New contact lens approved that slows myopia progression in children

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Food and Drug Administration has just approved a new contact lens that will slow the progression of myopia in children. Dr. Barry Wasserman, a pediatric eye surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital, said glasses are fine for most kids, but this is an option for kids between 8 and 12 with severe cases who are at risk for serious eye complications.

"Myopia is nearsightedness, that's trouble with your vision seeing distance, across the room and across the street," explained Wasserman, "and it affects millions of people around the world, it's only truly dangerous to the eye when it gets to very high levels when it's associated with retinal detachment and other eye diseases."

Wasserman stressed the lens is not a cure, and will only slow the progression of the problem. For some children that's a huge help.

"If I have a child who is already pre-adolescent and they're already very nearsighted, and I'm worried about them getting extremely nearsighted where they're at risk for retinal detachment, or they're going to be unable to have refractive surgery," said Wasserman on to whom he would recommend the lens.

For most people, however, nearsightedness levels off after puberty, and glasses, contacts or surgery work well.