A new contact lens just launched in Australia is showing exceptional results for myopia control.
The lens, NaturalVue, was originally designed as a multifocal to correct presbyopia (reading vision problems) but studies have shown that it’s also effective at slowing, halting (or even reversing) the progress of myopia (or short-sightedness) in children’s eyes. This is great news for short-sighted Australian children.
What is myopia progression?
Myopia (or short-sightedness) normally gets worse over time. This is called ‘myopia progression’.
This usually happens during childhood and teenage years, but can occasionally continue into adulthood.
Mostly, the change or worsening in your myopia slows down or stops by the time you’re in your early 20s. The faster your myopia progresses, the higher your glasses prescription will end up. And the higher your glasses prescription, the more at risk you are of several eye diseases including retinal detachment, glaucoma, and macular disease.
What is myopia control?
Traditional glasses and contact correct distance vision but do nothing to slow down the progress of myopia.
Do NaturalVue contact lenses work?
At the Eye Practice, we are very excited about these new lenses. Early results have shown that for children wearing the NaturalVue contact lens (for 6-25 months):
- 91% of kids showed a slowing of their rate of myopia progression of 70% or more
- 80% of the kids showed no progression at all over the 6-25 months
- Rate of eyeball growth reduced by 50%
These results were very consistent across three separate study groups. Keep an eye out for updates as further studies are published.
Is this suitable for my child?
That depends! Some children are better suited to contact lens wear than others. And it’s not just about age. We have 7-year-olds who successfully wear contact lenses regularly, while some teenagers fail in the same lens. Why is this?
Adequate parental supervision is very important, as is a responsible attitude in the child. These contact lenses come in a wide range of powers and will fit most eyes. Your optometrist will be best placed to advise you if your child is suited to wearing multifocal contact lenses to slow or halt the myopia.
Where can I get NaturalVue?
The Eye Practice one of the first clinics in Australia to have access to this lens. It’s available in a daily disposable design that requires no cleaning or overnight storage. This significantly reduces the risk of complications associated with contact lenses.
Are they safe?
Contact lenses come with some risks, such as eye irritations and infections. These risks are kept very low with proper hygiene techniques. Significant infections are rare.
To keep things in perspective, the risk of future eye health problems associated with high myopia is much greater.
Kids in the youngest age groups (9-15) are actually the safest contact lens wearers, with the lowest infection rates. This is most likely due to good compliance and parental supervision.
How much do they cost?
These lenses cost ~$2 each, so for $4 per day, you can slow (or stop, in 75% of cases, according to clinical studies) your child's myopia.
Is NaturalVue suitable for other vision problems?
This lens also works for anyone needing reading glasses, giving both clear distance and near vision – even in low lighting. In fact, this is what it was originally developed for.