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Controlling Myopia in Children

Far sighted idea developed Down under in controlling Myopia in Children

April 2010

Reports have reached us from the Optical World of research that has been used to create a new technology that could slow the onset of high myopia in Kids and late onset myopic adults.

Myopia affects over 1.6 billion people globally, with two thirds of those affected living in the Asia region. If unchecked, the number is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2020.

There are 128 million people affected in the United States, which equates to 42% of the population.
Professor Holden working at the Vision Cooperative Research Centre (Vision CRC) in Australia explained that, “Myopia can be a serious eye condition. High myopia significantly increases the risk of cataract, glaucoma, and retinal detachment, all potentially blinding conditions and the public health risk is significant.”

Professor Smith his colleague, from the University of Houston, commented, “Evidence shows that the number of individuals with myopia will dramatically escalate with increasing urbanisation and less outdoor activity.

As urbanisation has increased in China, the prevalence and average amount of myopia has also increased. Recent evidence indicates that similar trends are occurring in the US and Australia. This ongoing epidemic of vision loss is associated with spiralling health and social costs, especially in many developing countries where over 80% of children have no correcting spectacles or contact lenses.”

So what’s been discovered?

Basic research on the nature and cause of myopia has led to the discovery that the peripheral retinal image falling on the retina or focussed in front or behind as caused by refractive area plays a major part in stimulating eye growth therefore altering the axial length of the eye and increasing myopia. Large scale clinical trials testing both spectacles and contact lenses designed to control the position of the peripheral image and involving over 500 children in China and Australia, have produced confirming results by demonstrating that if the central image is moved onto the retina but peripheral image is behind the retina, the peripheral image can drive the eye to elongate, causing myopia to increase.”  Conversely the opposite appears to hold true and this new fact is being utilised to slow down myopia onset by reducing the stimulus to the eye to elongate.

As Holden says “The beauty of this new technology is that it addresses this problem by bringing the peripheral image forward, onto or even in front of the retina, and at the same time independently positioning the central image on the retina giving clear vision.

“The commercialisation of this technology is a most important outcome for the CRC program because of the potential vision and eye health benefits,” Professor Holden said.

Professor Holden announced that the breakthrough technology has been licensed to Carl Zeiss Vision (CZV) and developed into the first spectacle lens of its kind through a joint project with CZV lens designers. This new spectacle lens will be launched under the ZEISS brand name throughout Asia from April of this year.

The Vision CRC has also licensed its myopia control technology to CIBA VISION for contact lens applications.

This new technology is not just for children either. Over 25% of myopes in the Western world are adult-onset myopes, which often begins at University. It is hoped that this technology has potential benefits for all myopes.

See also:

Short sight (myopia)

Special treatments for better vision

 
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