While you likely think of multifocal contact lenses for your presbyopic patients, research suggests that the NaturalVue Multifocal 1 Day Contact Lenses from Visioneering Technologies, Inc. may slow the progression of myopia and possibly reduce refractive error.

In a recent study published in Eye & Contact Lens, Jeffrey Cooper, OD, MS, of SUNY College of Optometry, and colleagues conducted a retrospective case series analysis of 32 patients.¹ The patients ranged in age from 6 to 19, at least −0.50D myopic progression since their previous exam and had at least one six-month follow-up visit (though some patients were followed for up to 25 months).

NaturalVue Multifocal uses VTI’s Neurofocus Optics technology, meaning the lens works with the brain. Visioneering Technologies rolled out the lenses in plus powers at Optometry’s Meeting in June, bringing the power range to +4.00D to -12.25D (0.25D steps), with an expansion of up to +6.00D planned for the future.

The patients showed an average annual progression -0.85D of myopia before wearing the NaturalVue lenses. After wearing the lenses, however, myopic progression was reduced to -0.03D per year, with no significant differences between the left and right eyes, the researchers found.

Overall, 98.4% of the children showed reduction of annualized myopic progression; 91% showed a decrease of 70% or greater, results show. Furthermore, 81.25% showed complete halting of myopic progression, including 6.25% demonstrating myopic regression.

Cooper’s team found that the decrease in myopic progression ranged from −6.5% (increasing myopia) to 167.7% (decreasing myopia).

The researchers believe that the extended depth of focus (center distance), the result of a gradual, continuous nature of the relative plus power increase, and a higher amount of plus power in the periphery are what allow the NaturalVue Multifocal to slow the progression of myopia and possibly lead to regression of the refractive error.

“When myopia is corrected with traditional contact lenses or glasses, the central retina is in focus, whereas the peripheral retina is out of focus, resulting in relative peripheral hyperopic defocus,” they write. “From animal studies, it is believed that this peripheral hyperopic defocus may be the stimulus for the development of myopia. Therefore, treatment of myopic progression must eliminate the peripheral relative hyperopic defocus created by spherically correcting ophthalmic lenses/contact lenses, or somehow block the biochemical process causing axial elongation.”

The researchers conclude that eye-care practitioners should consider using multifocal contact lens designs that slow the progression of myopia in children as part of their clinical practice.

1. Cooper J, OʼConnor B, Watanabe R, et al. Case Series Analysis of Myopic Progression Control With a Unique Extended Depth of Focus Multifocal Contact Lens. Eye Contact Lens 2018 Sep;44(5):e16-e24.

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