Soft Contact Lenses for Myopia Management
CAROLINE KAUFMAN, OD
Most commercially available soft contact lenses will not manage myopia. In fact, there is some speculation that many of them could accelerate the progression of myopia.1 Only a very specific design of soft contact lenses has been shown to slow down the progression of myopia.2
How can soft contact lenses control myopia?
The way a soft contact lens can control myopia is by the power distribution in the lens. A traditional spherical soft contact lens had the same power across most of the lens. In the case of a soft lens for controlling myopia, typically the center of the lens contains the distance power of the lens and then there is at least one ring of peripheral myopic defocus or relatively high plus power, ideally bordering the patient’s pupil. This peripheral myopic defocus is what is thought to signal to the retina to not elongate or become more myopic.
Are soft contact lenses safe for children?
Yes, in studies it was found that soft contact lenses are very safe for children. A recent 6-year study of 8–12-year-olds wearing daily disposable soft contact lenses showed no cases of serious eye infections and their eyes looked clinically the same at the end of the study as when they started.3
Are there side effects the child experiences?
The child might notice some faint halos, especially around lights at night. This typically doesn’t bother them and gets less noticeable with time.
Are these lenses FDA-approved?
At the time of this writing, MiSight contact lenses by CooperVision are the only soft contact lens FDA-approved for myopia control in children ages 8-12. Other multi-focal lenses have been used by practitioners to attempt myopia management, but this is considered an off-label use.
1. Cheng E, Caroline P, Kinoshita B, Lampa M, Andre M, Kojima R. Do Spherical Soft Lenses for Myopia Induce Peripheral Hyperopic Defocus? Global Specialty Contact Lens Symposium. 2019 Las Vegas, NV
2. Chamberlain, Paul BSc1∗; Bradley, Arthur PhD1; Arumugam, Baskar PhD, FAAO1; Hammond, David PhD1; McNally, John OD, FAAO1; Logan, Nicola S. PhD2; Jones, Deborah BSc, FAAO3; Ngo, Cheryl MBBS, Mmed4; Peixoto-de-Matos, Sofia C. MSc5; Hunt, Chris MSc6; Young, Graeme PhD, FAAO. Long-term Effect of Dual-focus Contact Lenses on Myopia Progression in Children: A 6-year Multicenter Clinical Trial
3. Woods J, Jones D, Jones L, Jones S, Hunt C, Chamberlain P, McNally J. Ocular health of children wearing daily disposable contact lenses over a 6-year period. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2021 Aug;44(4):101391