In a global significant breakthrough, Australia has led the development of a new lens that can slow a short-sighted person's rate of vision deterioration and aid them to see.
The results collected from clinical trials in Australian and Chinese children have shown that these lenses could restore clear vision and slow any worsening of their myopia by 30 per cent over time.
Professor Brien Holden of the University of NSW, the lead researcher in partnership with the University of Houston College of Optometry in the United States said conventional lenses used in glasses and contact lenses don't have this anti-myopia effect.
The new anti-myopia lenses work by redirecting a myopic person' central vision onto their retina and also their peripheral vision, a small change but has the major effect for eye health.
In the old days it was thought the increase in myopia was solely genetic, said Dr Holden, also a chief executive of the Vision Corporative Research Centre (CRC).
We hadn't been thinking, as a world and industry, about peripheral vision and its role in the progression of myopia.
... It is peripheral rays of light which control the growth of the eye.
By focusing only on correcting a person's central vision, without looking into their peripheral vision, a further elongation of they eye could be prompted, worsening their short-sightedness over the years, said Prof Holden.
He said if myopic children wore these lenses until they turned 30, by which time most of the deterioration usually occurred, problematic eye growth would be reduced and their vision much improved.
There are about 1,600 million people who are myopic around the world ... and a thousand million of them are children, said Prof Holden.
Myopia increases the risk of cataracts and glaucoma later in life.
Why would you sell a pair of contact lenses of glasses that do not slow the process of myopia if you could do that?
It's our belief that every spectacle and contact lens should have an anti-myopia effect in it because, even it is very slowly progressive, it will help to reduce that, explains Prof Holden.