MBKU Finds Success in Identifying Subjects for Clinical Trial, but Still Looking for Additional Participants

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Marshall B. Ketchum University is one of seven sites globally participating in the Pediatric Nearsightedness Study and enrolled the most subjects in the month of October.

A picture of the Marshall B. Ketchum University seal.
With the high and increasing prevalence of myopia, intervening at a younger age makes a lot of sense.

Myopia or nearsightedness is an important public health problem; it is the fifth most common cause of vision impairment in developed countries. In addition to impacting a person’s quality of life, high amounts of myopia lead to greater risk of eye problems such as glaucoma and retinal detachment.

Recent research has suggested that peripheral hyperopic defocus contributes to eye length elongation, thus increasing myopic progression. Conversely, eliminating hyperopic defocus using optical correction appears to slow the progression of myopia. Marshall B. Ketchum University’s participation in this randomized, multi-center trial aims to test the hypothesis that optical correction with center-distance multi-focal daily disposable soft lenses might slow the progression of myopia compared to regular glasses in children.

"With the high and increasing prevalence of myopia, intervening at a younger age makes a lot of sense. Research often conjures up beakers and test tubes, but this project is almost like seeing the child in a regular optometry practice. We get to meet the families and literally get to grow up with these kids over the next three years,” stated Justin Kwan, O.D., the principal investigator. “My colleague, Dr. Patel, and I get to be on the cutting edge of this international effort and intricately study eye length, eye shape, vision and behaviors in these kids. It takes a team, long hours and weekends, but it’s worth it."

The study is recruiting nearsighted children between the ages of 7 to less than 12 years old. If they qualify, they will be randomized to either standard, full spectacle correction or a specially designed daily disposable soft contact lens.

“Although we’ve had recent success in enrolling recruited children, our work is not yet done. We still need to recruit and enroll low to moderately nearsighted kids,” said Reena Patel, O.D. If families decide to have their child take part in the study, they will be randomized to receive glasses or contact lenses for the duration of the study. To accurately assess the child’s true prescription, their eyes will be dilated every six months.

Dr. Justin Kwan notes, “A study like this takes a lot of effort from everyone involved. Families and their child will play significant roles in the study's success. If a child is eligible for the study, we need families to make a special commitment to:

1. Accept either glasses or contact lenses as assigned for the duration of the study;
2. Make sure the child only wears the glasses or contact lenses that are prescribed;
3. Bring the child to all study visits.”

Families interested in having their child enroll in the study should contact Dr. Justin Kwan at 714.449.7472 or jkwan(at)ketchum(dot)edu.

About Marshall B. Ketchum University
MBKU is now home to the Southern California College of Optometry and the School of Physician Assistant Studies. The University confers a four-year, professional degree, Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) and a Master of Science in Vision Science (M.S.) degree. MBKU's School of Physician Assistant Studies awards a Master of Medical Sciences (MMS) degree. MBKU has recently announced plans to establish a College of Pharmacy.

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Katie Santos-Coy
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