A New Option for Myopia in Children

Myopia or nearsightedness is one of the most common vision conditions requiring a patient to wear glasses or contact lenses. I am asked on a daily basis, particularly when a nearsighted child requires his/her first pair of glasses, “what can we do to stop this or get rid of this?” Unfortunately the answer has always been “nothing.” However, recent studies suggest some new options for treating myopia in children.

The general trend for nearsightedness in children is continual progression: a worsening in the prescription every six to 18 months from the first diagnosis. The prescription will then generally stabilize in the late teens or early 20s for most patients. The earlier the age that nearsightedness first appears, the higher the final prescription will generally be.

One study has found a unique corrective eyeglass lens option that reduced the progression of nearsightedness by up to 30 per cent in children in the study between ages six and 12.1 This specially ground lens focuses peripheral images onto or in front of the peripheral retina. This acts as a signal to slow the progression of the nearsightedness. In comparison, the typical corrective lenses we currently use focus the peripheral images behind the peripheral retina.

A second study done at the University of Waterloo assessed the effect of bifocal lenses and prism on the progression of nearsightedness. They found that the use of bifocals lenses with prism reduced both the focusing demand and convergence demand on the eyes

and reduced myopia progression up to 62 per cent.2 The downside of these lenses is the cosmetics of wearing a bifocal lens. To use a theoretical example, if a patient who is using typical corrective lenses would end up a -10.00 prescription as an adult; wearing these lenses they may only end up with a prescription of approximately -4.50, if they attained the 62 per cent reduction in progression of nearsightedness.

Both of these new lenses are available in Canada. Our office proudly offers the entire collection of Varilux, Nikon and Zeiss prescription lenses, including the MYOVISION and MYOPILUX lenses to reduce the progression of nearsightedness. Book an appointment at 306.586.7036 or visit our office at 500-4010 Pasqua St. to find out if these lenses are right for your child. FLR

REFERENCES

1: Sankaridurg et al, Optometry and Vision Science, Vol 87, No. 9, September 2010; pp 631-641. Clinical Trial of Myovision Lenses.

2: Cheng D, Schmid, K, Woo, G.C. & Drobe, B. 2010. Randomized trials of Effect of Bifocal and Prismatic Bifocal Spectacles on Myopic Progression. Arch Ophthalmol, 128, 1219.