A large portion of what we learn and experience occurs through our eyes1. Kids learn and grow a lot through their ability to see. The way they see makes a huge difference in their development and for their future. And that is why optimum vision for children should be a given, right?
Children always have something new to discover: their first vacation, their first hobby, or their first best friend in preschool. These are magical, fascinating moments – with the right pair of glasses. However, if a child doesn't enjoy optimum vision, then this impedes their quality of life, and sometimes their development can suffer as a consequence, leading to learning difficulties and causing the child to fall short of their full potential2,3. Providing the best-possible support for children's eyes is particularly important for those with rapidly progressing myopia.
That's why ZEISS Myopia Management Solutions are specially designed for young spectacle wearers between the ages of six and 12. All these lenses provide optimum vision and can also help with managing the progression of myopia as compared to standard single vision lenses. Because every detail counts – especially with kids' eyes.
Myopia is becoming a serious problem in more and more countries. Especially in urban areas in Asia, almost 90% of young people develop myopia before the age of 204. – a trend that continues worldwide. Studies predict that, by the year 2050, nearly 50 percent of the world's population could be shortsighted5. In a worst-case scenario, early myopia can lead to the emergence of progressive myopia, a severe form of short-sightedness: after the onset, a person's vision may quickly deteriorate at a rate of one dioptre per year and turn into high myopia, which increases the risk of other eye problems, such as damage to the retina or even blindness6.
Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is when your child sees nearby objects clearly but their vision is blurred in the distance. Common signs are complaints about eye strain or squinting.
If you suspect your child has myopia, you should take them to an ophthalmologist or optician to have their eyes checked, because untreated myopia can compromise quality of life and your child's development. Since the progression of myopia can lead to a higher risk of other eye problems, a child's eyes should be tested regularly to identify harmful changes early on – at least once per year, but ideally every six months. An ophthalmologist or an optician can perform the necessary tests.
While comprehensive research still has to be done, we do know several different potential causes of myopia. Recent changes in environment and lifestyle, such as urbanisation and digitalisation, play a major role, and people who have attained a higher level of education are more frequently affected. Genetics is another crucial factor.
If one or both parents are myopic, then there is a higher probability that their child could also be myopic. Frequent indoor activities, a lack of natural light, and an increasing number of near vision tasks, especially with digital devices, can intensify the spread of myopia amongst children. Myopia occurs far less frequently in rural areas than in densely populated regions and cities.
But there are also other reasons which are connected with environmental and lifestyle influences:
- For example living in big cities or
- Attaining a higher level of education.
- Also the increasing number of near vision tasks, especially with digital devices can intensify the impact of myopia.
- In general more indoor activities and consequently the lack of natural light are part of a contemporary lifestyle that can increase a child’s myopia.
There are multiple options for treating myopia progression in kids: with contact lenses that the child only wears at night, soft contact lenses for during the day, eye drops and special spectacle lenses – the latter tends to be the most comfortable treatment method for young patients.
No matter the particular treatment, lifestyle also has a strong impact on the health of our eyes: studies have shown that myopia is less common amongst children who spend a lot of time outdoors or, if a child is myopic, it progresses more slowly.
Myopia has complex and multifactorial causes. Therefore, managing myopia in children involves a combination of optical treatments with glasses and contact lenses as well as pharmaceuticals. However, no matter the particular approach for managing myopia in children, it should be combined with a healthy lifestyle to achieve the desired treatment outcome.7
The following methods are available for treating progressive myopia in children
Wearing rigid contact lenses at night
With this type of myopia treatment, the child only wears special, dimensionally stable contact lenses, called orthokeratology contact lenses or 'ortho-k' for short, while sleeping. These reshape the cornea during the night and are then removed the next morning. This solution addresses the correction of myopia, as it may help to slow down the elongation of the eye and thus the progression of the myopia as well. Generally, a person can see clearly without glasses the next day – but just how well this method works can vary from one day to the next. Moreover, serious side effects can occur.
Soft contact lenses for during the day
The progression of myopia amongst children can also be treated with special soft contact lenses. These feature a multifocal design with different powers and are worn like normal contacts during the day. The wearer only sees distant objects clearly through several sections, while other sections of the contact lenses only have any corrective power for near objects. This special geometry sends signals to the eye that can help with controlling myopia.
