Choosing Myopia Control Contact Lenses: What Parents Need to Know

March 22, 2024

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Is your child’s vision getting worse each year, leaving you feeling helpless and searching for solutions?

Many parents believe that short-sightedness in children is inevitable, but advancements in myopia control contact lenses offer a proactive approach to managing your child’s eye health.

Ignoring the potential of myopia control contact lenses might lead to a rapid progression of your son or daughter’s myopia, increasing the risk of developing serious eye conditions later in life.

My name is Damon Ezekiel, owner and principal optometrist at Ezekiel Eyes in Perth. My fellow optometrist Rhiannon Richer, my team and I are dedicated to helping our patients achieve the best possible health outcomes for their eyes. As the President of the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists, I have special insights into how contact lenses are becoming a powerful tool for combatting myopia in your children.

Schedule your consultation and learn how our tailored solutions can make a difference. Or keep exploring this article to understand the full scope of myopia control and how it transforms lives.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Early Detection and Management: Catching and managing myopia early is crucial for preventing future eye health issues.
  • Myopic Defocus Lenses: Myopia control lenses work by creating a peripheral defocus, signaling the eye to grow in a way that reduces myopia progression, differing from traditional lenses that only correct vision.

Understanding Myopia

Why do some children struggle to see the whiteboard clearly from the back of the classroom, while others don’t? The culprit often is myopia, or nearsightedness, a common condition where distant objects appear blurry. Myopia affects children’s vision by making it difficult for them to see faraway details, a key aspect of everyday learning and activities.

Elongation of the eyeball is the root cause of myopia as it increases the distance between the lens and the retina, resulting in light focusing in front of the retina and blurring distant vision. Myopia control lenses work by creating specific light focus patterns that reduce the stimulus for this elongation.

A six-year study involving over 100 children demonstrated that early intervention with MiSight contact lenses significantly slows myopia progression from ages 8 to 14, with the beneficial effects accumulating over time. This underscores the importance of initiating myopia management early to maximize long-term visual health outcomes.

To learn more about how myopia causes vision problems, and how the progression of the condition can be reduced, watch the following video.

Soft Contact Lenses for Myopia Control in Children

Soft contact lenses, particularly daily disposables, have emerged as a leading solution in the field of myopia control. They offer a convenient, comfortable and proactive approach to managing nearsightedness in children.

Hygiene

The use of daily disposable soft contact lenses for myopia control brings hygiene to the forefront. Every day starts with a fresh, sterile pair, dramatically reducing the risk of eye infections associated with lens wear. This is particularly beneficial for children, who may be less diligent about cleaning reusable lenses. Moreover, the convenience of not having to deal with lens cleaning solutions or storage cases simplifies the routine for both parents and children, encouraging consistent use.

When compared to other types of lenses, such as Ortho-K (orthokeratology) and extended wear contacts, daily disposables stand out for their maintenance-free nature. Ortho-K lenses are designed to be worn overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea, correcting myopia for the following day. Extended wear contacts, on the other hand, can be worn for several days at a time, including while sleeping. Both require a meticulous cleaning regimen to prevent infections, which can be a significant drawback for some users.

Comfort

Unlike Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses, soft contacts are, as their name suggests, softer and more flexible, which makes them a gentle choice for children’s delicate eyes.

The softness of these lenses allows for a shorter adaptation period, meaning kids can get used to wearing them much quicker than the often more rigid and less forgiving RGP lenses. This is a big win for both children and parents, as it reduces the initial discomfort that can sometimes discourage the continued use of contact lenses. Furthermore, soft lenses are less likely to be dislodged from vigorous activities, which is a common scenario in the energetic lifestyle of a child. This aspect alone can make a world of difference in ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience with contact lenses from a young age.

Easy to Insert and Remove

The pliable nature of soft lenses means they conform comfortably to the eye’s surface, making the application process more intuitive and less intimidating for children. There’s less fiddling involved, and the fear of hurting their eyes is greatly reduced. This ease of handling boosts confidence and encourages children to become more independent in managing their vision care needs.

Removing soft lenses is equally straightforward. Their larger size and softer material mean they can be gently pinched and pulled away from the eye with minimal effort. This simplicity contrasts with the sometimes tricky removal process of RGP lenses, which require a firmer grip and more precise technique.

This user-friendly aspect of soft contact lenses not only fosters a positive initial experience with contact lens wear but also supports a long-term commitment to using them. For children, this ease of use can make the journey toward clear, comfortable vision a lot more pleasant and empowering.

 

Myopia control contacts for kids

 

Making the Decision with Professional Guidance

Preparing for your consultation is important. Compile a history of your child’s vision changes, any family history of myopia, and note any specific concerns you’ve observed. These pieces of information will help paint a clearer picture of the situation.

What questions should you ask? Start with the basics: What are the options for myopia control? How do they work, and what can we expect in terms of effectiveness and potential risks? Ask about the differences between daily disposable myopia control contact lenses, orthokeratology, and atropine drops. Understanding the pros and cons of each option will help you make an informed decision.

Remember, this decision is a collaborative effort. Your insights as a parent, combined with professional expertise, ensure that the chosen myopia control strategy is tailored to your child’s unique needs.

Monitoring Myopia Progression and Lens Effectiveness

How can we ensure that the efforts to control your child’s myopia are steering in the right direction? Regular eye exams play a pivotal role in this journey. By measuring the axial length of the eye and performing cycloplegic refractive error tests, we gain precise insights into how the eye is growing and how effectively the myopia is being managed. This detailed approach allows us to catch any subtle changes early, ensuring that the myopia control strategy remains on track.

Assessing the effectiveness of myopia control lenses is a critical part of these exams. It involves looking beyond the immediate improvement in vision and evaluating how well the lenses are slowing the progression of myopia. If the results suggest that the current lenses are not as effective as expected, we can adjust the treatment strategy accordingly. This might involve switching to a different type of myopia control lens or incorporating additional interventions to enhance the outcome.

Conclusion

Concerns around wearability and comfort, especially for younger children, are understandable. Yet, children can be remarkably adaptable. With proper training and oversight, many find wearing contact lenses to be a comfortable, even preferable, alternative to glasses. This adaptability extends to their ability to handle and care for their lenses, challenging the myth that young wearers are more prone to mishandling or neglecting lens care.

Failing to address myopia in its early stages can mean missing the critical window for effective intervention, potentially leading to a more complicated and costly management process later on.

So be proactive with your child’s vision and eye health. Make the decision to talk with myself (Damon) or Rhiannon and let’s plan a myopia control strategy that is suitable for your child.

Scheduling an appointment with us is straightforward. Just give us a call at (08) 9386 3620, or if you prefer, click the “Book an Appointment” button on our website.

optometrist-damon-ezekiel

In addition to owning and managing Ezekiel Eyes, Damon is a contact lens consultant to various research organisations. He regularly lectures and conducts workshops in contact lens practice throughout Australia, Asia and the United States. Damon graduated from the University of NSW with a Bachelor of Optometry in 1989. He is now married with two children and enjoys running, hockey, swimming, piano, travelling and trekking.

Damon’s professional associations include:
President of the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists
Practising Fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society
Fellow of the Cornea & Contact Lens Society of Australia
Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry
Member of Optometry Australia
Member of the Orthokeratology Society of Australia
Member of Alcon Australia advisory panel