Contact lenses for children   which can halt the progression of short-sightedness (otherwise known as myopia) may become an important weapon in Singapore's battle to address the country's chronically high prevalence of this vision problem which is amongst the worst globally. According to Dr Leonard Ang, Medical Director of The Eye and Cornea Transplant Centre and Premium Lasik Surgery Clinic, 20 per cent of Singaporean children are myopic by age seven whilst over 70 per cent are myopic by the time they reach the age of twenty. As such, this has now become a serious public health issue. 

However, increasing clinical evidence suggests that ortho k corrective contact lenses  can actually halt the progression of myopia  so that, if prescribed for children at an early age when their myopia is first identified, they could prevent the condition worsening as they move through childhood and adolescence leaving them with only a moderate prescription requirement. Whilst this would yield many benefits to children in terms of their general eyesight health and enabling them to participate in a full range of activities by providing more suitable contact lenses for sport , it is of particular importance in helping to minimise the risk of more serious vision issues arising in later life. 

It is already recognised that the abnormal structural changes that occur in the myopic eye put it at a significantly greater risk of developing other more serious conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment. All of these serious conditions - which are usually associated with aging - can occur at a much younger age if a person has high myopia. Hence, by considering the option of ortho k rather than conventional contact lenses or glasses, this could help to ensure such later life eyesight risks are mitigated. Additionally, ortho k contact lenses for children   are only worn at night while sleeping so they are able to enjoy the full range of classroom, playground and sports activities without wearing any daytime vision correction aids.

Traditionally, it has been believed that myopia was essentially a genetically inherited condition. However, in the case of many countries like Singapore, the level of myopia has increased dramatically over the past 30-40 years which means that the condition cannot be explained by reference to genetic factors alone. Recent research has highlighted other influential factors such as the reduced level of outdoor activity and the greatly increased amount of near vision work which characterises young people's lives today. Less exposure to brighter outdoor light and spending too much time focusing on screens and books are now believed to play an important role in increased myopia prevalence.

In the case of Singapore, children are schooled early and intensively and a dense population means limited outdoor space which, added to any genetic susceptibility, may more accurately explain why myopia prevalence is so high. However, in Singapore the typical approach to childhood myopia is to prescribe glasses which may actually worsen the progression of myopia since they only correct the central vision and ignore peripheral vision. By contrast, it is increasingly believed that ortho k corrective contact lenses for children   work in halting the progression of myopia by impacting on peripheral vision as well as addressing the central vision.

Check if your child is suitable to wear ortho k corrective contact lenses

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