The prevalence of myopia has been steadily rising, with 28 per cent of the global population said to be affected in 2010 and to rise to affect nearly 50 per cent by 2050. Increasing levels of myopia increase the risk of vision impairment and in particular, high myopia is associated with the risk of serious and permanent visual disability due to associated sight-threatening complications. To stem the burden associated with higher levels of myopia, there are efforts to slow the progression of myopia, and several optical and pharmaceutical strategies have been found useful in slowing myopia to varying degrees. More recently, numerous multifocal soft contact lenses and extended depth of focus soft contact lenses (collectively referred to as myopia control contact lenses) were found effective in slowing myopia. As opposed to overnight orthokeratology, myopia control contact lenses are worn during the day and the hypotheses proposed to explain the efficacy of these lenses are generally based on the premise that the stimulus for eye growth is a defocused retinal image with hyperopic blur either centrally or peripherally. Although the individual power profiles of the lenses vary, the contact lens generally incorporates 'positive power' to reduce the hyperopic blur and/or impose myopic defocus or in the case of the extended depth of focus lens, has a power profile designed to optimise retinal image quality for points on or in front of the retina. The use of soft contact lenses as a platform for myopia control offers an exciting and effective avenue to manage myopia but there is a need for further research on issues such as the mechanism underlying control of myopia, improving efficacy with lenses, and understanding rebound on discontinuation. More significantly, although contact lenses are generally safe and improve quality of life in older children, one of the major challenges for improved uptake and acceptance of contact lenses centres on the perceived risk of complications with lens wear. This issue needs to be addressed.
Keywords: children; contact lenses; myopia; progression.
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