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Myopia In Children: Is There a Cure for Short-sightedness?

Updated: Feb 9

Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of your child. You want your child to thrive, and their eyesight is often the key to that. You may be short-sighted yourself and concerned you've passed it on, or have noticed your child struggling to see clearly at a distance. Your child may have myopia (short-sightedness).

Being able to have your child’s myopia diagnosed early not only corrects their vision for now, but can help slow the progression and preserve their vision and eye health for the future.

What is Myopia?

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is the inability to see distant objects clearly. The eyes of a child with myopia grow more than they should - focusing the image in front of the retina, instead of directly on the retina, resulting in blurry vision. If untreated, the eye becomes weaker and vision often gets worse as the child grows older.

Is it common?


  • Myopia affects millions of children and adults worldwide.

  • Myopia affects 1 in 3 people in the UK, expecting to rise to 1 in 2 by 2050.

  • Myopia affects up to 40% of people by age 17.

Courtesy of the Brien Holden Vision Institute

Risk Factors

  • Genetics. Myopia tends to run in families. If you are short-sighted, there is a greater chance your child will be as well. The risk is higher if both parents are myopic.

  • Prolonged close-up activities. Prolonged reading or other close-up activities are associated with an increased risk of myopia.

  • Screen time. Studies have shown that children who use computers or smart devices for long periods have a greater risk of developing myopia.

  • Environmental conditions. Some studies suggest that a lack of time spent outdoors can increase the risk of short-sightedness.

Signs and symptoms

  • Blurry distance vision/screwing eyes up to try and see.

  • Headaches.

  • Sitting close to the TV or computer screen.

  • Holding books/phone close to the eyes.


  • Poor school experiences. Children with myopia can experience delays in reading or other academic skills, difficulty with social interactions, and poor self-esteem.

  • Eyestrain. Uncorrected myopia can cause persistent eyestrain and headaches.

  • Serious eye problems. Severe myopia increases the risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts and other serious eye conditions.

The good news is that with regular eye examinations, and myopia management, your child can regain clear vision — all while decreasing the risk of developing an ocular disease. 

Is it possible to prevent myopia from worsening?

Yes! There are now specifically trained optometrists in the field of Myopia Management that can provide effective treatments. These treatments are designed to reduce the overall progression of the myopia, not make it go away!

Specialist Glasses & Contact Lenses

Myopia can now be managed using soft daily-disposable contact lenses as well as spectacle lenses. Current evidence suggests that using specialist contact lenses or glasses can reduce the progression of myopia by 40% to 60%.

It's important that these specialist lenses are worn frequently for treatment to be effective (~10hrs/day), so soft contact lenses can be a good option if your child plays lots of sports and glasses aren't feasible. If your child isn't keen on trying contact lenses just yet, or likes wearing their glasses, specialist spectacle lenses are a great solution.

If you are interested in myopia management for your child, book an appointment with your optometrist. Every myopia management plan is individual and takes into account the age of the child, their optical prescription, and their lifestyle. Follow-up visits are required to facilitate evaluation of the treatment's effectiveness and to make any necessary changes.

Further advice

  • Regular eyecare. Make sure that your child has regular eye examinations to ensure that myopia and other vision problems are detected and treated early.

  • Regular breaks. Reduce your child’s eye strain by reminding them to take breaks from screen time or near-work.

  • Time Outside. Slowing the progression of myopia has also been linked with spending time outdoors. It is recommended to spend at least 60-80 minutes outside each day. Time outdoors allows natural light to enter the eye and gives the eye muscles a chance to relax, while encouraging healthy lifestyle habits.

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