The purpose of this work was to evaluate the potential of a novel custom-designed rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens to modify the relative peripheral refractive error in a sample of myopic patients.
Fifty-two right eyes of 52 myopic patients (mean [±SD] age, 21 [±2] years) with spherical refractive errors ranging from −0.75 to −8.00 diopters (D) and refractive astigmatism of 1.00 D or less were fitted with a novel experimental RGP (ExpRGP) lens designed to create myopic defocus in the peripheral retina. A standard RGP (StdRGP) lens was used as a control in the same eye. The relative peripheral refractive error was measured without the lens and with each of two lenses (StdRGP and ExpRGP) using an open-field autorefractometer from 30 degrees nasal to 30 degrees temporal, in 5-degree steps. The effectiveness of the lens design was evaluated as the amount of relative peripheral refractive error difference induced by the ExpRGP compared with no lens and with StdRGP conditions at 30 degrees in the nasal and temporal (averaged) peripheral visual fields.
Experimental RGP lens induced a significant change in relative peripheral refractive error compared with the no-lens condition (baseline), beyond the 10 degrees of eccentricity to the nasal and temporal side of the visual field (p < 0.05). The maximum effect was achieved at 30 degrees. Wearing the ExpRGP lens, 60% of the eyes had peripheral myopia exceeding −1.00 D, whereas none of the eyes presented with this feature at baseline. There was no significant correlation (r = 0.04; p = 0.756) between the degree of myopia induced at 30 degrees of eccentricity of the visual field with the ExpRGP lens and the baseline refractive error.
Custom-designed RGP contact lenses can generate a significant degree of relative peripheral myopia in myopic patients regardless of their baseline spherical equivalent refractive error.