A step against the visual "pandemic": US approves contact lenses that stop myopia

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first contact lens indicated to delay the progression of myopia in children between 8 and 12 years old of age at the beginning of treatment. These soft, disposable and single-use lenses, commercially called 'MiSight', are not designed to be worn overnight.

Myopia is the most frequent cause of visual impairment correctable worldwide. It occurs when the eye grows too long from front to back (axial length). Instead of focusing images on the retina, the images focus on a point in front of the retina. As a result, people with myopia have good near vision, but poor distance vision, which can be corrected, however, with the use of glasses or contact lenses.

Myopia is common in children and tends to increase as they grow. If a person develops severe myopia as a child, he may be susceptible to other eye problems such as early cataracts or retinal detachment during adulthood.

When placed in the eye, a part of the 'MiSight' lenses, developed by the CooperVision company, fix the refractive error to improve distance vision in the eyes, similar to a standard corrective lens. In addition, the concentric peripheral rings in the focus part of the lens of the light in front of the retina (the back of the eye). It is believed that this reduces the stimulus that causes the progression of myopia.

FDA approval is based on data obtained from a prospective clinical trial at four clinical centers and real-world tests. Its safety and efficacy was studied in a three-year randomized controlled clinical trial with 135 children from 8 to 12 years of age at the beginning of treatment who used 'MiSight' or a conventional soft lens.

Throughout the three-year period, the progression of myopia of those who used 'MiSight' was less than that of those who wore conventional soft contact lenses. Also, the people who used these new contact lenses had less changes in the axial length of the balloon eyepiece at each annual check. During the course of the trial, there were no serious ocular adverse events in either arm of the study.

A true "pandemic"

At least five out of 10 Spaniards they use some system of visual correction, that is to say that about 25 million people wear glasses or contact lenses, half of them by myopia, according to data from the General Council of Opticians-Optometrist Colleges (CGCOO), which describes this visual defect as a "pandemic", since according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2050 half of the population will suffer He will suffer it.

To minimize it, the CGCOO recommendations go through an annual vision check, the use of contact lenses as a measure to control their increase, since "the use of special soft contact lenses slows their increase by 49% on average", point, and perform outdoor activities. Very important advice if you consider that one of the main risks of patients with high myopia is retinal detachment, an anomaly that myopia with more than 7 diopters have a 44% higher risk of suffering.

In the world there are 36 million blind people and 217 million with moderate or severe visual impairment. And, according to CGCOO data, sight is the most important sense for 92% of Spaniards, however only 40% of the population undergoes revisions regular. Reason why the different international institutions related to Optometry and Ophthalmic Optics do not cease to highlight the importance of regular checks.

"Sedentary life and excessive use of vision in closer environments is causing more and more people to suffer from myopia, which makes this visual defect the most common among the population of our country," they explain. On the other hand, remember that glasses are, by far, the most popular (82% versus 13% of contact lenses), both among men and women of any age segment. Meanwhile, the youngest are the ones who opt most for contact lenses.

Thus, more than one third of the population between 18 and 35 uses them, exclusively or in addition to glasses, compared to a meager 4% of people over 55 years. On the other hand, 45% of Spaniards over 18 do not use any visual compensation system and only 25% of university students Spaniards enjoy good vision.