Kids Health
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This post was made in partnership with ACUVUE®, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. 

1 in 3 Children Suffer From This Eye Condition—Here’s What You Should Know

girl at eye doctor"
girl at eye doctor
Credit: Antoni Shkraba | Pexels
Credit: Antoni Shkraba | Pexels

As a parent, your top priority is ensuring that your kids are as happy and healthy as they can be. With this comes staying on top of all aspects of their mental and physical well-being—including eye health, which is particularly important to be aware of from the time that they’re very young. Scheduling routine eye exams for children starting at a young age can help mitigate vision issues early on. Among the various eye conditions that affect kids, myopia is an increasingly common condition, and it is helpful to know the signs, symptoms, and treatment options.

From our Partners

To answer some questions or concerns you may have regarding myopia, we’re turning to those who know best: Dr. Andy Kongsakul of Valley Optometry Eyecare, who shares his knowledge regarding this condition, including how ACUVUE® Abiliti™ Overnight Therapeutic Lenses offer safe and effective treatment option for myopia. So, if you’re looking to gain a stronger understanding of what exactly myopia is and how to go about managing it, you’ve come to the right place. Here is what you need to know:

Meet the expert
Dr. Andy Kongsakul
Founder, Valley Optometry Eyecare

What is myopia?

As explained by Dr. Kongsakul, myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a chronic disease that results from the eye growing too long. This elongation of the eye leads to a difficulty in focusing on distant objects, such as the whiteboard in a classroom, which causes blurred vision. If left untreated, myopia can elevate the risk of permanent vision loss, including the possibility of blindness.

Myopia has a significant impact on children’s vision, affecting an average of 1 in 3 in the United States with this number continually on the rise. This vision condition is frequently diagnosed in children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old but can manifest at even earlier ages, emphasizing the importance of annual comprehensive eye exams starting by age 5.

Dr. Kongsakul explains that over the last several decades, our understanding of myopia has evolved and it is now considered a progressive disease, which means it has the ability to become more severe over time. The global number of people affected by myopia has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue in children’s eye health.

girl at eye doctor
Source: Antoni Shkraba | Pexels

How can you identify and reduce the likelihood of myopia in children?

According to Dr. Kongsakul, there are signs that your child may have myopia:

  • Squinting: Children may squint to see distant objects clearly.
  • Trouble seeing far away: They may have difficulty focusing on objects in the distance.
  • Close screen viewing: Children might get unusually close to digital devices, TVs, or books.
  • Headaches: Frequent headaches, especially after reading or screen time.
  • Tired eyes: Complaints of strained eyes or even constantly rubbing them.

A comprehensive eye exam with a qualified eye care professional, which is more thorough than a school vision screening or a pediatrician’s quick eye test, is essential for early detection. These exams can detect not only myopia but also various systemic and chronic diseases. It is recommended that every child has their first comprehensive eye exam by age 5.

Dr. Kongsakul notes that while it cannot be entirely prevented, there are steps that parents can take to reduce the likelihood of its development:

  • More time outdoors: Research shows that spending more time outdoors can help reduce myopia onset or slow its progression.
  • Less “near work”: Limiting the time spent on near activities such as reading and homework assignments.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes, encourage your child to look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to reduce eye strain.
little boy wearing glasses
Source: Pixabay | Pexels

How can myopia be treated?

Abiliti™ Overnight Therapeutic Lenses are a great option for managing myopia in children. These lenses are worn overnight while your child sleeps and temporarily reshape the cornea, typically eliminating the need to wear glasses during the day1. They’ve shown great success in managing myopia in children across multiple ages, with a particular success story from one of Dr. Kongsakul’s patients, a young boy who is 10 years old.

“Prescribing Abiliti™ Overnight Therapeutic Lenses resulted in the child’s vision improving rapidly, and he quickly adapted to wearing and caring for the lenses,”2 said Dr. Kongsakul. “Now his vision is better than 20/20 and he no longer needs glasses or contacts during the day, making all of his favorite activities like school, amusement parks, and traveling much more enjoyable for him overall.”

While it is always encouraging to hear a triumphant personal story, having some lingering questions regarding children wearing contact lenses and their general effectiveness is totally normal. We asked Dr. Kongsakul some more specifics, and here’s what he had to say:

Q: How old does a child have to be to wear ACUVUE® Abiliti™ Overnight Therapeutic Lenses?

“These lenses have been successfully prescribed for myopia management in children as young as six years of age.”

Q: As a lifelong contact lens wearer, I’ve always been advised not to sleep in my lenses. Why are these lenses different? Are there any risks associated with wearing them overnight?

Abiliti™ Overnight Therapeutic Lenses are orthokeratology lenses approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for myopia management and are specifically designed to be worn overnight. In three studies accounting for over 200 patient years of wear, no serious adverse events (or serious complications) were found. The lenses were designed to keep eyes comfortable with built-in moisture retention and oxygenation.”

Q: How would you suggest helping a child who is nervous about wearing contact lenses?

“It’s normal for any child to feel some sort of hesitation when first trying contact lenses. Typically, we like to encourage children by letting them know how great their vision will be afterward. Being able to participate in sports or see in the classroom without glasses is great motivation for the child and fosters parent involvement in encouraging their child to try contact lenses. Once the child is ready to try contact lenses, we like to use an analogy of learning how to ride a bicycle. It may be difficult at first, but it will get easier the more they practice.”

Being able to notice the signs of early myopia in children is key in ensuring that their eye health stays as strong and reliable as possible, and knowing that Abiliti™ Overnight Therapeutic Lenses are a great option for treatment is an equally important piece of knowledge to have. If you think your child would be a good fit for this treatment, schedule a comprehensive exam with your child’s eye doctor and visit to learn more.

Important Safety Information for Contact Lens Wearers

ACUVUE® Abiliti™ Overnight Therapeutic Contact Lenses are available by prescription only for the management of myopia. An eye care professional will determine whether these contact lenses are right for you. Although, rare, serious eye problems including vision loss and blindness can develop while wearing contact lenses. To help avoid these symptoms, follow the wear and replacement schedule and the lens care disinfection instructions provided by your eye care professional. Do not wear these contact lenses if you have an eye infection, or experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, redness or other eye problems. If one of these conditions occurs, remove the lens and contact your eye doctor immediately. For more information on proper wear, care and safety, talk to your eye care professional and review the Patient Instruction Guide, call 1-877-334-3937, or visit

This post is sponsored by ACUVUE®, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board.

  1. The lenses are indicated for reducing refractive error up to 6.00D of myopia and up to 1.50D of astigmatism. Results vary by patient and prescription level. ↩︎
  2. Results may vary by patient. ↩︎