Nick Lee presents at International Myopia Conference

We have been following Nick's progress since he won our McDonald Adams Science Scholarship in 2013 in his final year at Mahurangi College. He succeeded in gaining entry to the Optometry course at Auckland University and Nick has one year left to complete his degree. 

Nick recently attended the International Myopia Conference in Birmingham to present the results of his research. The project was titled "Effect of Atropine on Human Multifocal Electroretinogram Responses to Defocus."

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Myopia (short-sightedness) is a growing epidemic across the globe. It is predicted that 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050. The optometric community has employed several strategies to slow progression of myopia - myopia control.

One myopia control option is Atropine eye drops. Atropine usually acts as a muscarinic receptor blocker, forcing the eye's focussing system to relax. Its mechanism of slowing myopia progression is not known. 

Previous studies have shown electrical responses from the retina. Nick's study measured these to find out if this is where atropine is acting.

Compared to eyes with clear focus (know as emmetropia) positive defocus increases the signal; negative defocus decreases the signal. A positive defocus is protective against myopia progression; negative defocus accelerates myopia progression.

This study found atropine to enhance only the positive (protective) component of this electrical response in the peripheral retina. Although a full model is still not able to be formed, this finding is very interesting and  fits in well with other literature presented at the International Myopia Conference.

Nick's scientific poster presented at the International Myopia Conference (Birmingham, 2017) by Nick Lee, Safal Khanal, Phillip Turnbull and John Phillips. For more information please contact: .

Nick's scientific poster presented at the International Myopia Conference (Birmingham, 2017) by Nick Lee, Safal Khanal, Phillip Turnbull and John Phillips. For more information please contact:

Myopia Control

Myopia, or shortsightedness, means distance objects appear blurred and out of focus. In everyday language we use ‘myopic’ to describe a person with a short range focus. Myopia is a growing problem throughout the world. Uncorrected myopia is the second most common cause of blindness globally. Estimates show 22.9% of the world suffers from myopia. Of particular concern are the group with very high prescriptions, or high myopia.

Myopia is not just the need for glasses and high myopia is not simply thicker lenses. With myopia comes increased risk of eye conditions like glaucoma, retinal detachment and macular degeneration. These risks increase with higher prescriptions. 

It is understood there is a genetic component to myopia. Having one parent who is myopic doubles the risk of becoming short sighted. Two parents increase the risk by 8 times. Environmental factors also seem to influence the development of myopia. These include time spent indoors versus outdoors. More time outdoors seems to result in less myopia. Spending a lot of time on close range work, reading and screens, is also associated with more myopia.  

If a child is myopic, the likelihood is this will progress as they grow; while some children have slow rates of progression, for others vision changes rapidly. 

How to control myopia in children has become a hot topic for optometrists. Fortunately there are effective ways to intervene and slow myopia progression. These include Ortho-Keratology (hard contact lenses), multifocal contact lenses, atropine eye drops and progressive or bifocal glasses. Talk to us about the best options for you or your children.

For more information see our resource page, or contact us directly.