We evaluate the impact of duration on the treatment effect of multifocal spectacle lenses used to inhibit myopia progression in children. A systematic literature search identified randomized controlled trials where multifocal lenses were prescribed as the intervention, with single-vision lenses as the control. Nine randomized control trials involving 1,701 children aged 8–13 years were included in the meta-analysis. Treatment effects, that is, differences in spherical equivalent refraction between intervention and nonintervention groups, were analyzed over both 6- and 12-month intervals. As treatment duration increased, effectiveness reduced. In 6-month intervals, treatment effects were 0.07 D (95 % CI 0.02, 0.13), 0.03 D (95% CI −0.02, 0.08), and 0.02 D (95% CI −0.05, 0.11) for baseline to 6, 6–12, and 12–18 months, respectively. For 12-month intervals, treatment effects were 0.21 D (95% CI 0.12, 0.29), 0.11 D (95% CI 0.03, 0.19), and 0.12 D (95% CI −0.01, 0.25) for baseline to 12, 12–24, and 24–36 months, respectively. Even during the second 6 months of wear, the ability of multifocal spectacle lenses to inhibit myopia progression was reduced. It is not appropriate to extrapolate the treatment effect observed in the first 6 months or 12 months to estimate the likely future benefit of treatment.