Purpose: Higher myopic refractive errors are associated with serious ocular complications that can put visual function at risk. There is respective interest in slowing and if possible stopping myopia progression before it reaches a level associated with increased risk of secondary pathology. The purpose of this report was to review our understanding of the rationale(s) and success of contact lenses (CLs) used to reduce myopia progression.
Methods: A review commenced by searching the PubMed database. The inclusion criteria stipulated publications of clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of CLs in regulating myopia progression based on the primary endpoint of changes in axial length measurements and published in peer-reviewed journals. Other publications from conference proceedings or patents were exceptionally considered when no peer-review articles were available.
Results: The mechanisms that presently support myopia regulation with CLs are based on the change of relative peripheral defocus and changing the foveal image quality signal to potentially interfere with the accommodative system. Ten clinical trials addressing myopia regulation with CLs were reviewed, including corneal refractive therapy (orthokeratology), peripheral gradient lenses, and bifocal (dual-focus) and multifocal lenses.
Conclusions: CLs were reported to be well accepted, consistent, and safe methods to address myopia regulation in children. Corneal refractive therapy (orthokeratology) is so far the method with the largest demonstrated efficacy in myopia regulation across different ethnic groups. However, factors such as patient convenience, the degree of initial myopia, and non-CL treatments may also be considered. The combination of different strategies (i.e., central defocus, peripheral defocus, spectral filters, pharmaceutical delivery, and active lens-borne illumination) in a single device will present further testable hypotheses exploring how different mechanisms can reinforce or compete with each other to improve or reduce myopia regulation with CLs.