For adults with vision problems, there are quite a few options for vision correction! We can wear glasses, prescription sunglasses, contact lenses, or even have corrective surgery on our eyes to improve our vision. But for kids, options are pretty limited. And if you've ever had a kid who needed to wear glasses, then you know that keeping track of those glasses or keeping them in good condition can be ... difficult. However, parents of kids with one specific vision issue just got some really good news! The FDA has approved the first ever contact lens for kids, specifically designed to slow the progression of a common childhood vision problem. Kids who suffer from nearsightedness now have the option of wearing these contact lenses for kids. Here's everything you need to know about this breakthrough in pediatric vision correction.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is one of the most frequent causes of correctable vision impairments in the world. It's caused by the eye growing too long from front to back; this causes the eye to focus images at a point in front of the retina, rather than on the retina itself. People with myopia can see just fine up close, but struggle with distance vision and often need to wear contacts or glasses. Myopia is very common in children, and can increase as they get older. Severe myopia in childhood can actually lead to serious eye and vision problems later in life, like early cataracts or detached retina.
The new contact lenses for kids, called MiSight, are the first of their kind. The disposable, single-use soft contact lenses are designed to be worn daily and thrown away when removed at the end of the day (they should not be slept in). When worn daily, the contact lenses can correct nearsightedness in kids, and actually help slow progression of the impairment. They work much like regular contact lenses - they correct the refractive error that impairs distance vision with myopia. But these lenses also have concentric peripheral rings on the lens itself, which work to focus light on the front of the retina.
MiSight is recommended for use in children between 8-12 years old. Research showed that daily use, when started between those ages, was most effective at slowing the progression of myopia. CooperVision Inc. is the company behind MiSight, and getting FDA approval puts them one step closer to making the contact lenses for kids widely available.