By Nigel Little
Contact lenses for children worn only while sleeping have been shown in clinical trials to stop short-sightedness getting worse according to a feature article in The Mail On Sunday. The new treatment is called ‘Overnight Vision Correction' which is based on a long-established optical science known as orthokeratology. The lenses work by gently flattening the surface of the eye - known as the cornea - during sleep to correct the focusing distance so that light focuses on the retina at the back of the eye rather than in front of it and enables distant objects to be seen clearly.
"Overnight Vision Correction is like wearing braces for the eyes," says Kevin Lewis, former President of the College of Optometrists. This analogy reflects the fact that dental braces are worn by children to straighten teeth as they grow and in the same way Overnight Vision Correction lenses have the equivalent retainer effect on adolescent eyes. As Lewis also points out, the lenses have to be worn every night: "The cornea is elastic so it will return to its original position if you change its shape." However, the correction effect achieved by these special overnight contact lenses for children lasts for a full day until they are re-inserted at night.
Recent research published in the US suggested that over 40% of the population now suffered from short-sightedness whilst in many Asian countries short-sightedness affects over 70%. Genetics plays a role but increasingly environmental factors are reinforcing the trend of increased short-sightedness given that children spend much more time indoors staring at TV, PC and smart phone screens - all short distance focusing - and not enough time outdoors doing activities in brighter natural light. Now Overnight Vision Correction contact lenses for children may provide a solution and a current US research trial has shown that children wearing these new lenses did not experience any worsening of their short-sight after three years whilst the eyesight of those children wearing normal daytime lenses worsened by a full diopter over the same period.
Check if your child is suitable for Overnight Vision Correction ortho-k contact lenses .