
- Holding devices too close to the face or sitting too close to the TV or computer screen
While these aren’t the only warning signs, they are the most common.
Nearsightedness can make it harder for children to participate in school and extracurricular activities. But if you’ve found that your child is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, remember there are ways to manage childhood myopia.
Let’s take a look at a new and exciting development in children’s eye care.
Meet the FDA-approved MiSight contact lenses.
CooperVision’s MiSight 1 day contact lenses are daily disposable contact lenses proven to slow the progression of myopia. They were specifically designed for controlling myopia in children aged 8-12.
These soft contact lenses make it easy for your child to flex and fit them into their eyes. Plus, their disposable nature eliminates the need for sanitizing them each day. Instead, they can toss them out before bed and use a brand-new pair in the morning.
How do MiSight lenses work?
The eyes of a child with myopia elongate over time. This change in shape makes it difficult to see distant objects clearly. Instead, these objects appear blurry.
If it’s not addressed, myopia can worsen as your child gets older.
As your child wears MiSight contact lenses, the refractive error is corrected—similar to standard corrective contact lenses.
These lenses focus peripheral light in front of the retina, rather than behind it. This is believed to reduce the stimuli causing the eye to elongate.
In other words, MiSight effectively slows the progression of myopia and helps to preserve your child’s vision and eye health.
According to MiSight’s website, there was an average of 59% reduction in myopia progression over a 3-year period using MiSight lenses.
But are there any risks associated with MiSight lenses?
MiSight lenses are no better or worse than the risks of any other contact lens. Contact lenses pose slight risks such as abrasions or infections to all wearers.
The CDC notes that 45 million Americans wear contact lenses. Of those 45 million, 40%-90% don’t properly follow the care instructions for their contact lenses.
The CDC states that keratitis—a painful eye infection often linked to improper contact lens use—leads to 1 million doctor and hospital visits annually, at a cost of $175 million to the US healthcare system.
With good hygiene and proper lens care, there is little to no risk of serious eye infections.
Luckily, MiSight lenses are easy to care for since they are a daily disposable lens. One hundred percent of age-appropriate children said they preferred wearing their MiSight 1-day contact lenses over wearing their glasses. In fact, children as young as 8 years were able to handle their lenses confidently soon after the initial fitting.
All of the risks associated with MiSight contact lenses can be reviewed in MiSight’s Patient Information Booklet.
How does MiSight compare to Orthokeratology?
MiSight isn’t the only way to manage childhood myopia. Orthokeratology (colloquially, Ortho K), for example, is another effective treatment.
Ortho K is another type of contact lens that focuses peripheral light in front of the retina, rather than behind it, in an effort to reduce the stimuli causing the eye to elongate.
But unlike MiSight, Ortho K involves wearing contact lenses overnight and removing them in the morning. Meaning they treat the vision at night without the need for contact lenses during the day.
Because Ortho K is an overnight contact lens, there is a higher risk of infection. But similar to MiSight lenses, with good hygiene and proper lens care, the actual risk is very low. It’s estimated that about 13 out of 10,000 wearers per year experience an infection.
Does insurance cover MiSight contact lenses?
Vision plans allow for discounted rates of eye care visits, prescriptions, and procedures. Therefore, you can use your vision plan to pay for at least a portion of MiSight lenses. The exact cost of MiSight contact lenses with your specific vision plan can be discussed with your eye doctor or vision plan specialist.
Schedule an appointment with our team to learn more.
Start managing your child’s myopia today.
Our eyes are not to be taken for granted. You should consult your eye doctor if your child hasn’t had an eye exam in two years or is showing signs of nearsightedness.
Monocle’s services include:
- Myopia Control
- Eye Exams
- Contact Lens Fittings
- Lasik and Cataract Co-management
- Pediatric Eye Exam
- Eye Disease Management
The Monocle Premier Eye Care team offers years of experience and a true commitment to providing your family with excellent care. We offer patient-focused, friendly service to children of all ages.
Your satisfaction is our top priority. We take as much time as is necessary to have conversations about the health of your child’s eyes, their vision, and anything else with a focus on optimizing their well-being.
Click here to schedule your child’s next eye exam and see if MiSight lenses are the right fit for them.