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Nearsighted children may benefit from rigid contact lenses

COLUMBUS, Ohio New research suggests that rigid gas permeable contact lenses may help slow the progression of nearsightedness, or myopia, in young children.

At the end of a three-year study of more than a hundred 8- to 11-year olds, researchers determined that wearing rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses slowed the progression of myopia by nearly 30 percent, compared to soft contact lens wear.

Only recently did researchers find that young children could handle the responsibility of wearing contact lenses.

Rigid contact lenses alter the shape of the cornea, which plays a small role in the development of myopia, said Jeffrey Walline, the study's lead author and an adjunct assistant professor of optometry at Ohio State University.

He and his colleagues caution that the RGP lenses won't stop myopia in its tracks, and also that the effects of these lenses probably aren't permanent. But the researchers also say that RGP lenses could be a good option for nearsighted children who can adapt to wearing them.

"Severe myopia, which is fairly rare, can lead to a detached retina and permanent vision loss or glaucoma," Walline said. "Theoretically, wearing RGP lenses could lessen the severity of myopia, and likewise the chances of developing one of these problems.

"But it's also a matter of convenience keeping myopia's progression in check may mean that a child can see his bedside clock, or walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to depend on glasses."

The study appears in the December 2004 issue of the journal Archives of Opthalmology.

While myopia can develop at any age, it most often begins during childhood, around ages 8 to 14. Progression typically slows by the mid-teens for females and by the mid-20s for males.

The researchers evaluated 116 children who participated in the Contact Lens and Myopia Progression (CLAMP) study at Ohio State. All children were given about two month
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Contact: Jeffrey Walline
JWalline@optometry.osu.edu
614-247-6840
Ohio State University
13-Dec-2004


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