Myopia is the term to describe short-sightedness and it can typically occur in children between the ages of 6 to 13 years old.
While there’s no cure for the condition, parents can help to slow down the progression of it by seeking support from eye specialists, like Vision Express, and finding the right lenses for their child’s prescription.
If you’re concerned that your child may be struggling with their sight, we’ve created a guide to help you stay informed about the symptoms and the support available for your child.
So, firstly… What is myopia?
Myopia is the clinical term for short-sightedness. Many cases of short-sightedness in children are picked up in school when teachers notice they may be struggling to read what’s on the board or see what’s happening at the front of class.
At home, you may notice your child rubbing their eyes in discomfort, complaining of headaches or choosing to sit closely to the TV screen.
Typically, myopia affects children between the ages of 6 to 13 years old, but their vision may still continue to worsen until 20, when the eyes stop growing.1
More and more children are suffering from myopia and that is in part due to the rise in a more indoor lifestyle and an increase in screen time.2,3
How can it affect a child’s development?
As 80% of a child’s learning is through their eyes4, short-sightedness can have a big negative impact on development. They may struggle with words on the board or to see a detailed presentation or display
How can parents help?
Myopia untreated will usually get worse. So, it’s vital that you take your child for a sight test.
At Vision Express, children can have an eye test at any age and the tests can be tailored to suit their needs and abilities. It can be a stressful environment but the staff are trained to make it calm, fun and engaging for the child. Plus, eye tests are free for under 16s.
The best lenses for childhood myopia
Essilor® Stellest® lenses are made up of a unique constellation of lenslets. These help to control the growth of the eye and slow down the elongation of the eye, which can be a cause of the short-sightedness.
The lenses also have a Crizal Protection, which is a coating that shields the eye from reflections, scratches, smudges, dust and water and also protects the eyes from UV rays.
Can childhood myopia be reversed?
Currently, there is no way to reverse myopia but the right lenses can help to slow the progression of short-sightedness.
Clinical trials showed that after the first year, 9 out of 10 children saw the same or slower eye growth. On average, the lenses were found to slow down the progression of short sightedness by an average of 67%*.5,6
*Compared to single vision lenses when worn at least 12 hours a day, every day.
Related: How to manage and limit screen time
How else can parents manage their child’s myopia?
As well as ensuring they get their sight checked and wear the relative lenses, parents can also help by encouraging their child to spend time outdoors and setting a limit on screen time and encouraging regular breaks.
You should also ensure your child is getting a good night’s sleep and is well-rested, reducing the risk of their eyes feeling tired and strained.
About Vision Express
After first opening 30 years ago, the leading opticians now has 550 stores across the UK
and Ireland. They’re committed to offering you a personal journey of care with your eyes and making the process as easy as possible. They offer a number of services, including adult eye tests, kids eye tests and contact lens appointments.
About the author
Kat Romero is a writer and journalist with over a decade’s experience in the industry. As a working mum of a toddler, she knows all too well the importance of having your child’s eyesight checked regularly. Away from her desk, Kat can be found consuming far too much coffee and spending her weekends with her toddler and partner - soaking up the sights of London and sampling anything new and exciting that has opened up within walking distance.
1 Hou W, et al. Axial elongation in myopic children and its association with myopia progression in the Correction of Myopia Evaluation Trial (COMET). Eye & Contact Lens. 2018 Jul;44(4):248.
2 Morgan IG, et al. Myopia. The Lancet. 2012;379(9827):1739-48.
3 Harrington SC, Stack J, O'Dwyer VRisk factors associated with myopia in schoolchildren in IrelandBritish Journal of Ophthalmology 2019;103:1803-1809.
4 Polling JR, et al. Myopia progression from wearing first glasses to adult age: the DREAM Study. British Journal of Ophthalmology. 2022;106(6):820-4.
5 Holden BA, et al. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016 May; 123(5):1036-42
6 Bao J, et al. Spectacle lenses with aspherical lenslets for myopia control vs single-vision spectacle lenses: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA ophthalmology. 2022;140(5):472-8.