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HomeminewsNew Technology For Myopia In Children

New Technology For Myopia In Children

Australian scientists from the Vision Cooperative Research Centre (Vision CRC) have announced that myopia can now be controlled with new technology.

This ground breaking discovery is based on research conducted by Vision CRC partners – the University of Houston College of Optometry and the Brien Holden Vision Institute, located at the University of New South Wales.

The important announcement was made at the launch of the Brien Holden Vision Institute on 25 March, formerly known as the Institute of Eye Research.

In his speech, acknowledging the honour awarded him, a humble Professor Holden said he wanted to focus more on what it would mean for the advancement of the field of eye care rather than what it said about him.

“Look if we have to name a toilet seat ‘Brien Holden’ to get the job done, then let’s do it,” he said to the amusement of the audience.

Myopia affects more than 1.6 billion people globally, with two thirds of those affected living in the Asia region and three and a half million Australians. If unchecked, the global number is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2020.

Successful basic research on the nature and cause of myopia, involving more than 500 children from Australia and China, has led to the discovery that the peripheral retinal image plays a major part in stimulating eye growth and myopia. Large scale clinical trials testing both spectacles and contact lenses designed to control the position of the peripheral image has produced promising results.

With myopia, instead of a distant image being focused on the retina, as it needs to be for clear vision, it is focused in front of the retina. Myopia often occurs when children commence school (ages six to seven) and, if left undetected, the condition progresses and can adversely impact the child’s education and social development.

According to Prof. Brien Holden, CEO of the Vision CRC: “For hundreds of years, focusing defects of the eye have been corrected by simply moving the visual image backwards and forwards with spectacle lenses.

“Professor Earl Smith from the University of the Houston College of Optometry has demonstrated that if we move the central image onto the retina but leave the peripheral image behind the retina, the peripheral image can drive the eye to elongate, causing myopia to increase.

“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,” said Prof. Holden.

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

Prof. 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.

“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,” Prof.Holden added.

Dr. Padmaja Sankaridurg, Head of the Myopia Program at Vision CRC, emphasised the nature of the new technology’s appeal saying: “Our unique lens designs act to curve or shift the peripheral image forward, thereby removing the stimulus to axial elongation and myopia progression”.

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