Using Bifocals to Slow Myopia (nearsightedness)
Research optometrists from several international universities (Queensland University of Technology in Australia and Hong Kong Polytechnic University) have completed a two year study to test whether the use of bifocals in children can slow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness).
The study included children with an average age of ten years with myopic progression of at least 0.50 diopters in the preceeding year. The children were prescribed one of three treatments:
1. Single vision lenses to correct the nearsightedness. This is the usual Rx by most doctors in the world today.
2. Bifocals with a medium powered lens for near, i.e. +1.50 D.
3. Bifocals with a medium powered lens for near, i.e. +1.50 D. AND a prism correction (3 prism diopters base in prism) in each eye.
Progression was monitored by objective (computerized refraction) means every six months. The results after two years revealed that the group placed in the bifocals with the prism correction (#3 group above) had progressed only -0.70 Diopters compared to the traditional treatment RX of single vision lenses only which had increased an average of -1.55 Diopters. The axial length of the eye also increased more in those using single vision lenses.
Summary: Bifocals with prism correction in children with myopia decreased the progression of myopia substantially!
This is important because high myopia increases the risk of a number of eye diseases in addition to requiring higher prescriptions and thicker lenses to enable the person to see clearly.
Recommendation of the study: Doctors should consider prescribing bifocals with prism correction for children that are showing annual increases in the amount of nearsightedness.