COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in myopia (short-sightedness) in children[i] – yet one in four parents have never asked about their child’s vision[ii]
CooperVision® is calling on parents to get their children’s eyes checked during the school holidays
and inform parents there are ways to help slow the progression of myopia to help protect their children’s future vision
[LONDON, August 17, 2021] New research among 1,000 parents and 1,000 children by CooperVision®2, manufacturer of MiSight® 1 day contact lenses for children, reveals parents’ lack of awareness and growing concerns regarding children’s eye health:
- Over a third (36%) do not know, or do not believe, that children’s vision should be checked between the ages of four to five[iii]
- Nearly a third (31%) incorrectly believe the effect of myopia is not being able to see objects close to you and 18% believe it’s not being able to distinguish between certain colours
- Over half (54%) don’t know, or do not believe, there are long-term health risks of myopia which includes cataracts, glaucoma or detached retina
- 60% agree their child likes to spend more of their spare time using screens since the pandemic, with one third of parents agreeing their children spend four to five hours per day in front of a screen
- One in four (25%) parents have never asked their children about their vision saying they have never thought about it or had a need to ask*
- 80% of parents agree they are concerned that their child’s short-sightedness could impact them achieving their full potential
Short-sightedness, clinically known as myopia, affects one in six children in the UK by the age of 15[v]. It typically starts in childhood, affecting children as young as five years old[vi]. Myopia usually requires glasses or contact lenses to see distant detail[vii] but if left uncorrected, it could impact children’s performance at school, and worsening myopia may also impact long-term eye health if not managed[viii]. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown restrictions meant children spent more time indoors and behind screens, leading to a substantial increase in myopia (1.4-3 times)1 – potentially putting children’s future eye health at risk.
Musician, presenter and mum of three, Myleene Klass, shares her personal experience of living with myopia: “I’ve had myopia since I was four years old and as I’ve got older, my eyesight has got progressively worse. As a child, I would sit so closely to my sheet music or virtually on top of my workbooks at school. I found it all embarrassing. Myopia is known to run in families and may also lead to an increased risk of future eye health problems, so I’m always asking my kids about their vision. The good news for parents and kids today is that there are special contact lenses such as MiSight® 1 day that can help slow the progression of myopia. So, my advice to parents is to add ‘get kids eyes checked’ to your ever-growing list for the school holidays – it’s really important and will help protect their vision for the future. That’s why I’m supporting CooperVision’s Brilliant Futures™ campaign to prioritise our children’s eye health this summer!”
Slowing the progression of myopia
Research shows that over two thirds (69%) of parents are unaware that anything can be done to help slow the progression of myopia[ix]. Optometrist, Dr Keyur Patel says “myopia isn’t just about corrective glasses or lenses – it’s about intervention and management. MiSight® 1 day contact lenses are specially designed for children and have been clinically proven to slow the progression of myopia in children by 59%, on average[x]† – which could help reduce the risk of future eye health issues and enable children to reach their full potential by improving their vision. Myopia is on the rise in children since the pandemic and has become a global public health issue, so regular eye examinations are important to identify any problems. Parents, children and opticians need to work together to protect children’s eye health.”
In addition to specialist contact lenses, making small changes to children’s lifestyles and habits may help to manage myopia. Specifically, increased time outdoors can help to reduce the development of myopia, with children encouraged to spend at least 80 to 120 minutes outside per day4.
Myopia can negatively impact children
The research also delved into the experiences of children living with myopia who wear vision correction. While one in five (21%) children remain positive– agreeing that not being able to see clearly won’t stop them achieving their dreams2– some reveal the negative impact it has on their lives. One in five children (21%) agree myopia has them feeling frustrated or feeling like they are falling behind at school2. Many parents expressed concern about their child’s development, as 80% agree they’re concerned that their child’s short-sightedness may impact them achieving their future potential2.
