Glasses invented to try to stop nearsightedness in kids

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Glasses invented to try to stop nearsightedness in kids

March 31, 2018

Nearsightedness in children is surging.  Some say it is partly due to their screen-use habits and reluctance to go outside and play. Can anything be done to protect their young eyes?  

A UW Medicine research effort to design therapeutic glasses that children can wear to try to prevent myopia is reported in this month's Seattle Magazine.

By 2050, 5 billion people on Earth will have myopia, according to a 2016 study in the Journal of Ophthalmology. At least 1 billion of those people will have high myopia, making it the number-one blinding disease in the world. 

Jay and Maureen Neitz, professors of opthalmology at the UW School of Medicine, may have found a way to turn those statistics around. They’ve collaborated to create a pair of therapeutic glasses that children with regular vision can wear to prevent myopia for life. The glasses, which can’t repair damage that has already occurred, can be taken off at the end of adolescence, when the eyes stop growing. Three studies the scientists conducted, that compared their therapeutic glasses with standard glasses, show that the glasses are effective at slowing or stopping the progression of myopia. The Neitzes’ company, Waveshift, has raised money to do a clinical trial aimed at getting FDA approval.