Purpose: To test whether rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens wear can reduced the rate of myopia progression in school age children.
Design: Randomized clinical trial.
Setting: Single clinical center.
Study population: Both eyes of 428 Singaporean children.
Inclusion criteria: 6 through 12 years of age with myopia between -1 and -4 diopters, astigmatism <or= 2 diopters, no prior contact lens wear, no other ocular pathologies.
Intervention: Spectacle or RGP lens correction for myopia. After a 3-month adaptation period, 383 children were followed, and 298 (78%) remained after 24 months.
Outcome measures: Cycloplegic subjective refraction, keratometry, and axial length measured at 12 and 24 months.
Results: Children who adapted to contact lenses wore them for a median of 7 hours per day, but no more than 40% wore them at least 8 hours per day, 7 days per week. Spectacles were worn for a median of 15 hours per day at the time of the 24-month follow-up. There was an increase in the spherical equivalent of -1.33 and -1.28 diopters (P =.64), and axial length increased by 0.84 and 0.79 mm (P =.38) over 2 years among children randomized to contact lenses and spectacles, respectively. Adjustment for baseline differences between the groups and for hours per day of contact lens wear did not alter these findings.
Conclusions: Rigid gas permeable lenses did not slow the rate of myopia progression, even among children who used them regularly and consistently. It is unlikely that this intervention holds promise as a method by which to slow the rate of progression of myopia in children.