Clinical trials to combat short sightedness in children underway at Aston UniversityAugust 23, 20212 min read
Clinical trials to treat myopia - or short sightedness - in children are now underway. They are being conducted by researchers from Aston University in partnership with industry and in collaboration with the Universities of Queens, Ulster, Glasgow Caledonian, Anglia Ruskin, Waterloo and TU Dublin, with one of the trials funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
The myopia research team in the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University is recruiting children between the ages of six to 15 years old, to take part in the clinical studies, which involve a range of different interventions that aim to slow the progression of myopia in children. The interventions under trial include low dose atropine eye drops, contact lenses and spectacle lenses.
Myopia is an eye condition where distant objects appear blurry. It typically occurs in childhood and progresses through the teenage years. It can lead to eye disease in later life, as the eye grows longer with myopia, it causes stretching in parts of the eye. Myopia is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the world and it has been predicted to affect approximately 50 per cent of the world's population by 2050, based on trending myopia prevalence figures. Myopia is an overlooked but leading cause of blindness, particularly among the working age population.
At present, different designs of soft contact lenses, orthokeratology contact lenses (lenses worn overnight to correct the myopia), novel spectacle lenses and eye drops are all being used to slow eye growth and myopia progression in children. The aim in this trial is to manage myopia with an intervention at a young age in order to maximise the impact on slowing down the progression of myopia.
Lead researcher professor, Nicola Logan, said:
“Myopia is often considered benign because the blurred vision is easily corrected with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. Higher levels of myopia are associated with increased risk of pathological complications, but it is important to note that there is no safe level of myopia. Even low levels of myopia increase the risk of sight-threatening eye conditions.
“We are at an exciting time whereby we now have interventions based on research evidence that can be used in clinical practice that will help to slow down the rate of progression of myopia.
“In these trials we want to find out the impact of different interventions on myopia progression in UK children, as well as look at why myopia develops and how it progresses in children, to see if we can enhance the current interventions. New information may be used to make the myopia control interventions more effective.”
The researchers are aiming to recruit around 200 children aged between six and 15 years old across the three trials by 2021.
If you are a parent or guardian of children who have myopia and feel this may be suitable for your children, then you can contact the research team at firstname.lastname@example.org or (+44)121 204 4100 for further information.
Dr Nicola Logan Professor in Optometry
Dr Logan's current research interests include the development, progression and managment of myopia.