Promising data on repeated low-level red-light therapy set to shift myopia treatment landscape in Asia.

A study by the Brien Holden Vision Institute has predicted that about half of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050, with about 10% or 1 billion people, suffering from high myopia.

Currently, about 28.7% and 72.7% of adults or the elderly with high myopia in Singapore and Taiwan respectively are afflicted by myopic macular degeneration or myopic maculopathy. Also known as pathologic myopia, the condition is common in highly myopic eyes and is one of the major causes of low vision and blindness worldwide.

Professor Kyoko Ohno-Matsui, Chairperson of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science and Chief of the Advanced Clinical Center for Myopia, Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) at the Myproclear Eyerising APAO Launch Event in Kuala Lumpur

Professor Kyoko Ohno-Matsui

Professor Kyoko Ohno-Matsui, Chairperson of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science and Chief of the Advanced Clinical Center for Myopia, Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU), says, “The rapid increase and prevalence of myopia and high myopia in recent years is expected to cause the prevalence of pathologic myopia to dramatically increase in the near future. Based on data, we know that approximately one-half of the subjects with high myopia are potentially at risk of developing pathologic myopia in adulthood.”

Aside from pathologic myopia, glaucoma is also a concern for myopic patients, who are two times more likely to develop the disorder compared to the general population.

Early detection and intervention of myopia in children is crucial to prevent these serious vision impairments from afflicting adults in the next 10 to 20 years.

Red light therapy in myopia control

Red-light therapy is a therapeutic technique in which light-emitting diodes (LED) diffuse red and near-infrared (NIR) light at specific wavelengths through the skin and into the cells, activating the body’s own mitochondrial response to create energy and boost the functioning of tissues and organs.

Studies show that RLRL therapy has 69.4% efficacy in controlling axial length elongation, and 76.6% efficacy in controlling myopia progression.

“The convenient and minimally-invasive nature of RLRL make it an exciting new addition in the fight against myopia, especially in younger children, and children who are not suitable candidates for the other evidence-based treatments,” says Professor He Mingguang, Head of Ophthalmic Epidemiology, Centre for Eye Research Australia; and Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Professor He Mingguang, Head of Ophthalmic Epidemiology, Centre for Eye Research Australia; and Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology, University of Melbourne, Australia at the Myproclear Eyerising APAO Launch Event in Kuala Lumpur

Professor He Mingguang

One of the primary researchers involved in studying the effects of RLRL therapy in myopia, Prof He explains, “While investigating its efficacy in treating myopia, my colleagues and I found that children who underwent RLRL therapy for three minutes twice a day, five days a week, significantly reduced their myopia progression over a period of six months.”

Another 2023 study demonstrated that a quarter of children benefitted from at least 0.05mm axial length shortening following 12 months of RLRL therapy – the first treatment for myopia to be able to reverse axial elongation!

“While this area still requires further investigation and more in-depth study, these early findings are very encouraging,” says Professor Ohno-Matsui, who has recently embarked on a clinical trial for RLRL therapy in Japan together with Professor He.

New hope for myopic children

The world’s first evidence-based red-light therapy device to manage myopia was launched in Asia Pacific in early 2023, coming as welcome news to hundreds of thousands of Asian parents whose children suffer from myopia.

Safe and easy-to-use, Eyerising’s myopia management device has been clinically proven to control myopia progression by up to 87.7% in children aged eight to 13 years with no known adverse effects.

Just recently, Eyerising’s myopia management device received the greenlight from Medical Device Authority (MDA), Malaysia, and is currently awaiting approval from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Singapore. The desktop device enables children with myopia to undergo therapy in the comfort of their own homes under the supervision of a parent or guardian, potentially transforming the treatment landscape for myopia in this region.

To date, the device has received regulatory approvals from Conformité Européene (CE), European Union; Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), UK; MedSafe, New Zealand; Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TMMDA); National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), China; American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – certified as Group One Device by independent testing laboratory Laser Product Safety LLC; and Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Australia.

All photos courtesy of Eyerising International