The Bifocal Lenses in Nearsighted Kinds study (aka BLINK) is a major clinical trail in America accessing whether or not soft bifocal contacts can benefit children with myopia. Both Ohio State University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are major backers of this double blind, randomized clinical trial. Once this study is finished, it will hold the record for the largest myopia control study ever performed.
There are 294 children involved in this trial ranging from seven to eleven years old. All of the children in this study have a spherical component of between -0.75 D and -5.00 D. These participants also have greater than 1.00 D astigmatism and 20/25 or greater LogMAR distance visual acuity scores.
Biofinity made all of the contact lenses used in this study. The children were given one of the following to wear: single-vision lenses, the multifocal "D" lenses with a +1.50 D add power, or the multifocal "D" contacts with a +2.50 D ad power.
It took researchers two years to choose their current 294 participants out of a pool of 443 youngsters. Researchers said this study would not examine the differences in eye performance between different races.
In addition to Ohio State University and the NIH, the National Eye Institute and the University of Houston are collaborating in the BLINK study. All researchers involved say there's good reason to believe multifocal lenses can slow down the progression of myopia, especially in terms of halting axial elongation.
Eye doctors in almost all Western and Asian nations have noticed a huge increase in the number children with nearsightedness. Called the "myopia boom," eye doctors don't know the exact cause for this drastic increase, but there are a few theories.
A few factors ophthalmologists believe contribute to this "myopia boom" include increased time staring at electronic screens, a lack of natural sunlight, and mineral-deficient diets. A few key nutrients children just aren't getting for proper eye function include Vitamin D3 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
While Western nations are seeing an increase in the rates of myopia, this "myopia boom" is hitting East Asia the hardest. In nations like Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan, over 80 percent of children have myopia. There's no clear reason why Asians are more susceptible to myopia. Some have suggested that it might be linked to genetics.
Nearsightedness is a serious issue at any age, but especially for a young child. Children who aren't treated for this disorder early on do very poorly at school and are at a greater risk for developing blindness down the road. These children are also more prone to mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
Eye doctors recommend parents get their children's eyes checked out as early and as often as possible. The warning signs that your child might have myopia include excessive eye rubbing, frequent headaches, and difficulty reading.
Professor Jeffrey J. Walline, who teaches at Ohio State's College of Optometry, is the responsible party in the BLINK study.