12. January 2016 11:30
If the effectiveness of the new myopia treatment is really as high as the results of preliminary tests suggest, we may forget about contact lenses and glasses within a decade.
Short-sightedness has become a real public health issue over the past twenty years, reaching epidemic levels in Asian countries (affecting, for instance, 80% of 18-year-olds in Singapore). As a result, researchers keep looking for new ways of stopping or curing the condition, investigating such methods as multifocal contact lenses, eye drops and dietary supplements.
The team behind the latest study researched the effectiveness of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and ultraviolet A radiation in strengthening and flattening the cornea. According to Dr Julian Theng, the medical director of Eagle Eye Centre (Singapore), vitamin B2 is placed on the cornea and then the eye is exposed to ultraviolet radiation for approximately 20 minutes. The radiation makes riboflavin create bonds between collagen molecules, changing the shape of the cornea, the expert continued.
So far, the centre has conducted the procedure in over 10 adult patients, significantly reducing myopia in all of them. However, we will have to wait for the results of a much bigger study to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the new method.