News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

NZ scientist behind first FDA-approved child myopia therapy

NZ scientist behind first FDA-approved myopia therapy for kids

An optometry researcher from the University of Auckland is behind the first-ever Food and Drug Administration-(FDA) approved treatment to slow the progression of short-sight in children.

Dr John Phillips, a senior lecturer in the University’s School of Optometry and Vision Science, invented the MiSight contact lens, which slows the progression of myopia in children. The pioneering contact lens therapy has just been approved by the FDA for use in children aged 8-12 years at the start of treatment.

Myopia generally develops in childhood, gets progressively worse until about the age of 18, and then remains relatively stable for life. The prevalence of myopia in New Zealand is estimated to be about 20 percent, but in some Asian countries, nearly 80 percent of children leaving school are myopic.

Myopia happens when the eye grows too long front-to-back, causing light to be focused in front of, rather than on, the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. The abnormal eye growth stretches the retina and its blood supply, vastly increasing the risks of sight-threatening conditions later in life such as retinal detachment, glaucoma and maculopathy.

Eye growth is optically guided and the MiSight contact lens works by optically tricking the eye into thinking the eye longer than it is, so that it slows down its growth rate. The lens has a central zone that provides clear vision (like a regular contact lens) and then an outer ring that focuses light in front of the retina – this is what triggers the slowing in the eye’s growth.

The short-term benefits of better vision for children are obvious, but there are also striking long-term benefits.

Dr Phillips, who leads the University’s Auckland Myopia Laboratory, explains: “The more severe your myopia in young adulthood, the greater your risk of developing sight-threatening issues later on. By curbing myopia in childhood, MiSight lenses hugely reduce these risks, and it also reduces the burden on the health system.”

Globally, this burden is considerable. The prevalence of myopia is projected to increase from approximately two billion people worldwide in 2010 to almost five billion people in 2050.

Dr Phillips came up with the idea for the MiSight lens almost 15 years ago. He and his then-PhD student, Dr Nicola Anstice, carried out a study of 40 children aged 11-14 years that showed promising results, which were published in 2011 in the high-ranking journal Opthalmology.

Dr Phillips patented the basic idea through the University’s innovation commercialisation arm, UniServices. It piqued the interest of Californian company CooperVision, a division of medical device-maker Cooper Companies, and UniServices licensed the lens to them. CooperVision has continued to fund related research and development at the University of Auckland.

Coopervision then sponsored a randomised, controlled multicentre clinical trial of 135 children ages 8 to 12 years who wore either MiSight or conventional soft contact lenses. Published in 2019, the study showed that for the trial’s full three-year period, the progression in myopia of those wearing MiSight lenses was about 60 percent less than those wearing conventional soft contact lenses, and children who used MiSight had about 50 percent less elongation of their eyes. The trial also confirmed the safety of the MiSight lens.

The soft daily disposable lenses are already available in New Zealand and will be on sale in the US from March next year. Due to the FDA’s stringent approval process, products approved by the agency generally go on to gain approval from equivalent bodies around the world.
 
• Read the FDA media release.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>


Howard Davis: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>


Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>


Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland