By Jacqui Mayhew
Ortho-k optician , Simon Falk of Simon Falk Optometrists in Leeds provides advice on all eye health matters to the professional rugby players at Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie. For a fast-paced contact sport like rugby - irrespective of whether played under league or union rules - great vision is essential for top players and for those who do have eyesight problems, the best corrective treatment needs to be selected carefully. For short-sighted players, the traditionally preferred treatment has been to wear conventional contact lenses but these have the disadvantage that they can be dislodged during matches or training as well as becoming uncomfortable to wear if dirt or dust gets in the eye. Consequently, many rugby players wearing daytime contact lenses often have to leave the pitch during play to replace or change a lens.
For Richard Beck, the talented 22 year old back row forward with Leeds Carnegie, losing his daytime contact lenses during a game wasn't the only issue - reinserting them was also often a problem as he notes: "They can be difficult to get back in especially in the heat of the moment when it is difficult to have a steady hand." This how he came to be interested in having a consultation with an ortho-k optician who specialises in fitting the unique custom-designed ortho-k corrective contact lenses which are only worn at night while sleeping. Fortunately, in Simon Falk he had an expert in ortho-k available on his doorstep although Richard was far from convinced about ortho-k lenses prior to his first appointment: "To be honest the first time I heard about them I thought it sounded too good to be true."
Ortho-k lenses work by gently flattening the surface of the eye during sleep to correct the focusing distance so that when the lenses are removed each morning the wearer enjoys perfect natural vision which lasts all day long until the lenses are reinserted at night. So an ortho-k optician can help a short-sighted person enjoy all the benefits of laser surgery in terms of natural daytime vision - but without the surgery. For Richard, his treatment at Simon Falk Optometrists has meant he is now a big fan of ortho-k lenses: "After a month of wearing the contacts, they do really work. Now I am playing rugby with perfect vision but without the contact lenses."
Check if you are suitable for ortho-k corrective contact lenses .