“This research shows that we must take children’s eye health seriously,” says GP Dr Sara Kayat. “You can’t see through your child’s eyes, so it’s easy to miss the signs of myopia. It’s crucial that children have annual eye examinations from the age of four or five, usually soon after they start school. It also helps to be aware of any changes in your child’s behaviour, like struggling to see the whiteboard at school or complaining of tired eyes and headaches, as these are potential signs of myopia. The pandemic has had a far-reaching impact and many important health checks have stopped. The summer school holidays are an ideal time to take your children for an eye examination, especially if they’ve not had one in the last year.”
Children sharing experiences of myopia
To raise awareness of the need to tackle myopia, CooperVision® took children with and without myopia on a ‘sightseeing’ trip around London. Those without myopia wore specialist glasses, so they could see the world through the eyes of a myopic child. The heartwarming film of children sharing their experiences of myopia is coming soon.
The Brilliant Futures™ Myopia Management Programme from CooperVision® includes the proven MiSight® 1 day contact lenses, information, support and regular assessments with your eye care professional. The Brilliant Futures program provides parents with the knowledge, tools and confidence to address myopia in children, and is centred around MiSight® 1 day, the first soft contact lens proven to slow the progression of myopia in children10§. The programme is specially designed to maximise the success of slowing down your child’s short-sightedness.
Children as young as eight can successfully wear contact lenses10‡, which may help them to feel more competent when taking part in sport and other physical activities and may also help them feel better about their appearance and fitting in with their friends[xi].
MiSight® 1 day
MiSight® 1 day contact lenses with ActivControl® Technology not only correct short-sightedness—they’re also the first soft contact lenses proven to reduce the progression of myopia in children by 59% on average10†. Available from Boots Opticians and selected independent opticians. To find out more visit https://coopervision.co.uk/brilliantfutures.
CooperVision®, a division of CooperCompanies (NYSE:COO), is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of contact lenses. The company produces a full array of daily disposable, two-week and monthly soft contact lenses that feature advanced materials and optics, and premium rigid gas permeable lenses worldwide. CooperVision® has a strong heritage of addressing the toughest vision challenges such as astigmatism, presbyopia, childhood myopia, and highly irregular corneas; and offers the most complete portfolio of spherical, toric and multifocal products available. Through a combination of innovative products and focused practitioner support, the company brings a refreshing perspective to the marketplace, creating real advantages for customers and wearers. For more information, visit www.coopervision.com.
* 49% said yes – I just wanted to check for peace of mind and 26% said yes – I noticed it was impacting them/their behaviour
† Over 3 years, compared to a single vision 1 day lens
‡ 95% of children were successfully fit with MiSight® 1 day or Proclear® 1 day
- compared to a single vision 1 day lens
[iii] As per guidance from NHS Eye tests for children – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
[iv] Jonas JB, Ang M, Cho P, et al. IMI prevention of myopia and its progression. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2021;62(5):6. https://myopiainstitute.org/imi-whitepaper/imi-prevention-of-myopia-and-its-progression/
[v] Morris T et al (2020) Geographical Variation in Likely Myopia and Environmental Risk Factors: A Multilevel Cross Classified Analysis of A UK Cohort, Ophthalmic Epidemiology, 27:1, 1-9.
[vi] McCullough SJ, O’Donoghue L, Saunders KJ (2016) Six Year Refractive Change among White Children and Young Adults: Evidence for Significant Increase in Myopia among White UK Children. PLoS ONE 11(1): e0146332. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0146332
[vii] Zadnick K, et al. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015 Jun; 133(6): 683–689
[viii] CooperVision Data on file 2019. UK ECP webinar
[ix] CVI data on file 2019. Online survey in UK by YouGov Plc; n=280 myopic parents with children 8-15 years
[x] Chamberlain P et al A 3-year Randomized Clinical Trial of MiSight® Lenses for Myopia Control. Optom Vis Sci 2019;96:556–567
[xi] Walline JJ, et al. Optom Vis Sci. 2009;86(3):222-32Jones LA, Sinnott L, Chitkara M, Coffey B, Jackson JM, Manny RE, Rah MJ, Prinstein MJ; ACHIEVE Study Group. Randomized t