Ed Yeates ReportingA consumer advocacy group petitioned the FDA today to warn parents that distant lenses for myopia may be actually worsening the condition in young children. The move by an organization called I.M.P.A. is drawing strong reactions from ophthalmologists.
While some kids are getting appropriate eye exams and prescription glasses, the International Myopia Prevention Association says others are getting adjustment lenses that only make myopia worse.
Robert Hoffman, M.D./U of U Pediatric Ophthalmologist: "If glasses were prescribed that were much too strong to correct nearsightedness, that could cause a child to have to focus constantly through the glasses to see clearly. Theoretically, that could cause them to become more nearsighted."
Pediatric Ophthalmologist Dr. Robert Hoffman says while possible in theory, it's not likely. He says IMPA is twisting recent research by the National Eye Institute.
Robert Hoffman, M.D.: "I think they may be in some way twisting the intent of that study and using that to further their own desire and agenda."
That study says there have been cases of inappropriate prescriptions for children's glasses for kids with minor signs of nearsightedness.
Robert Hoffman, M.D.: "There are some children that have been prescribed glasses for reasons that are not clear. And there may be someone who stands to benefit from selling them a pair of glasses."
But, Dr. Hoffman says that happens rarely, not often as IMPA implies. Most clinics now use a standard protocol in treating myopia.
Robert Hoffman, M.D.: "It may not be as important, small amounts, very small amounts of nearsightedness probably don't need to be corrected if the nearsightedness is not interfering with the child's ability to function."
IMPA says nearsightedness is reaching epidemic proportions as children spend more time on computers and playing video games. The group claims children only need over the counter reading glasses while doing this to prevent their distant vision from deteriorating. Responding again, Dr. Hoffman says there's no real evidence to support that claim.
IMPA president Don Rehm says myopia is rarely inherited. Nonsense, says Dr. Hoffman. Almost all nearsightedness is inherited. The FDA will now evaluate IMPA's petition.