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Specialty Contact Lenses May One Day Help Halt the Progression of Nearsightedness in Children

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Angela Stark The Optical Society 202.416.1443 astark@osa.org

Specialty Contact Lenses May One Day Help Halt the Progression of Nearsightedness in Children

Researchers present new approach that may lead to possible cure for myopia at Frontiers in Optics 2012


Diagram of myopia in the human eye. Credit: National Eye Institute.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2012—Nearsightedness, or myopia, affects more than 40 percent of people in the U.S. and up to 90 percent of children in some parts of Asia. The problem begins in childhood and often progresses with age. Standard prescription lenses can correct the defocus but do not cure nearsightedness, and do not slow progression rates as children grow. But recent experimental work by biomedical scientist David Troilo and colleagues at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry in New York City supports the development of a potential cure for myopia by using specialty contact lenses that coax the eye to grow in a way that can correct nearsighted vision while reducing myopia progression. Troilo will describe his findings at the Optical Society’s (OSA) Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2012, taking place Oct. 14–18 in Rochester, N.Y.
 
Myopia develops when the eye is too long, making it difficult to focus light from distant objects on the retina. Glasses or contact lenses that correct the defocus on the main visual axis can create a slight degree of farsightedness in the peripheral retina, Troilo says. The peripheral farsightedness may worsen myopia because as children grow, the eye grows to move the retina to where the light is focused, naturally lengthening the eye even further.
 
Troilo has shown that specially designed contact lenses that alter how light is focused in the peripheral retina can induce changes in growth that help reshape the eye in the desired way. The experimental lenses use different focal powers within a single lens: either alternating focal powers across the lens, or confined to the outer edge. Experiments with the new lenses found that they changed eye growth and refractive state, or focus, in a predictable way. The lenses successfully reduced the elongation of the eye that causes myopia progression.
 
Several contact lens designs may soon be available to help eye doctors manage the progression of myopia in children, Troilo says.

Presentation FW1C.1 “Optical Approaches for Controlling Myopia Progression: Evidence from Experimental Models” takes place Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 8 a.m. EDT at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

PRESS REGISTRATION: A press room for credentialed press and analysts will be located in the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, Sunday through Thursday, Oct. 14-18. Those interested in obtaining a press badge for FiO should contact OSA's Angela Stark at 202.416.1443 or astark@osa.org.
 

About the Meeting

Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2012 is the Optical Society’s (OSA) 96th Annual Meeting and is being held together with Laser Science XXVIII, the annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Laser Science (DLS). The two meetings unite the OSA and APS communities for five days of quality, cutting-edge presentations, fascinating invited speakers and a variety of special events spanning a broad range of topics in optics and photonics—the science of light—across the disciplines of physics, biology and chemistry. FiO 2012 will also offer a number of Short Courses designed to increase participants’ knowledge of a specific subject in the optical sciences while offering the experience of insightful teachers. An exhibit floor featuring leading optics companies will further enhance the meeting. More information at www.FrontiersinOptics.org.

About OSA

Uniting more than 180,000 professionals from 175 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.



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