Important information: in order to prevent bacterial eye infections, the wearer must observe basic hygiene when caring for their contact lenses. This definitely requires special care and assistance from the child's parents, since handling contact lenses can be quite a challenge for young patients.
Pharmaceuticals for progressive myopia
Pharmaceuticals provide an alternative approach, such as in the form of low-dose atropine eye drops. These don't restore perfect vision, but they help reduce further myopia progression as long as the therapy is continued. However, the long-term side effects and permanent efficacy are not currently known.
Standard spectacle lenses
Spectacle lenses are the most common method for treating progressive myopia in children and don't show side effects. Standard spectacle lenses primarily correct myopia – but they do not assist with controlling the progress of myopia. There are also special myopia management lenses which not only correct myopia, but simultaneously manage its progression.
Spectacle lenses for myopia management
Special myopia management spectacle lenses, such as those in the Myopia Management Portfolio from ZEISS, are a convenient method for treating progressive myopia in children. These lenses are designed for treating the progression of myopia and are probably the most comfortable solution for a young patient. Studies have shown that lenses specially designed for myopia management are a better solution than standard single vision lenses.8
Since lack of sunlight, more work in the near vision range and too much time indoors are also crucial factors in the emergence of myopia in children, it is recommended that kids spend more time outdoors – in addition to treatment with spectacle lenses. Studies have shown that myopia is less common or progresses less quickly in children who are frequently outside. It has been proven that children enjoy better results by combining myopia management treatments with a healthy lifestyle – including breaks from digital devices like smartphones and tablets!
Please note: spending time outside in the fresh air and getting regular exercise, such as by playing sports, are part of a child's healthy development. In order to protect children's eyes from the damage caused by excessive UV radiation, special glasses for myopia in children must have a UV suitable filter. This is not just true for sunglasses, but also for children's glasses with clear lenses.
ZEISS spectacle lenses for treating myopia in children offer comprehensive UV protection: like sunglasses, they filter out UV radiation completely and protect not only the wearer's eyes, but also the surrounding skin and tissue of the periorbital structures. Moreover, the lenses and frames should be as sturdy as possible so that they don't break and pose a risk of injury when your child is playing. Spectacle lenses with a hard coating to protect against scratches are up to the task – this way the child's glasses don't show signs of wear and tear after their latest adventure on the playground.
ZEISS MyoVision Pro lenses – the next generation of our single vision lenses with a specific myopia management design for children between the ages of six and 12.
These feature an extremely short adaptation period and a unique lens design specially developed for a child's growing eyes:
Unlike traditional single vision lenses, ZEISS MyoVision Pro has a positive effect, assisting with myopia management in children between six and 12 years old9 – with maximum visual comfort, since ZEISS MyoVision Pro spectacle lenses are also customised to match your child's anatomy and lifestyle.
The unique single vision lenses with innovative myopia management. The ZEISS MyoVision Pro lenses specially designed for children with myopia are based on one of the leading scientific approaches for managing the progression of myopia: the edge of the lens is responsible for controlling myopia, while the area in the centre of the lenses corrects the child's myopia and ensures clear distance vision.
Certain signals are sent to the eye which assist with myopia management for children between the ages of six and 129. The difference to traditional solutions? Up until now, the central visual field has been clear with single vision lenses. However, the edges do not project the image directly onto the retina, but behind it. This can have the unintended effect of encouraging the eye to grow lengthwise and thus cause the myopia to progress.
ZEISS MyoVision Pro lenses can be optimised for your child's particular needs. This means that both the spectacle lenses and the frames are individualised for your child based on a large number of parameters specific to their age and lifestyle to achieve the best optical performance with glasses.
MyoKids® by ZEISS is an innovative lens with a specific myopia management design for children between the ages of six and 12.
Compared to standard single vision lenses, the MyoKids design can help to manage myopia progression. This special near vision design also supports the digital lives of today’s children by reducing eyestrain. Additionally, the lens is specially designed with your child's anatomy and lifestyle in mind, ensuring that they enjoy greater visual comfort.
