Investigators at The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Optometry and the University of Houston (UH) College of Optometry were awarded grants from the National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, worth approximately $7.5 million over five years.

The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether commercially available soft bifocal contact lenses slow the progression of nearsightedness in children. Nearly 300 children between the ages of 7 and 11 years will be enrolled and randomly assigned to wear soft contact lenses with no reading power, soft contact lenses with medium reading power, or soft contact lenses with strong reading power. They will be followed for three years.

The investigators will measure the length of the eye and amount of nearsightedness to determine whether the light focused in front of the retina by the reading power of the soft bifocal contact lenses will result in slower eye growth and slower progression of nearsightedness.

Jeffrey J. Walline, OD PhD, Study Chair and Associate Professor at The OSU College of Optometry says, “We will learn whether soft bifocal contact lenses that can currently be prescribed will change the growth of the eyes in a way that slows the progression of nearsightedness. If this treatment is effective, the information gained will help optimize the signal to slow eye growth and slow the progression of nearsightedness in the future.” Donald O. Mutti, OD PhD is the Clinic Principal Investigator at OSU, David A. Berntsen, OD PhD is the Clinic Principal Investigator at UH, and Lisa A. Jones-Jordan, PhD is the Director of the Data Coordinating Center at OSU.