Treatment of myopia in childhood
Myopia cannot be reversed or cured, but it can be treated. The goals of treatment are to improve your child’s vision and prevent it from getting worse. This is important for protecting their eye health in the future, even if they still need glasses or contact lenses.
Glasses for myopia can be used all the time or just when they’re needed so your child can see far away. It’s important to choose frames that fit well and that work for your child’s age and activities. For example, if you have a young child, it may help to buy glasses with a strap so they stay on more easily. Or if your child plays sports, getting sports goggles will keep their regular glasses from getting broken. An optician can help you figure out what your child may need.
Contact lenses are an option if your child prefers them. They can be helpful for certain activities too, especially sports. While there’s no age limit for contacts, your child should be able to tolerate eye drops well and practice good hygiene. Contacts need to be cared for on a daily basis to prevent eye infections.
It’s important to always have glasses for backup, even if your child wears contact lenses most of the time. If your child has eye pain or redness while wearing contact lenses, contact your ophthalmologist or optometrist right away.
Treatments to prevent myopia from getting worse
Researchers are studying ways to prevent myopia from worsening in children. These potential treatments include:
Low-dose atropine eye drops
A low dose of the same type of eye drops that are used to dilate the pupils during an eye exam may help slow down myopia in children between 5 and 18 years old.
Specialized contact lenses
In some children, wearing a specialized multifocal contact lens that blurs their side vision may help slow their eye growth and limit myopia.
Another type of contact lens treatment called orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, is worn overnight to flatten the cornea. During the day, the reshaped cornea helps focus light properly on your child’s retina to improve blurry vision. The safety of this treatment is a concern because wearing contact lenses while sleeping increases your child’s risks of eye irritation and infection. It also increases the risk for more severe vision problems.
More time outside
By balancing screen time with outdoor time when possible, you may help limit your child’s myopia and protect their vision as they grow.