By Jacqui Mayhew
Contact lenses for children based on the long-established science of orthokeratology have been shown by Professor Pauline Cho from the School of Optometry at Hong Kong Polytechnic University to be effective in not only correcting short-sightedness (otherwise known as Myopia) but also in slowing down any further progression. This is a highly important study since it is estimated that children who begin to develop myopia from 6 years upwards may see a continuing deterioration in their prescription of as much as -0.5 diopters each year through to adulthood. On this basis, their prescription in their early 20's would be highly myopic putting them at greater risk of experiencing more serious eye health conditions in later life.
Orthokeratology is a way of correcting vision problems by gently flattening the shape of the cornea with the use of specially designed contact lenses which are worn overnight. This ensures that light enters the eye at the correct angle and focuses directly on the retina rather than in front of it. By wearing the lenses only while sleep, orthokeratology users can see clearly all day long without any additional means of vision correction. Whilst also effective in correcting adult myopia, it is the use of orthokeratology in contact lenses for children which is causing increasing attention since Professor Cho's new evidence matches conclusions from other research focused on children such as the SMART Study which has shown that the treatment does slow down and even halt the progression of short-sightedness.
Professor Cho has been evaluating the effectiveness of orthokeratology for children over a number of years and undertaken previous studies which revealed positive results. In this latest study known as ‘ROMIO' (‘Retardation of Myopia in Orthokeratology) which involved 77 children wearing either glasses or orthokeratology contact lenses for children , those using the latter modality experienced 43% slower progression in their myopia than those wearing glasses. This significantly better outcome for children wearing the special overnight lenses demonstrates that orthokeratology is an important treatment breakthrough which parents should now consider once their children are diagnosed as being myopic. Additionally, because the lenses are only worn overnight, children using orthokeratology can participate fully in all classroom, playground and sports activities with excellent natural daytime vision.
Check if your child is suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses for children.