By Denis Langlois
Eye care professionals are on the front lines in the fight against myopia in children, a global health crisis that experts forecast will affect half of the world’s population by 2050.
As part of its ongoing efforts to equip ECPs with the best tools to combat the vision condition, which can cause sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, Essilor Canada is launching a suite of game-changing, cutting-edge products and tools aimed at slowing down myopia progression.
The world leader in vision care is introducing the Essilor® Stellest™ lens, which impedes myopia progression by 67 per cent on average compared to single-vision lenses, when worn 12 hours daily.
The lenses are comfortable, easy to adapt to children, and are created with pioneering H.A.L.T. technology, designed to create, for the first time, a volume of signal that slows down the elongation of the eye.
Essilor Canada is also offering the Myopia Expert 700 device and Essibox Myopia Care digital solution to help ECPs improve their myopia management.
The launch of Essilor’s new innovative tools in the fight against myopia, planned for early this year, comes at a time when Canadian ECPs are seeing a significant rise in the prevalence of myopia and as experts warn that cases could continue to climb due to children engaging in more near-vision activities and spending less time outdoors.
Recently, Optical Prism magazine spoke with Essilor Canada president Christophe Perreault about the myopia epidemic and the company’s new myopia management tools.
Q. Why has it been important to Essilor to take a leading role in addressing the myopia issue in children?
A. Myopia is one of the most common visual disorders in the world. Today, already more than one-third of the world’s population has myopia, and the global prevalence of myopia is increasing at an alarming rate. By 2050, it is estimated that half of the world’s population will be nearsighted and the rate of people with high myopia (≤ -5.00D) is expected to nearly double. The WHO and many experts agree that we must act now as any level of myopia increases the risk of sight-threatening eye diseases at an adult age.
As the world leader in vision care, it is very simply our responsibility to play a leading role in the fight against myopia with cutting-edge innovation and pioneering science to bring solutions to children to help slow down the progression of myopia and prevent high myopia in the future.
Myopia management today represents a tremendous opportunity for eyecare professionals to provide the highest quality of care and impact the lives of many young children because we have the tools to proactively detect and manage myopia.
Q. Please tell us about the journey to developing the Essilor® Stellest™ lens and pioneering H.A.L.T.* technology
A.The Essilor® Stellest™ lens is the culmination of more than 30 years of academic studies, product design, rigorous research efforts, and collaborating with the top research institutes and myopia experts.
From clinical trials in the 1980s to the 2010 launch of the Myopilux®Max range and to recent strategic partnerships with leading organizations such as the International Myopia Institute, Essilor has been committed to developing innovative and effective solutions to slow down myopia progression in children and contribute to preventing high myopia in the future. Today, this commitment enables the company to offer a complete patient journey, including instruments, digital solutions, and lenses.
Q. Why is the Essilor® Stellest™ lens a game-changer in the fight against myopia?
A. The Essilor® Stellest™ lens has been designed to correct and control myopia with no compromises. It corrects myopia, thanks to a unifocal zone which gives a perfectly clear image in distance vision. It also slows down the progression of myopia thanks to the H.A.L.T. (Highly Aspherical Lenslet Target) technology which consists of a constellation of invisible aspherical lenslets spread on 11 rings. For the first time, a spectacle lens was designed to create a volume of signal that slows down the elongation of the eye. The optical properties of the lenslets on each ring have been ingeniously determined to provide a volume of signal always in front of the retina and following its shape.
The clinical study showed that it slowed the progression of myopia by an average of 67%**, compared to single vision lenses, when worn at least 12 hours a day. In addition, Essilor® Stellest™ lenses are comfortable and easy to adapt for children: 90% of children are fully adapted within three days and 100% within one week***.
Q. How will Essilor’s myopia management system help to transform the way ECPs tackle myopia?
A. Fitting a myopic child with Essilor® Stellest™ lenses does not disrupt the existing protocol for children in general, but an essential element of the assessment of a myopic child is the measurement of axial length, which has now become the gold standard because it is a measurement that allows for the definition of myopia progression warning levels. This is why we propose, in addition to lenses, a highly accurate, turnkey resource that enables proactive myopia management by eyecare professionals through instruments such as the Myopia Expert 700 with its digital Essibox Myopia Care solution.
We have already been working for a few months with Canadian experts in an advisory committee and with eye care professionals on a pilot launch to share best practices and meet the specific needs of Canadians with comprehensive myopia management solutions. We also developed some specific tools as the Essilor® Stellest™ Passport to educate parents and involve children in their care journey.
At Essilor, we are convinced that good vision is a fundamental human right and that it is essential to our daily well-being and quality of life. Myopia can affect quality of life, learning and development, especially in children, where 80% of learning is done through vision as research has shown. Children with poor vision are at a disadvantage in school. That is why we are very proud and excited to bring a full range of myopia management solutions to Canada, making it the first country in North America to get this vision care portfolio.
* Highly Ashperical Lenslet Target
** Compared to single vision lenses, when worn 12 hours a day. Two-year prospective, controlled, randomized, double-masked clinical trial results on 54 myopic children wearing Stellest™ lenses compared to 50 myopic children wearing single vision lenses. Efficacy results based on 32 children who declared wearing Stellest™ lenses at least 12 hours per day every day. Bao J. et al. (2021). Myopia control with spectacle lenses with aspherical lenslets: a 2-year randomized clinical trial. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci.; 62(8):2888.
*** Two-year prospective, controlled, randomized, double-masked clinical trial results on 54 myopic children wearing Stellest™ lenses compared to 50 myopic children wearing single vision lenses. Results based on 32 children who declared wearing Stellest™ lenses at least 12 hours per day every day. Bao, J. et al. (2021). One-year myopia control efficacy of spectacle lenses with aspherical lenslets. Br. J. Ophthalmol. doi:10.1136/bjophthalmol-2020-318367.