Most studies have reported only minimal reductions in myopia progression with bifocal or progressive multifocal spectacles, although somewhat larger, although mostly still clinically insignificant, effects have been reported in children with nearpoint esophoria and/or accommodative dysfunctions. The CONTROL study was a 1-year, prospective, randomized, clinical trial of bifocal contact lenses for control of myopia in children with eso fixation disparities at near.
Eighty-six myopic subjects, aged 8 to 18 years, were enrolled in the study after passing the screening examination. Of these, 79 completed lens assignment and 78 completed the study. The mean refractive error of these 79 subjects was −2.69 ± 1.40D (SD), and all had progressed by −0.50D or more since their last examination. All subjects also had eso fixation disparity at near. Subjects were randomly assigned to wear either Vistakon Acuvue 2 (single-vision soft contact lenses [SVSCLs]) or Vistakon Acuvue Bifocal (bifocal soft contact lenses [BFSCLs]). Bifocal adds were selected to neutralize the associated phoria. Treatment outcomes included cycloplegic autorefraction and axial length, assessed in terms of changes after 6 and 12 months of treatment from pretreatment baseline values.
The BFSCLs significantly slowed myopia progression, with statistically significant differences between the treatment groups after 6 months. After 12 months of treatment, the SVSCL group had progressed by −0.79 ± 0.43D compared with −0.22 ± 0.34D for the BFSCL group (cycloplegic objective spherical equivalent, average of two eyes). Corresponding axial length changes were 0.24 ± 0.17 mm and 0.05 ± 0.14 mm, respectively. All of these differences were found to be statistically significant (unpaired t-tests, p < 0.001).
The distance center bifocal contact lenses tested in this study achieved greater control over myopia progression and axial elongation (>70%) compared with most published results with multifocal spectacles. Further studies are warranted to identify the critical factors and mechanisms underlying this myopia control effect.