Gas Permeable Contact Lenses and Myopia Control
Some studies have shown gas permeable contact lenses slow down the progression of myopia. Other studies have failed to show the same correlation. Our eye doctors spend time evaluating your child to see if this therapy, other therapies, or a combination of therapies are appropriate to manage the progression of their myopia.
About Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
In the 1940’s, the first rigid contact lenses were brought to market. These lenses were made of a plastic impermeable to oxygen, polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). The introduction of these lenses marked the first time that the public was mass marketed a vision correction product other than eyeglasses. After a few years of fitting these lenses on patients, optometrists noted interesting differences in wearers of PMMA lenses compared to eyeglass wearers. Certain patients fit in the PMMA lenses demonstrated slower rate of myopia progression, in some cases a total halt, while some patients reported that, for a certain amount of time after they removed the lenses they could see better. In some cases those people reported not having to wear glasses or contact lenses for many hours after removing the lenses. Doctors attributed these effects to wearing of PMMA lenses that were fit flatter than the curvature of the cornea. It appeared that lenses fit flatter than the curve of the cornea exert a gentle pressure on the cornea, causing the cornea to temporarily take on a slightly flatter shape and remain molded that way for a certain period of time after the lens was removed. While that would explain seeing better after removing the lenses, (flatter corneas experience less blur from myopia) the phenomenon of stabilization remained a mystery until only recently, when scientists and doctors began to suspect that peripheral refraction played a role in controlling the worsening vision people with myopia undergo. In the late 1970’s, gas permeable plastics were introduced and gradually replaced the PMMA lenses as gas permeable lenses were healthier for the eye.
Several studies have shown a positive and several studies have shown no correlation between wear of standard gas permeable contact lens and myopia control effect, although the results of studies to determine the correlation between the two has not been conclusive. For more information on the studies behind the claim, visit the myopia doctor directory and contact an eye myopia specialist near you.