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Multifocal Contacts for Myopia Control: How They Work

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A male patient in a blue long-sleeve shirt is sitting face-to-face with a female eye doctor, the female doctor is holding a multifocal contact lens and giving it to the patient.

Globally, an increasing number of children are becoming myopic. Many parents are concerned because this eye disease can worsen year after year.

Your child’s well-being is the most important thing to you as their parent. How do you keep their vision from deteriorating if they have myopia?

Special types of contact lenses have been shown in research and clinical practice to be far more beneficial than wearing regular glasses for children with myopia. These contact lenses not only provide clear vision without the hassle of wearing eyewear, but they also help slow a child’s vision deterioration caused by myopia.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia is another word for being nearsighted. When the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too steeply curved, the entering light is focused on the retina rather than in front of it. This condition usually appears in childhood and can progress until it reaches a plateau in early adulthood.

As children grow, so do their eyes, potentially worsening their already elongated eyes and progressing to a more severe form of myopia (high myopia).

As a parent, it’s sometimes difficult to tell if your child is experiencing myopia since they often don’t even realize they aren’t seeing as well as their peers. 

Fortunately, there are signs to look out for. If you notice any of the following, it might be time to take your child for a comprehensive eye exam and find out your next steps to manage myopia.

  • Sitting at the front of the classroom
  • Squinting
  • Frequent headaches
  • Lack of interest in sports that require long-distance vision
  • Holding books close to their face
  • Moving closer to see the tv
  • Rubbing their eyes

Early treatment is critical in children to avoid negative effects on school performance and interference with extracurricular activities. Myopia can often worsen as your child grows older if it’s not treated.

If your child does get diagnosed with myopia, don’t stress. The good news is that myopia can now be managed, making it easier to live with.

Why Should You Control Myopia?

Myopia progression is when the eye condition increases in intensity to the point that your child needs a new, higher prescription.

Eye specialists advise getting this checked out and treated if the rise in myopia happens quickly—within a year or less.

It’s not just about getting stronger glasses; as the child’s myopia worsens, he or she is more likely to develop sight-threatening eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment. These conditions can cause irreversible vision loss and even blindness.+

A senior woman is reading her book at ease with her multi-focal contact lenses.

Multifocal Contacts for Myopia Control

Presbyopia, a common problem affecting people over 40 that causes difficulties with reading and focusing, inspired the development of multifocal soft contact lenses.

To provide the dual focus of distant and close-up objects in the eye, they often feature circular zones of varying prescriptions inside the lens. 

While there are many different multifocal contacts available, recent research has shown that certain designs, like “centre-distance” lenses, are also effective at slowing the progression of myopia in children who use them regularly.

These lenses have a central zone that provides clear far-distance vision and peripheral zones that aid in close-up focusing. Think of it like a bullseye.

According to a 2020 study, multifocal lenses were more effective than single-vision lenses in slowing down myopia.

MiSight Lenses

MiSight soft contacts are intended for children aged 8 to 12. This daily-disposable soft contact lens’ dual-focus optical design provides your child with clear vision while also signalling the eye to slow down in its growth.

When compared to single-vision lenses, MiSight reduced myopia progression by 59%. These contacts allow you to help your child today while also reducing the risk of vision-threatening eye diseases in the future.

Other Effective Myopia Management Tools

Though we’ve mainly focussed on multifocal lenses, there are other options for controlling myopia. 


Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is a corneal reshaping lens technique. These gas-permeable, rigid lenses flatten the centre of the cornea, changing how light enters the eye.

Your child removes their lenses in the morning after Ortho-K has worked overnight. Throughout the day, this corneal reshaping provides corrected vision, but if not worn for a long period, the eye will eventually shift back to its myopic state.

Ortho-K has been proven in studies to be a safe and effective treatment for myopia control.


If your child isn’t comfortable wearing contact lenses during the day or at night, there is another option for them. 

Zeiss Myokids is a type of eyeglass lens specifically designed for myopia control. This specialized progressive lens is intended for children and operates on accommodative lag management. Reducing accommodative lag has been shown to slow the progression of childhood myopia.

More Questions About Myopia Control?

Your optometrist is the ideal person to advise you on which choice is best for your child, as it might vary depending on factors including myopia level, eye shape, and more.

If you’re unsure of what the best option is, book an appointment with us. We’re here to make sure you make an informed decision about how to manage your child’s myopia.

Written by Dr. Kent Prete

An active member of the Canadian Association of Optometrists, the Alberta Association of Optometrists, and the Alberta College of Optometrists, Dr. Prete lives his passion every day when he sees his patients. Dr. Prete has spoken at over 100 professional events over the last almost 20 years. A keen educator and confident doctor, Dr. Prete is nearly as passionate about educating other eye care professionals as he is about caring for and educating his patients!
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