Are Myopia Management Contact Lenses Safe for Children?

We meet dozens of parents and children every day who come in for eye exams, myopia treatments, and other services. During these visits, we welcome and address questions or concerns that parents have about their child’s eye health. Because certain myopia treatments include contact lens wear, many parents ask, “are myopia management contact lenses safe for children?”

Here’s what the research says:

A recent study, Adverse Event Rates in The Retrospective Cohort Study of Safety of Paediatric Soft Contact Lens Wear: the ReCSS Study, shows that contact lenses for children are just as safe for children as they are for adults. (This study appears in the January 2021 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics.)

The study followed 963 children aged 8 to 16 over the course of 1.5 to 3 years (for a combined 2713 years of contact lens wear time) to determine the risk level associated with wearing soft contact lenses. All of the subjects were 13 years of age or under at the time of their first fitting, with more than half of the children fitted with soft contacts at or before the age of 10, on average.

The study results indicate that age doesn’t play a role in contact lens safety. In fact, the risks of developing adverse reactions to contact lens wear among children proved to be the same as in adults. According to the study, the rate of inflammatory conditions associated with contact lens wear was less than 1% per year of wear.

Multifocal Lenses for Myopia Management

One effective method of myopia management includes the use of MiSight daily multifocal soft contact lenses. MiSight contact lenses are FDA approved for the treatment of myopia and have been shown to effectively slow down the rate of myopia progression.

Many parents like this method as it requires minimal maintenance; at bedtime, the child discards the pair they are wearing, and inserts a fresh pair in the morning. It also rids the child of the need to wear glasses during the day, allowing them to freely partake in sports and other activities.

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published the results of a BLINK (Bifocal Lenses In Nearsighted Kids) study, which indicates that multifocal contact lenses are clinically proven to reduce myopia progression by 43% after 3 consecutive years of use. 

294 myopic children between the ages of 7 and 11 were randomly assigned to wear either single-vision (standard) contacts or multifocal contacts for 3 consecutive years. The children who wore the high add power multifocal contact lenses had significantly lower rates of myopia progression, as compared to the children who wore the single-vision standard contact lenses or medium add power contact lenses. Moreover, the high add power multifocal lenses even slowed eye elongation. 

Slowing a child’s eye elongation is a key factor in reducing their risk of eye disease later in life. As a child’s eye rapidly elongates with the progression of myopia, the retina (light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye) stretches out, weakening its connection to the rest of the eye. The weaker the retina becomes, the greater the risk of developing sight-threatening complications later on in life.

The myopia management program at Treehouse Eyes can help preserve your child’s gift of sight for a lifetime. Treating your child’s myopia will give them clear vision today, while reducing their chances of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life.

It’s never too early to start treating myopia. Contact your local Treehouse Eyes provider today and see your child’s quality of life improve before your eyes!