Slowing the progression of short-sightedness.
Our Optometrists have a keen interest and expertise in fitting specialist contact lenses for the purpose of myopia control.
What is myopia and why does it matter?
Myopia (commonly known as short-sightedness) causes distance objects to appear blurred. It usually occurs when the eye becomes too long to focus properly. Eye growth tends to happen most during childhood into young adulthood.
For many the primary concern about becoming short-sighted is the inconvenience of glasses however people with myopia are also at increased risk of certain eye conditions including retinal detachment, glaucoma and macular degeneration. The higher the degree of short-sightedness the higher the risk of these complications.
Why do children become short-sighted?
Research into myopia has shown that eye growth and therefore myopia progression is caused by the way light falls onto the peripheral retina. In a normal eye the peripheral light is focused on or near to the retina. In a short-sighted eye light is focused behind the peripheral retina. This peripheral defocus drives eye growth and myopia progression. Normal spectacle and contact lenses do not change the way light hits the peripheral retina and so do nothing to slow progression.
What can be done?
There is currently no ‘cure’ for short-sightedness. Even laser surgery does not change the length of the eye so does not reduce the risk of conditions associated with myopia. Fortunately, we now have options to slow the progression of myopia.
There are two types of contact lenses that slow the progression of myopia in children:
- Orthokeratology (aka Eyedream, ortho-k or overnight vision correction)
- Dual focus soft contact lenses (Misight 1 day).
Multifocal spectacle lenses have also been shown to be of some benefit for a small subset of short-sighted people; those with a specific binocular vision anomaly.
What is orthokeratology (aka Eyedream or ortho-k)?
Orthokeratology lenses (such as Eyedream Contact Lenses) are worn overnight and gently reshape the front of the eye (the cornea) so when removed on waking the user continues to have crisp and clear vision all day. Orthokeratology lenses change the way light focuses on the peripheral retina and as a result slow progression of myopia. Studies investigating orthokeratology lenses have reported slowed myopia progression of between 36% and 58% (depending on the study) compared to those wearing standard contact lenses or glasses.
Orthokeratology lenses are capable of correcting myopia up to -5.00 and astigmatism up to -2.50D.
What are dual focus soft contact lenses?
Dual focus soft contact lenses utilise special optics to influence the way light falls on the peripheral retina whilst giving good vision. MiSight contact lenses are the first daily disposable soft lenses designed specifically to slow myopia progression. These lenses are worn during the day and have been shown to slow progression of myopia by 59%.
Misight 1 day lenses are available up to -6.00D and are not suitable for those with moderate or high degrees of astigmatism.
Find out more
If you would like more information, speak to one of our optometrists. The Optometrist is able to advise of child’s suitability for the various treatments during the eye examination.
The following websites also provide useful information:
Understanding the numbers
Research into the effectivity of myopia control contact lenses compares the treatment group to a control group which receive the standard treatment (e.g. standard contact lenses or normal glasses). The average rate of progression within the treatment group is then compared to that of the control group to give the difference in the rate of progression between the two groups. This means that the numbers given are averages rather than the guaranteed result for every child that uses the treatment. No myopia control contact lens has ever been shown to speed up progression of short-sightedness.