It may have escaped your attention but there is a developing epidemic of myopia (shortsightedness). Myopia is characterised by an elongation of the eyeball as a child grows and the prevalence of this has been increasing.
The problem has been puzzling optometrists, ophthalmologists and public health medicine for some time and there is still no clear reason why myopic development occurs, or why the numbers are increasing so much.
If current myopia trends continue, around 56% of the European population will be affected by the condition by 2050 and just in case you thought, what’s the problem? Isn’t it solved by glasses, contact lenses or laser surgery?
The issue is the underlying medical problems that potentially accompany all people myopia across a lifetime. These include structural abnormalities such as glaucoma, retinal degeneration, tears and detachments alongside the possibility of loss of central vision by myopic macular degeneration. Tragically, any of these conditions are potentially blinding.
After years of research in pure and applied science across the world and supported by some of the brightest clinical researchers around there is an answer.
For the first time optometrists have a licensed product with evidence-based scientific proof that myopia can be controlled and myopic development slowed and this product, the unique MiSight 1-day lens is now available at BBR Optometry.
BBR Optometry has been at the forefront of developing and offering strategies for myopia control but up until now we have been working on the best interpretation of the available information. For example using “Overnight Vision Correction” (OVC) otherwise known as ortho-keratology we have been able to offer an increased likelihood of the slowing down of myopic progression.
In the company of colleagues from Spain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, Laura Reece and Nick Rumney received training and support from Coopervision on the exclusive European launch of MiSight and in advance of the general launch.
Managing this research project on behalf of Coopervision was optometrist Paul Chamberlain, originally from Hereford but now Senior Research Scientist at Coopervision in Pleasanton, California.
Presenting data after two years of a multi centre trial (Canada, UK, Singapore and Portugal) Paul demonstrated a proven 59% reduction in shortsightedness. Put simply, and compared to a normal spectacle or contact lens correction, a child might have less than half the amount of shortsightedness simply by wearing a scientifically designed correcting lens for at least ten hours per day for at least six days per week.
We are really excited to find that one of Hereford’s own is working closely with our Hereford practice to launch this product.
Due to the strong evidence linking increasing myopia with ocular conditions which could result in future sight loss, it is recommended that the MiSight lens should be fitted as early as possible in the cycle of myopia progression.
The MiSight lens is available in a range of prescriptions including those in the lower ranges. Therefore, BBR Optometry are encouraging a pro-active approach in fitting children of all ages to catch myopia in the early stages. This is not an approach that can be dipped in and out of. Once started, there is a commitment to maintain therapy and management.
It is not available on the NHS and only available on a planned monthly payment programme, which includes all professional examination and fitting fees plus the supply of the unique and revolutionary product. The cost per month is £45.00 payable by direct debit.
But how young can children wear contact lenses?
There is no limit or barrier to the age of children who are can be fitted with contact lenses. Many of you know we fit children as young as five years old with contact lenses.
It has been shown that children are very responsive to maintaining good habits and hygiene when fitted from an early age. In fact, 100% of the children used in the MiSight study were able to independently remove their contact lenses without parental assistance, by end of the first month. They required very little parental intervention with their lens care from then on.
Along with myopia control, 98-100% of the students reported improvements in their daily activities from being spectacle free, such as playing outdoors. 90% of children also reported not feeling or only sometimes being aware of their lenses while wearing them. Along with comfort, vision was reported to be good while watching TV and reading. During the course of the study, only one child had to discontinue on the grounds of an inadequate level of vision.
The fitting and supply of any optical appliance to those under 16 is highly regulated and not permitted by any other than registered optometrists, contact lens opticians and doctors.
Please note the fitting and supply of MiSight will require a signed
informed consent procedure.