By Jacqui Mayhew
Vision correction for children , especially the new overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses worn only while sleeping, can combat the rapidly accelerating growth in shortsightedness - referred to clinically as myopia. As research from around the world continues to reveal a worsening in children's eyesight, especially myopia, key global bodies such as the World Health Organisation increasingly recognise this as a major disease epidemic. Most recently, the Ministry of Education in China undertook a major survey covering almost 350,000 children aged 7 to 22 years in 1,000 schools nationwide which yielded alarming results in terms of the levels of myopia evident and the confirmation that the trend for children to become myopic is continuing to worsen.
More than 40% of primary school students and 84% of college students have poor eyesight to varying degrees, with the proportion of shortsighted students at junior and senior high schools being 67.3% and 79.2% respectively. The survey also reported a growing number of shortsighted students at younger ages, citing that about 27% of seven-year-old rural girls have poor eyesight, up more than 10 percentage points compared with the figure in 2005 when a similar survey was undertaken. The situation for urban children and rural seven year old boys had also worsened. In such circumstances, the Chinese authorities have recognised that much greater attention needs to be directed towards earlier and more regular eyesight tests and identifying better treatment options which can provide effective vision correction for children .
Amongst many views expressed about these alarming results, a common opinion is that environmental factors such as too much time spent indoors under artificial light, much greater time spent in academic work requiring near vision only and too much time spent on screen-based activities like TV, gaming consoles and smartphones were as responsible as genetic factors for the worsening trend. Equally, it is believed that the primary treatment option being provided - glasses - does not represent the best way of providing vision correction for children since it does not stop the progression of their myopia throughout their childhood years through to adulthood in their early 20's. It is here that ortho-k contact lenses provide a powerful new treatment optionsince an increasing body of research has shown that the lenses actually stop myopia from worsening or, at the very least, act as a sharp brake on its progress.
Check if your child is suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses for children .