The increasing prevalence of the use of distance-centered multifocal (MF) contact lenses as a method of myopia control in the pediatric population calls for a better understanding of binocularity and accommodation in children wearing these lenses. This was a prospective, randomized, crossover, single visit study that enrolled myopic children with normal accommodation and binocular vision and no history of myopia control treatment. All subjects were fitted with Coopervision Biofinity single vision (SV) and MF (+2.50D center distance add) contact lenses. Accommodative responses (photorefraction) and phorias (Modified Thorington) were measured at 4 distances (>3m, 100cm, 40cm, 25cm). Secondary measures included high and low contrast logMAR acuity, accommodative amplitude, and accommodative facility. Differences between MF and SV contact lenses were analyzed using repeated measures regression and paired t-tests.
A total of 16 subjects, aged 10-15 years, completed the study. There was a small decrease in high (SV: -0.08, MF: +0.01) and low illumination (SV:-0.03, MF: +0.08) (both p<0.01) visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity (SV: 2.0 log units, MF: 1.9, p=0.015) with MFs. Subjects were more exophoric at 40cm (SV: -0.41 Δ, MF: -2.06 Δ) and 25cm (SV: -0.83 Δ, MF: -4.30 Δ) (both p<0.01). With MFs, subjects had decreased accommodative responses at distance (SV: -0.04 D; MF: -0.37 D, p=0.02), 100 cm (SV: +0.37 D; MF: -0.35 D, p<0.01), 40 cm (SV: +1.82 D; MF: +0.62 D, p<0.01), and 25 cm (SV: +3.38 D; MF: +1.75 D, p<0.01). There were no significant differences in accommodative amplitude (p=0.66) or accommodative facility (p=0.54).
Children wearing MF contact lenses exhibited reduced accommodative responses and more exophoria at increasingly higher accommodative demands than with SV contact lenses. This suggests that children may be relaxing their accommodation and using the positive addition or increased depth of focus from added spherical aberration of the MF lenses. Further studies are needed to evaluate other lens designs, different amounts of positive addition and aberrations, and long-term adaptation to lenses.