By Jacqui Mayhew
Contact lenses for children worn only while sleeping could provide the solution for the epidemic levels of short-sightedness evident in East Asia which academics blame on students having excessive academic lifestyles. Professor Ian Morgan from the Australian National University in Canberra and colleagues have completed research now published in The Lancet which has shown that up to 90% of students are leaving school with varying levels of short-sightedness and led to it being described as a "major health issue". This is being directly attributed to students in China, Japan and South Korea spending too much time indoors pouring over books due to the intense levels of education typical in these countries.
The most concerning findings revealed that up to 20% of the short-sighted students are suffering from "high" myopia, which can lead to loss of vision and even blindness. The study team emphasised that more research should focus on preventing the condition progressing to high myopia and people should be made aware of the blinding potential of high myopia so they can seek prompt treatment. This is where the new overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses for children can provide an important new treatment option since research has now shown that they can actually prevent short-sightedness from worsening thus enabling a child's prescription to be controlled rather than keep increasing.
"The higher prevalence of myopia in east Asian cities seems to be associated with increasing educational pressures combined with life-style changes which have reduced the time children spend outside," the scientists wrote. "East Asian countries with high myopia now dominate international rankings of educational performance," they added. The research suggests this extremely high incidence of short-sightedness is due more to environmental than genetic factors with, in particular, insufficient time spent outdoors being a key factor since a strong link has been identified between short-sightedness and close reading, intensive study and a lack of time spent in the sun. Without adopting new treatment approaches such as ortho-k contact lenses for children , the likelihood is that the myopia epidemic will continue to worsen and lead to greater prevalence of more severe eye health problems.
Check if your child is suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses .