Soft Contact Lenses Do Not Increase Myopia Progression in Children, Study Shows

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 General News
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FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 28 Soft contact lens wear doesnot accelerate the development of nearsightedness in children, a new studyshows. Findings from the three-year study, the largest randomized trial ofits kind, were presented today at the annual meeting of The Association forResearch in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

According to the multi-site wearing trial study, which tracked the myopicprogression of 484 children ages 8-11 randomly assigned to wear glasses orcontact lenses, there is no clinically meaningful difference between the twoforms of vision correction for the treatment of nearsightedness, a visionproblem experienced by approximately one-third of the population.

The new research further dispels a long held myth that soft contact lensesincrease myopia progression more than other vision correction options.

"Children as young as eight years old who require vision correction arecapable of contact lens wear and this study confirms that they can safely befit in soft contact lenses to correct their myopia," says Jeffrey J. Walline,O.D., Ph.D., Ohio State University College of Optometry and leader of theAdolescent and Child Health Initiative to Encourage Vision Empowerment(ACHIEVE) Study, of which this research was a part.

"Recent clinical studies have demonstrated that contact lenses provide anumber of quality of life benefits to children beyond simply correcting theirmyopia," he adds. "The combined body of research should give both doctors andparents greater confidence in presenting children with the option of contactlens wear when vision correction is required."

Myopia affects approximately 15 percent of children in the United States,but is much higher in some other countries such as Singapore and China. Ittypically develops around 8 years of age and worsens until age 15 or 16. Anearsighted child has difficulty seeing objects clearly at a distance, like ablackboard, but can see clearly up-close, such as when reading a book. Myopiacan be corrected with glasses, contact lenses and refractive eye surgery.

Doctors will typically evaluate a child's maturity and level of parentalsupport in deciding whether the child is ready for contact lenses.

About the Study

The purpose of this part of the ACHIEVE study was to measure therefractive error, corneal curvature, and axial length of eight to 11 year oldchildren randomly assigned to wear single vision glasses or soft contactlenses (1-DAY ACUVUE(R) or ACUVUE(R) 2 Brand Contact Lenses, Vistakon(R),Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.) for three years to comparethe rate of myopic progression with each mode of correction over three years.

A total of 484 eight- to 11-year old myopic children participated in therandomized, single-masked, trial conducted from September 2003 to October 2007at five clinical centers in the United States. Children were randomly assignedto wear spectacles (n = 237) or contact lenses (n = 247) for three years.

Among those who were assigned to wear contact lenses, 93.3 percent electedto wear 1-DAY ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses, a single use lens, rather than theother two-week modality. At the conclusion of the study, nine in ten children(90.7 percent) originally assigned to wear contact lenses at the first visitwere still wearing contact lenses.

Measurements were conducted prior to randomization and annually. Nearlyall (467 - 96.5%) of the subjects were examined at the final visit. Thespectacle wearers progressed -1.08 +/- 0.71 D, and the contact lens wearersprogressed -1.27 +/- 0.72 D (analysis of covariance, p = 0.005); although thisdifference is statistically significant, the difference is less than can beclinically measured. The axial growth of the spectacle wearers was 0.59 +/-0.37 mm and 0.63 +/- 0.34 mm for the contact lens wearers (analysis ofcovariance, p = 0.27). The change in the s

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