It is estimated that by 2050, almost half the world will be short sighted. Having myopia (short sightedness) puts your child at risk for certain eye conditions like cataract, glaucoma, tears or detachment of retina or myopic macular degeneration which can threaten their eye sight.1
Is there a cure for myopia?
As of now there is no cure for myopia. No eye exercises or vitamins or medicines can reverse myopia. Wearing the right spectacles or undergoing laser surgery as an adult can correct one’s vision but cannot cure myopia.
A ray of hope…
Interestingly, the recent few years have seen the emergence of fascinating new technology which shines a ray of hope. Orthokeratology is a treatment where children wear contact lenses at night while sleeping and have shown to slow down the progress of myopia. Atropine eye drops have also been found useful.
Two new technologies of spectacle lenses have found to have slowed down the progression of myopia in children. These two technologies are HAL (Highly Aspherical Lenslet) and DIMS (Defocus incorporated multiple segments). These are particularly useful in children who are not ready for contact lenses.
How do HAl and DIMS lenses work in myopia?
Normally we are able to see clearly because the rays of light reflect off objects, enter our eye and are focused onto the retina at the back of our eye. In myopic eyes, the eyeball is longer because of which the rays get focused in front of the retina causing persons with myopia to see blurry images if they do not wear glasses. Wearing minus powered glasses bends the rays of light such that they get focused exactly on the retina. However, this focusing happens only with our central vision, while the peripheral vision remains defocused. The rays of light that meet behind the retina now gradually go on to give a feedback to the brain that the eye is shorter than needed. Hence over time, the eyeball grows slightly longer causing the spectacle powers to increase over time.
Now this is where these new lenses work differently. They have a central area which works like normal glasses for central vision2 . Around this central area is a special zone which causes the rays of light to now meet in front of the retina gradually reducing the feedback going to the brain that the eye ball needs to elongate (ultimately slowing the increase of the spectacle numbers).
Do these slow the progress of myopia?
A number of studies done in the last 2 -3 years have shown promising results. A latest study presented in May 2022 studied children for a six year period.3 The study found that a group of kids who wore DIMS spectacles had a definitely slower progress of myopia than the group which wore regular spectacles (called single vision spectacles) throughout or a group that wore DIMS spectacles for 3.5 years and then switched to regular glasses. Another Vietnamese study in children also showed that HAL lenses helped slow down the progression of Myopia.
In India, these lenses ar available in private practice since Feb – March 2022 and are an exciting new development in slowing progress of myopia in our children.
- Williams K, Hammond C. High myopia and its risks. Community Eye Health. 2019;32(105):5-6.
- The Adaptation and Acceptance of Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segment Lens for Chinese Children – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-optical-design-of-Defocus-Incorporated-Multiple- Segments-DIMS-lenses-The-center-of_fig1_337940998 [accessed 27 Aug, 2022]
- Carly SY Lam, Wing Chun Tang, Han Yu Zhang, Dennis Yan-yin Tse, Chi-ho To; Myopia control in children wearing DIMS spectacle lens: 6 years results. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):4247.
Want to know more about controlling your child’s spectacle numbers? Consult Paediatric Eye Specialist Dr. Prachi Agashe at Agashe Hospital in Kurla, Mumbai. You can get in touch with Dr. Prachi Agashe via email at email@example.com or book an appointment by calling on +91 98673 55353