LONDON, April 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past 30 years, short-sightedness has increased significantly and now affects 42% of the population(2). As short-sightedness is inherited, it is now it a key health issue facing families; however, the results from a major new study into myopia control(1) have revealed that if children are fitted with special overnight contact lenses, the progression of their short-sightedness can be halted.

The SMART Study(1) into myopia control involves over 250 children who are being monitored over a five-year period. After two years, the control group wearing soft contact lenses experienced an average increase in their prescription of almost one dioptre (equal to 3-4 lines on an eye chart). The children wearing the new overnight contact lenses experienced no clinically significant increase in their myopia.

Whilst myopia rates in the western world were assumed to be 25%, research published last December reported a rise of 66% over the last 30 years.(2) Short-sightedness is typically diagnosed around the age of 10 and progresses at around -0.5 dioptres per year until it stabilises in the early 20's. The primary driver of short-sightedness is genetic, but this sudden increase has been attributed to modern living: children now spend around 7 hours a day staring at computers and mobile phones(4) and less time outdoors in natural light.(3)

Mrs Huang and her husband are both high myopes and their children have inherited this condition. Valerie, the eldest, is -3.75D, her brother Antonio is -6.00D and sister Maxine is -1.00D. I found out about overnight vision correction from my goddaughter in China who has been wearing overnight lenses for seven years. She is now 25 and her prescription has not changed in that time, says Mrs Haung.

Maxine, the youngest child, stands to benefit most from myopia control. At six, her short-sightedness is still mild and has been caught in time. By fitting her now, it is expected that her prescription will remain at around -1.00D and not progress to the higher levels of her brother. Valerie, 15, can also benefit from her prescription not increasing and she is noticing other benefits. As I have got older I have found glasses more inconvenient. I do lots of sport and with swimming I always had to get new goggles every time my prescription changed. Wearing my lenses at night gives me so much more freedom.

Overnight contact lenses are made using a unique computerised map of the eye surface and are specially designed to sleep in. They gently flatten the cornea, altering the angle at which light enters the eye so it focuses correctly on the retina. By holding the eye in the correct shape as the eye develops, the lens acts like a dental brace. When the lenses are removed in the morning, full vision correction is maintained for over 24 hours. The lenses can be worn at any age but for children the additional benefit of stabilising their prescription before it becomes too high is significant. In the long term those with high degrees of short-sightedness are more likely to develop retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataracts.

Jennifer Golden, CEO of i-GO Optical - which markets the new overnight contact lenses, says Whilst i-GO lenses are relatively new in the UK, there are already over 100,000 people worldwide wearing them. They have major benefits for children not only because of the added freedom and confidence its gives them at school but importantly their ability to arrest the development of myopia.

Shelly Bansal, a specialist contact lens practitioner who has fitted a number of adolescents, says: Over the years there have been many products which have claimed to halt myopia progression in children and now for the first time there is real evidence to support overnight vision correction as a treatment for short-sighted children.



- The SMART Study uses i-GO OVC contact lenses, which is the UK trademark for the Emerald Lens design a US-trademarked and patented contact lens made by Euclid Systems Corp, Herndon,VA - Around 75% of all short-sighted people are suitable - prescriptions up to -5.00D with astigmatism less than 1.5D. - Initial design and fitting from GBP200 plus GBP40 per month available on prescription through accredited opticians. - Children can claim a NHS allowance against the treatment. - The lenses are a European CE marked medical device and approved by the US Food and Drugs administration ( - Interested consumers can contact i-GO on +44(0)844-7362579 or visit AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW - Dr S Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO - Lead Clinician The SMART Study - Shelly Bansal FBDO, (Hons)CL, FBCLA - Clinical consultant for i-GO


1. SMART Study - (The Stabilization of Myopia through Accelerated Reshaping Technique)

A 5 year longitudinal study. Year two findings were presented at the Global Specialty Lens Symposium by Dr Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO in Las Vegas (January 2010)

2. Increased Prevalence of Myopia in the United States Between 1971-1972 and 1999-2004

Susan Vitale PhD, MHS Epidemiologist at the National Eye Institute Archives of Ophthalmology December 2009 (

3. Outdoor Activity Reduces the Prevalence of Myopia in Children

Kathryn A. Rose, PhD, at al (2009) (

4. Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds

The Kaiser Family Foundation (2010) (

(Due to the length of the above URLs, it may be necessary to copy and paste this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the space if one exists.)

For more information contact Jennifer Golden on +44(0)7976-439060 or

SOURCE: i-GO Optical

CONTACT: For more information contact Jennifer Golden on +44(0)7976-439060or