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What is myopia?

Myopia, often called nearsightedness, is commonly understood as the inability to see far away objects clearly without glasses or contact lenses. It is, in fact, much more than that.1Myopia is a chronic, progressive disease where continued eye growth not only worsens distance vision, it also increases future risk of sight-threatening complications.1-4


The exact causes of the increase in myopia amongst recent generations have been unproven. There are a number of risk factors associated with the onset and progression of myopia, including:
  • Age of the child when they develop myopia2
  • Minimal time outdoors (< 2 hrs/day)5
  • Near work for longer duration or at a shorter working distance6,7
  • Myopic parent(s)8

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Myopia is a growing global epidemic17:

Did you know that the population with myopia has nearly doubled over the past 20 years? And that by 2050 nearly half of the world's population will be myopic.9
The prevalence among young adults is reported to be above 80% in many Asian regions,10 and 50% in the U.S. and parts of Europe11,12 And those rates continue to rise.

Myopia can increase the risk of sight-threatening complications14

By 2050, nearly 1 billion people are expected to have high myopia (a prescription of -5D or higher).9
Risk of visual impairment from myopia, especially high myopia, stems from having a longer eye length and increased likelihood of developing myopic macular degeneration.13,14(image shown is a simulation of visual impairment resulting from macular degeneration)

All children should be monitored:

There is no safe level of myopia.1 Research indicates that the earlier a child becomes myopic, the higher the risk of myopia progression2,15 and developing high myopia16
1. Flitcroft DI. The complex interactions of retinal, optical and environmental factors in myopia aetiology. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2012;31(6):622-660.
2. Donovan L, Sankaridurg P, Ho A et al Myopia progression rates in urban children wearing single-vision spectacles. OVS 2012;89(1):27-32.
3. Pärssinen O, Kauppinen M. Risk factors for high myopia: a 22-year follow-up study from childhood to adulthood. Acta Ophthalmologica. 2019;97(5):510-518.
4. Flitcroft DI et al. IMI Defining and classifying myopia: a proposed set of standards for clinical and epidemiologic studies. Investigative ophthalmology and vision science 2019;60M20-30.
5. Wu PC et al. Increased Time Outdoors Is Followed by Reversal of the Long-Term Trend to Reduced Visual Acuity in Taiwan Primary School Students. Ophthalmology. 2020 Feb 8:S0161-6420(20)30139-1.
6. Huang et al. The Association between Near Work Activities and Myopia in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS One 2015;10:e0140419.
7. Wen L et al. Objectively measured near work, outdoor exposure and myopia in children. British Journal of Ophthalmology Published Online First: 19 February 2020. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2019-315258.
8. Tedja MS et al. IMI - Myopia Genetics Report. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2019;60:M89-M105.
9. Holden BA Fricke TR Wilson DA Jong M Naidoo K et al Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 to 2050. Ophthalmol 2016,123(5):1036-1042.
10. Ding, Bo-Yuan, et al. "Myopia among schoolchildren in East Asia and Singapore." Survey of ophthalmology 62.5 (2017): 677-697.
11. Vitale S et al. Prevalence of refractive error in the United States, 1999-2004. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126:1111-9.
12. Williams K et al. Increasing prevalence of myopia in Europe and the impact of education. Ophthalmology. 2015 Jul 1;122(7):1489-97.
13. Tideman JW, Snabel MC, Tedja MS et al. Association of Axial Length With Risk of Uncorrectable Visual Impairment for Europeans With Myopia. JAMA. Ophthalmol. 2016 Dec 1;134(12):1355-1363.
14. Haarman AEG, Enthoven CA, Tideman JWL, et al The Complications of Myopia: A Review and Meta-Analysis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2020 Apr 9;61(4):49.
15. Chua SY et al. Age of Onset of Myopia Predicts Risk of High Myopia in Later Childhood in Myopic Singapore Children. Opthal Physiol Opt 2016;36:388-94.
16. Hu Y, Ding X, Guo X, et al. Association of Age at Myopia Onset with Risk of High Myopia In Adulthood In a 12-Year Follow-up of a Chinese Cohort. JAMA Opthalmol 2020.
17. Morgan IG, French AN, Ashby RS, Guo X, Ding X, He M, Rose KA. The epidemics of myopia: Aetiology and prevention. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2018 Jan;62:134-149.



Measuring and monitoring children's eye health, even from an early age, is highly recommended. For every diopter a child’s myopia can be reduced, their chance of retinal disease decreases by 40%.1 To have the biggest impact on slowing your child’s myopia progression, it is important to act early. A regular annual comprehensive eye exam for your child is highly recommended until they are 18 years-old.2If your child is diagnosed with myopia, there are four common therapies for managing myopia you can consider. The myopia control effect is similar across treatments, so you can focus on identifying the ones that seem to be a good fit for your child and his/her lifestyle.3 It is important that you discuss your child’s myopia and available options with your eye care professional to determine the right treatment.

Orthokeratology Lenses for Myopia Control

Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K, OK-lens, or overnight lens, is a specialty contact lens worn overnight that temporarily reshapes the cornea, allowing clear vision during the day without glasses. Ortho-K is a great option for kids active in athletics and water activities, and it has even shown to subjectively improve perception of appearance and social self-perception versus wearing glasses.4 Because this lens is used overnight at home, parents are able to help with insertion and removal, which makes it a good option for younger kids.

Soft Contact Lenses for Myopia Management

These specialty contact lenses are worn during the day to control myopia progression while providing clear vision. Myopia control soft contact lenses are also a great option for kids active in athletics, in addition to helping subjectively improve perception of appearance and social self-perception versus wearing glasses.5

Myopia Control Spectacle Lenses

These glasses have optics specifically designed to slow myopia progression. Optical designs and myopia control efficacy vary greatly.

Outdoor lifestyle

Beyond therapeutic treatments, spending time outdoors has been proven to delay the onset of myopia in children and potentially slow the progression.7,8 Another great reason to get outside more!

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Young boy of mixed race smiling with excitement.
1. Bullimore MA, Brennan NA. Myopia Control: Why Each Diopter Matters. Optom Vis Sci 2019;96:463-5.
2. American Optometric Association. Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline: Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination. Optometric Clinical Practice. 2020; 2(2). doi: 10.37685/uiwlibraries.2575-7717.2.2.1007.
3. Brennan, N., Toubouti, Y., Cheng, X., & Bullimore, M. (2020). Efficacy in myopia control. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, 100923.
4. Santodomingo-Rubido, Jacinto, et al. Myopia control with orthokeratology contact lenses in Spain: a comparison of vision-related quality-of-life measures between orthokeratology contact lenses and single-vision spectacles. Eye & Contact Lens 39.2 (2013): 153-157.
5. Rah, Marjorie J et al. Vision specific quality of life of pediatric contact lens wearers. Optometry and Vision Science 87.8 (2010): 560-566.
6. Yam, Jason C., et al. Two-year clinical trial of the low-concentration atropine for myopia progression (lamp) study: phase 2 report. Ophthalmology 127.7 (2020): 910-919.
7. Kinoshita, Nozomi et al. efficacy of combined orthokeratology and 0.01% atropine solution for slowing axial elongation in children with myopia: a 2-year randomised trial. Scientific Reports 10.1 (2020): 1-11.
8. He M et al. Effect of time spent outdoors at school on the development of myopia among children in China: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2015;314:1142-8.
9. Wu PC et al. Myopia prevention and outdoor light intensity in a school-based cluster randomized trial. Ophthalmol. 2018;125:1239-50.