Slowing the progression of short-sightedness.
Our Optometrists have a keen interest and expertise in fitting specialist spectacle and contact lenses that slow the progression of short-sightedness in children and young adults.
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. The more short-sighted a person becomes the more essential their glasses or contact lenses become to function normally. Stronger spectacle lenses are also thicker and heavier to wear.
More importantly however, is the fact that people with myopia are at significantly increased risk of certain eye conditions including retinal detachment, cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration. The higher the degree of short-sightedness the longer the eye and so 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.
It has also been shown that children who spend more time outside (at least 2 hours a day) in natural light are less likely to become short-sighted and may progress less rapidly. The mechanism of this ‘protective effect’ is not well understood.
The risk of a child becoming myopic is also influenced by genetics and increases when their parents are myopic. When neither parent is myopic there is a 22% chance of becoming short-sighted. This increases to 31% when one parent is short-sighted and to 46% when both parents are myopic.
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. The MiyoSmart spectacle lens and two types of contact lenses (ortho-k and dual-focus soft contact lenses) slow the progression of myopia in children compared to normal spectacles or contact lens correction.
What are MiyoSmart spectacle lenses?
MiyoSmart is a new, innovative spectacle lens for myopia management developed by Hoya. In a two-year clinical trial, the MiyoSmart lens slowed myopia progression in children by 60%. The MiyoSmart lens features a central optical zone combined with multiple defocus segments evenly spaced across the lens mid-periphery. It is this D.I.M.S. (Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segments) design that changes the way light falls on the peripheral retina, limiting myopia progression, whilst also providing clear vision at all distances.
The MiyoSmart lens also provides UV protection and is impact resistant.
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. These lenses are worn during the day and are made of the same materials used by to manufacture other conventional soft contact lenses.
- MiSight 1 Day contact lenses were the first daily disposable soft lenses designed specifically to slow myopia progression. Studies investigating the effect of this lens upon myopia progression have monitored young wearers for over 5 years and have shown a 59% reduction in progression. MiSight contact lenses are available up to -6.00D and are not suitable for those with moderate or high degrees of astigmatism.
- Naturalvue Multifocal 1 Day contact lenses utilise a similar design concept to other myopia control contact lenses and in the first published study has shown to slow progression by around 95% compared to the control group. This study however involved a small sample of wearers over a relatively short time span (up to 24 months). More information is needed to validate these findings. Naturalvue Multifocal 1 Day contact lenses are available up to -12.00D and are not suitable for those with moderate or high degrees of astigmatism.
- Mylo monthly contact lenses utilise the same design as the Naturalvue Multifocal 1 Day but, as a monthly replacement lens, is available in a wider range of fitting specifications and prescriptions (up to -15.00DS). The Mylo lens is not currently suitable for those with moderate or high degrees of astigmatism.
What is orthokeratology (aka Eyedream or ortho-k)?
Ortho-k 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. Ortho-K lenses change the way light focuses on the peripheral retina and as a result slow progression of myopia. Studies investigating ortho-K 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.
Find out more
If you would like more information, speak to one of our optometrists. Your Optometrist will advise if your child is suitable for the various treatments during their sight test/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 myopia (short-sightedness).
- Eye Examination
- NHS Sight Test
- Contact Lenses
- Myopia Management
- Eyedream Contact Lenses
- OCT eye scan
- Optomap Ultra-wide Retinal Imaging
- Minor Eye Condition Service (MECS)
- Dry Eye Assessments
- Learning Disabilities
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