Media contact: Jennifer Golden - 07976 439060, jennifer@igolenses.com.

Could overnight contact lenses provide the cure for shortsightedness in children

7th October 2009  

New research findings could provide the key to solving the problems of child onset myopia (short-sightedness). A new type of contact lens which is only worn at night, reshaping the cornea while sleeping may possibly arrest or reverse early signs of myopia. The lenses act in a similar way to a dental brace, controlling the shape of the eye as it grows preventing it becoming too elongated – the cause of myopia.

Myopia affects 24% of the population in the UK and US but in some Asian countries it is as high as 80% by the time children reach 18.  Short-sightedness is a growing problem in the developed world. The main driver is genetics - if one or both parents are short-sighted there a strong chance that their offspring will be myopic.  However increasingly lifestyle issues are playing a greater part as children spend more time in front of computers doing close work and less time playing outdoors using their distance vision. Myopia has been shown to progress an average of 0.5 diopters a year in adolescents, so if a child needs glasses to see the blackboard at school by the time they reach adult age they could be highly myopic.  However if a child’s vision can be stabilised at around say -1.00 (legal driving standard) when younger by the time they become an adult they have a very manageable prescription; whereas if they were to go on and develop moderate/ high myopia they would not be able to manage a without vision correction at all. Other risks for people with high degrees of myopia are being are twice as likely to develop retinal detachment, 3 times more likely to develop glaucoma, 4 times more likely to develop cataracts and 3 times more likely to develop blindness.

The SMART Study (Stabilization of Myopia by Accelerated Reshaping Technique) into ‘Myopia Control’ is funded by the Eye Vision Institute  and is a 5 year longitudinal study currently underway in the greater Chicago area of the US. The study consists of 172 patients in the treatment group wearing exclusively Euclid Systems’ “Emerald Overnight Contact Lens” and 110 in the control group who wear the Bausch and Lomb’s silicon hyrdrogel soft contact lenses.  At the end of each year the children from both groups stop wearing their lenses for one month and their prescription is measured to see if there has been any change.  The findings from the first year SMART Study showed that there was no overall prescription change in the treatment group however there was a mean increase in myopia of 0.40 diopters in the control group. This change was statistically significant and is extremely promising for myopia control in children.

“While i-GO OVC lenses are CE marked and approved for wear overnight allowing the wearers 20/20 lens free vision during the day, we have known for some time that there could be an additional upside for children wearing these lenses and the results of the Smart study are extremely exciting” CEO of i-GO Optical Limited, the Company which markets the Emerald lens on which the study is based in the UK under the  'i-GO OVC' registered trademark." “ The lenses can be worn at any age and are suitable for prescriptions up to -5.00 - around 75% of all short-sighted people.”

The SMART study is the largest sample controlled study so far.  The preliminary 1 year results confirm some of the findings from research in the LORIC and the CRAYON studies carried out at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Ohio State University respectively. Both were studies investigating the effect of overnight lens wear on myopia progression, both had 29-42 patients in the control and treatment groups and both showed a reduction in elongation of the eye (known to be the primary reason for myopia progression) by around 50% compared to control “ says Dr Trusit Dave a leading researcher and optometrist.

A study carried out last year by Johnson and Johnson into the wider benefits of children being given the option of being fitted with contact lenses found that “children who wore contacts saw greater improvement in satisfaction with their choice of vision correction, appearance, and participation in activities, with differences detected as early as one month … and glasses to be associated with negative attributes in areas of self-perception and attractiveness.”

Shelly Bansal an independent optician and specialist contact lens practitioner who has fitted a number of adolescents with i-GO OVC contact lenses says ” most opticians would generally prefer to fit rigid gas permeable  lenses  for their younger patients as they promote long term health  for the eyes. With i-GO lenses-which are only used in the home environment- parents have the added assurance of knowing that their child has not removed, lost or broken their glasses or contact lenses when away from home. This ensures that their child would always have full vision correction – and not be visually compromised. There are no real downsides and the possible additional upside is that the lenses are potentially stopping the development of further myopia in their child.

It will be a further 4 years before the Smart study completes its findings into whether overnight vision correction lenses could make myopia a thing of the past. Irrespective of this i-GO OVC lenses are still a viable alternative to laser vision correction and for children of high myopes a positive option to glasses whatever the outcome.

……………..Ends…………………….. 

For more information and case studies please contact Jennifer Golden 

07976 439060  or Jennifer@igolenses.com

Notes

·       SMART Study – 5 year longitudinal study funded by EyeVis Eye and Vision Research Institute. Year one findings presented at the Global Speciality Lens Symposium by Dr S Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO in Las Vegas January 2009

·       LORIC study – Cho, Chung, Edwards, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Current Eye Research Jan 2005

·       CRAYON study - Dr. Jeff Walline's group at Ohio State University. 2007 Opti Vis Sci.

·       Children and contact lens wear - 3 year study funded from VISTAKON®, division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, (October 23, 2008)

·       Pediatric case studies are available

·       Emerald is the US trademark for the patented OVC contact lenses made by Euclid Systems Corp, Herdon, Washington, USA and received FDA approval for overnight wear in 2004

·       Dr Trusit Dave PhD, BSc(Hons), MCOptom, FAAO is a leading researcher and writer on a variety of ophthalmic topics and has particular knowledge and experience in topography. He is also a practising optometrist and a strong advocate for OVC and is co-author of the definitive text  "Orthokeratology: Principles and Practice".

·       Shelly Bansal FBDO, (Hons)CL, FBCLA -  is a Fellow of the British Contact Lens Association and a highly experienced practicing UK optician with extensive knowledge of OVC.

·       I-GO OVC lenses CE mark 0086 and is the UK trademark for the Emerald lens

·       i-GO OVC contact lenses are suitable for people who are shortsighted (moderately myopic), with a prescription of up to -5.0D; mildly astigmatic (-1.5D or less); and those not suitable for laser surgery because they are too young, suffer from dry eye or are simply too nervous

·       i-GO OVC contact lenses are available exclusively from i-GO accredited opticians. Interested consumers can contact the i-GO on 0844 7362579 or visit www.igolenses.com for a full list of accredited opticians.

 


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