Myopia has reached epidemic proportions, with research speculating nearly half of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.1 China has even made moves to restrict the video game industry and enforce outdoor time in an effort to rein in myopia prevalence within the country.2 Despite these drastic numbers and political actions, contact lens fitters worldwide are not necessarily jumping on the myopia control band wagon.
A recent survey spanning eight years reveals practitioners worldwide are not fitting children with contact lenses for myopia control with any regularity.3 The survey included contact lens fitters from 66 countries, and asked them to share their first 10 contact lens fits after receiving the survey. The data revealed a total of 535 myopia control fits and 23,830 other lens fits in 31 countries—just 2.3% of fits for myopia. The researchers noted significant differences between countries: 24.9% of the fits were in Austria, while none were reported in the Czech Republic, Greece, Japan, South Korea or Puerto Rico.3
They type of lens was relatively even, with rigid lenses representing 52.1% of myopia control fits. Although they found no difference between approaches for females and males, the researchers did find practitioners fit younger children with myopia control lenses than conventional lenses (a median of age 13 vs. 15, respectively). Most myopia control lenses were fit between the ages of eight and 15, they found.3
The number of fits overall remains low, the researchers noted, but it did increase slowly between the first survey year, 2011, and the last, 2018. “The gradual increase in [myopia control] fitting throughout the survey period perhaps reflects growing concerns among practitioners over the myopia epidemic,” they concluded.3
1. Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, et al. Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016;123(5):1036-42.
2. China targets video gaming to tackle myopia in children. BBC News. www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-china-45366468?__twitter_impression=true. August 31, 2018.
3. Efron N, Morgan PB, Woods CA, et al. International survey of contact lens fitting for myopia control in children. Contact Lens Anterior Eye. July 3, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].