SEATTLE – “With every diopter of increase in myopia, you have an increased risk of ocular pathology,” according to Arthur Back, BOptom, PhD, FAAO.
Back, chief technology officer for CooperVision, told Primary Care Optometry News in an interview here at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting that the company is working on a solution to control the progression of myopia in children through the use of daily disposable contact lenses.
“The number of high myopes is increasing, and there’s a convergence of concern in the public health community,” he said.
CooperVision has completed 2 years of a 3-year study involving children between the ages of 8 and 12 years wearing a daily disposable lens made of the company’s Proclear material for 8 to 12 hours a day and at least 6 days a week.
The lens design contains optical focus to correct vision and optical zones to treat myopia, Back said.
He said that the lenses are well tolerated, and that the children prefer wearing contacts over glasses.
One objective of the study is to establish guidelines for parents so they can be informed about what to expect with this type of treatment.
“We are finding parental intervention is minimal,” Back said. “Kids get self-sufficient quickly. Many parents are hesitant initially, but by the end of the first month, 80% said there were no issues.
Previous consumer surveys showed that parents of children with myopia would be interested in participating in this method of treatment if they would see at least 50% effectiveness, he said.
“There is no question in the research community that this is effective,” Back said. “It comes down to getting these lenses approved and developing guidelines for parents. We’re hoping this will help the FDA understand the risk:benefit ratio of treating myopia with daily disposable lenses.
“Our mission is to create more awareness,” he continued. “The hesitancy to fit younger kids has turned around. Recently a survey of 1,000 U.K. doctors said they are comfortable fitting kids as young as 7 years.
“This will change the way we visually treat children,” Back added.
Eye care practitioners will need to set up their practices differently and learn how to monitor these children, he said, including measuring the length of the eye. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Disclosure: Back is chief technology officer for CooperVision.