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Myopia – Risks and Management

What is myopia?

Myopia is a very common eye health condition. Often called “short-sighted,” a child with myopia can see clearly up close but has blurry vision when looking at objects in the distance—like a smartboard.

Myopia happens when the normal eye grows too long from front to back. 

Light rays have trouble reaching the right spot on the back of the eye (the retina) to achieve clear distance vision.

It’s more than just stronger, thicker glasses. Myopia in kids can get worse as they grow, increasing the risk of serious eye conditions.

What causes myopia?

  • Myopia can be inherited from one generation to the next. If mum or dad wears glasses, chances are their child will too.1
  • Lack of time spent outdoors in the sun has been linked to the development of myopia.1, 2,3
  • Spending more time reading close-up on digital devices may also contribute to a child’s myopia.2,3,4
  • And there’s the routine correction of myopia – resulting in Peripheral Hyperopia – that has also been shown to signal the eye to grow, thus causing myopia.2

What are the eye health risks?

The number of kids with myopia is growing at an alarming rate around the world.  The younger your child develops myopia, the greater the risk of serious eye conditions like retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and even blindness.5

Beyond the eye health risks, myopia can negatively impact your child’s performance in school and other activities.

There is NO SAFE level of myopia.5  Practitioners and researchers do not know which child will progress to what degree.  Each prescription (diopter) increase can have a significant impact and the impact can occur anywhere – in low to high myopia ranges.6   Earlier intervention may be ideal, but any intervention is a potential benefit.   If we can reduce the level of progression, data suggests that the impact could be significant:

  • 20% reduction in retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma, and overall visual impairment.6
  • 40% reduction in macular degeneration. 6

This means – ½ to nearly 1 year of visual impairment could be saved. 6

What are some evidence-based ways to slow down myopia progression?

Your eye care practitioners may be able to help slow or control your child’s myopia with specially designed glasses, eye drops, or contact lenses. All of these solutions have been shown to have various levels of effectiveness.  Talk to your eye care practitioner for more information like how each works, effectiveness rates, benefits, and limitations. 

  • Specially Designed Eyeglasses
  • Pharmaceutical Eye Drops (Atropine)
  • Specialty Contact Lenses
    • Hard contact lenses (or Orthokeratology or Ortho-K lenses) that physically re-shape the cornea at night during sleep.
    • Soft multifocal contact lenses like NaturalVue® Multifocal 1 Day Contact Lenses. 
      • NaturalVue Multifocal 1 Day soft contact lenses, by comparison, utilize patented optics to move the light rays inside the retina so that the signal for the eye to grow and elongate is reduced (addressing Peripheral Hyperopia). 16,17
      • These lenses provide excellent vision by day.18
      • These lenses are daily disposables, which means comfortable daily wear with no cleaning or maintenance.
      • Clinically effective for myopia progression control.19  
        • 98% of children showed a decrease in myopia progression19
        • 81% of children’s progression stopped completely, with some showing reversal. 19
        • 0.82D average dioptric decrease per year in children ages 6-1919*

Have not had a comprehensive eye exam in the past year?


  1. Gifford P, & Gifford KL. (2016). The Future of Myopia Control Contact Lenses. Optometry and Vision Science. 93(4): 336-343.
  2. Enthoven CA, Tideman JWL, Polling JR, Yang-Huang J, Raat H, Klaver CCW. The impact of computer use on myopia development in childhood: The Generation R study. (2020) Mar;132:105988. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.105988. Epub 2020 Jan 15.
  3. Grzybowski A, Kanclerz P, Tsubota K, Lanca C, Saw SM. BMC Ophthalmology (2020) Jan 14;20(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s12886-019-1220-0.
  4. Huang HM, Chang DS, Wu PC. The Association Between Near Work Activities and Myopia in Children – a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE. 2015 Oct; 10(10): e0140419
  5. Flitcroft D. The complex interactions of retinal, optical and environmental factors in myopia aetiology. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research. 2012;31(6):622-660.
  6. Bullimore MA, Brennan NA. Myopia Control: Why Each Diopter Matters. Optom Vis Sci 2019 Jun.96(6):463-465
  7. Huang J, et al. (2016). Efficacy Comparison of 16 Interventions for Myopia Control in Children. Ophthalmology. 123(4): 697-708.
  8. Cooper J, Schulman E, Jamal N. (2012). Current Status on the Development and Treatment of Myopia. Optometry. 83(5):179-199.
  9. Cope j., et al. (2016). Acanthamoeba Keratitis among Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lens Wearers in the United States, 2005 through 2011. Ophthalmology. 123(7): 1435-1441.
  10. Nichols, J. (2017). Contact Lenses 2016. Contact Lens Spectrum. 32(January 2017): 22-29.
  11. Chalmers RL, Keay L, McNally J, & Kern J. (2012). Multicenter Case-Control Study of the Role of Lens Materials and Care Products on the Development of Corneal Infiltrates. Optometry and Vision Science. 89(3): 316-325.
  12. Tan D, Tay SA, Loh, K, & Chia A. (2016). Topical Atropine in the Control of Myopia.  Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology. 5(6): 424-428.
  13. Liu Y M, & Xie P. (2016). The Safety of Orthokeratology—A Systematic Review. Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice. 42(1): 35-42.
  14. Gifford P, & Gifford KL. (2016). The Future of Myopia Control Contact Lenses. Optometry and Vision Science. 93(4): 336-343. 
  15. Lam CSY, Tang WC, Tse DY, et al. Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segments (DIMS) spectacle lenses slow myopia progression: a 2-year randomized clinical trial. Br J Ophthalmol. 2019 May29, e pub.
  16. Dillehay S, Woods J, Situ P, Payor R, Griffin R, Tyson M, Jones L. (2014). Comparison of Three Power Levels of a Novel Soft Contact Lens Optical Design to Reduce Suspected Risk Factors for the Progression of Juvenile Onset Myopia. ARVO Poster, Poster #A00863637; Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 55(13). 3637
  17. Payor R, Woods J, Situ P, Dillehay S, Griffin R, Tyson M, & Jones L. (2014) Feasibility Testing of a Novel SCL Optical Design to Reduce Suspected Risk Factors for the Progression of JuvenileOnset Myopia. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 55(13). 3638. Retrieved from http://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2269075.
  18. VTI data on file. N=59. Data assessed after 1 week of wear.
  19. Cooper J, O’Connor B, Watanabe R, Fuerst R, Berger S, Eisenberg N, Dillehay SM. Case series analysis of myopic progression control with a unique extended depth of focus multifocal contact lens. Eye & Contact Lens. 2018;4(5):e16-e24.

*Both eyes combined; On an annualised basis in children 6-19. Retrospective analysis of 32 children, ages 6 to 19, across 10 different practice locations who wore the lenses for 6-25 months.

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