When myopic eyes look at objects up close with standard single vision lenses, they often try to save energy and don’t focus sufficiently. As a consequence, the image is projected slightly behind the retina, rather than directly on it. This can result in an unintended signal to the eye, causing it to elongate and thereby increase myopia progression10.
ZEISS MyoKids spectacle lenses feature a special design: Next to the specific design with the goal of reducing myopic progression, ZEISS MyoKids Lenses support near vision tasks and digital lives of today’s children.
Moreover: both the lenses and the frames are optimised using a large number of different parameters specific to your child's age and lifestyle in order to achieve the best optical performance with glasses. The results speak for themselves: on average, 91 percent of children adapted to their new ZEISS MyoKids lenses in less than one week, 41 percent in one day or less11. Nine out of 10 children between the ages of six and 12 felt more comfortable using digital devices with ZEISS MyoKids lenses12, and 96 percent of all children were satisfied with clear vision in all directions13. The result is also good news for adults: nine out of 10 parents would buy the ZEISS MyoKids lenses for their child14.
Effective protection against harmful UV radiation – a must-have with any spectacle lens, especially for children's sensitive eyes. Full UV protection comes standard with not only sunglasses and self-tinting lenses, but also clear lenses for Myopia Management by ZEISS. This way your child can take their place in the sun without damaging their eyes.
All-round protection in a single lens for convenience and safety: both types of lenses for kids with myopia are available in self-tinting versions. The clear lenses are transformed into sunglasses as if by magic – turning dark in seconds and clearing up again in just a few minutes. Whether playing indoors or outdoors, your child enjoys optimum vision with effective protection against UV radiation and glare.
Also available for both ZEISS MyoKids and ZEISS MyoVision Pro: ZEISS DuraVision BlueProtect. Outstanding protection for young spectacle wearers with myopia who find blue light – emitted by smartphones, tablets, LEDs, TVs and computer screens – stressful and want to play it safe. This includes integrated premium protection against scratches and a special dirt-resistant coating.
Children today are 'digital natives': they have grown up in the digital world, and for them digital media and systems are a given, whether smartphones, laptops or tablets. Just like modern light sources, the displays on these devices emit an excessive amount of blue light. Lenses with a ZEISS DuraVision BlueProtect lens coating feature a special filter so that children enjoy comfortable vision even when there is a high portion of blue light.
Practical benefit: The coating offers a harder and therefore a more scratch-resistance protective layer to the lens. Premium coatings can provide up to three times better scratch resistance then a conventional coating. This protects the lenses from scratches while also giving them an extremely smooth surface that helps prevent the build-up of dirt, extending the life of a child's glasses and keeping them clean for longer.
Effective protection against harmful UV radiation is a must-have for any spectacle lens, especially for kids' sensitive eyes. Not just sunglass and self-tinting lenses, but also clear lenses for Myopia Management by ZEISS feature full UV protection. This way your child can take their place in the sun without damaging their eyes.
Both types of lenses for children with myopia are available in a self-tinting version. The clear lenses are transformed into sunglasses as if by magic – turning dark in seconds and clearing up again in just a few minutes. Whether playing indoors or outdoors, your child enjoys optimum vision with effective protection against UV radiation and glare.
Kids should head outside whenever possible! Daylight assists with several physiological processes. Spending enough time outdoors in the daylight on a regular basis is extremely important for their body, eyes and well-being. The same goes for a healthy, balanced diet.
Make your child take a break from their smartphone, tablet, etc. every now and again – and limit how much time your child spends using digital devices!
Make sure your kid isn't missing a thing at school or on the playground: schedule regular eye checkups! Ideally every six months.
Good posture and the right distance when using digital devices not only helps your child's back, but also their vision because it keeps them from sitting too close. Practice taking regular breaks from using digital devices with your child and look into the distance to relax your eyes. Here's a rule of thumb: every 20 minutes, focus on a point about 20 metres away for 20 seconds.
Not getting enough good sleep can also negatively impact the development of progressive myopia, which is why it is important that children with myopia get enough rest. Your child should avoid playing with and reading on digital devices and in low light at night right before going to sleep!