Optometry Researchers to Improve Understanding of Short Sightedness Management Strategies in Children

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Researchers at Aston University specialising in myopia - or short sightedness - are starting work on a project with industry partners to better understand how myopia management strategies affect children.

The research team based in the College of Health and Life Sciences has secured a £500,000 grant to determine the impact of myopia management interventions on vision and visual behaviour in children, for example, looking at how their vision responds to an intervention such as spectacles when they view objects at different distances.

The new grant builds upon the team’s portfolio of research in the field of myopia, where clinical studies are underway with children between the ages of six and 15 years old. The researchers are working on slowing the progression of myopia in children. The interventions under trial include low dose atropine eye drops, contact lenses and spectacle lenses.

Myopia is an eye condition where distant objects appear blurry. It typically occurs in childhood and progresses through the teenage years. It can lead to eye disease in later life, as the eye grows longer with myopia, it causes stretching in parts of the eye. Myopia is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the world and it has been predicted to affect approximately 50 per cent of the world's population by 2050, based on trending myopia prevalence figures. Myopia is an overlooked but leading cause of blindness, particularly among the working age population.

The two-year programme of research is being led by an internationally recognised team of academics from the School of Optometry, including Professor Leon Davies, Professor Nicola Logan, Dr Amy Sheppard, and Professor James Wolffsohn. The research grant will also support the appointment of two clinical research optometrists.

Professor Leon Davies, professor of optometry and physiological optics at Aston University and president of the College of Optometrists said: “As Aston University has an established, internationally recognised track record in myopia research, we are pleased to be able to continue our work in this area to further our understanding of myopia management strategies for the benefit of patients.”

Professor Nicola Logan, professor of optometry and physiological optics, at Aston University added: “As an advocate for evidence-based advancements, this research collaboration will further our scientific understanding of myopia progression. The work will increase our knowledge and better facilitate translation to clinical practice to manage young children more actively with myopia.”

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