There could be a new way to treat myopia. Approximately 30% of the Canadian population is myopic or in other words are nearsighted. You may be in this population of people who struggle to see objects that are far away. This is caused when the shape of your eye is elongated, thus focusing light rays in front of your retina instead of directly on your retina. The number of people with myopia is expected to grow and researchers around the world are investigating how to prevent the progression of this common genetic condition.
Currently, there are groups and industry leaders using both special types of glasses, contact lenses and topical therapeutic agents (drops) to slow the progression of myopia, with some success.
One ophthalmology company based in Tokyo, Kubota Vision, is one of the groups exploring such technology. They released results from a clinical trial last May, that utilized optical projection technology to project myopically-defocused images on the retina. This method provided positive results in the test subjects, suggesting that this could be a treatment option in the future to prevent the progression of myopia in children.
The study included 12 myopic subjects between the ages of 21 and 32 years. Kubota studied the effect of the myopically-defocused images on axial length (the distance from the anterior cornea to the retinal pigment epithelium). They found that they were able to decrease the axial length in subjects, a promising result that suggests nearsightedness could be treated.
Armed with this study, Kubota Vision plans to develop electronic eyeglasses that would harness their technology in a wearable form. A clinical study of the prototype design will take place this year, with a potential release of a wearable prototype of the electronic glasses by December 2020.
“These positive clinical results have brought about a great amount of excitement for the potential treatment of myopia,” said Ryo Kubota, Chairman and President of Kubota Vision Inc. “With Kubota Glasses providing us with the optimism of being able to prevent any associated eye disease causing blindness, we have taken that significant step forward in our mission of reaching a ‘World without Blindness.’”
This is certainly a promising discovery in the field of eye health that could potentially provide a form of myopia correction at an early age.