The US Food and Drug Administration has approved overnight orthokeratology contact lenses that manage myopia, also known as nearsightedness.
Myopia worsens when there is axial elongation in a person’s eyes, or when their eyeball’s length grows. The approved product, ACUVUE Abiliti Overnight Therapeutic Lenses by Jacksonville-based Johnson & Johnson Vision, temporarily reshapes a patient’s cornea, or the transparent front part of the eye, to reduce the rate of axial elongation.
A research study found orthokeratology contact lenses reduced the axial elongation in myopic children’s eye by an average of 0.28mm over a 2-year period.
Another study found that myopic children younger than 12 are the most vulnerable to develop severe myopia and are at an increased risk for developing sight-threatening eye diseases when they are older. It also found slowing the development of myopia in children reduces the chance that their condition will worsen into adulthood.
"The prevalence of myopia in children is increasing, and as optometrists we are on the front lines of this epidemic that may threaten the vision of future generations," said Dr. Moshe Mendelson, a paid consultant for Johnson & Johnson Vision, said in a news release.
In 2000, an estimated 1.4 billion people globally were documented to have myopia. That number is estimated to increase to 4.5 billion by 2050.
The lenses are expected to be available in the United States by the end of this year.