By Steve Roberts 

Contact lenses for children  worn only while sleeping and more time spent outdoors in natural light are the key solutions for the epidemic in short-sightedness - otherwise known as myopia - which is becoming a serious international health problem. In Taiwan, for example, 81 percent of 15-year-olds are myopic but the consequences of myopia are not simply limited to a lifetime of wearing spectacles. The prevalence of high myopia, an extreme form of the disorder, in Asia has more than doubled since the 1980s, and children who suffer myopia early in life are more likely to progress to high myopia. High myopia is a risk factor for such serious problems as retinal detachment, glaucoma, early-onset cataracts, and blindness.


Whilst genetic factors are influential in determining whether a child becomes myopic, the rapid growth in myopia globally increasingly has led to the conclusion that environmental factors - especially time spent indoors - play a significant role. In 2008, Orthoptics Professor Kathryn Rose found that only 3 percent of 6 and 7 year-olds of Chinese descent living in Sydney, Australia, suffered myopia, compared with 29 percent of those living in Singapore. The most glaring difference between the groups was that the Australian children spent almost 14 hours per week outdoors compared with only 3 hours for the children in Singapore. Additionally, research has identified that the new ortho-k contact lenses for children  which are only worn overnight then removed each morning not only corrected myopia; they also prevent it from getting worse.

Therefore the challenge is twofold: firstly, to get children to spend more time outdoors given that natural light is at least 10 times greater than indoors illumination and greater light intensity clearly acts as a brake on myopia development; and, secondly, to ensure that if a child is diagnosed with myopia he or she is fitted with ortho-k overnight contact lenses for children  which will ensure the myopia does not get any worse. According to a 2004 study from the University of Michigan, the average child in 2002 spent exactly half as much time participating in outdoor activities as did children in 1981 so it seems inevitable that today's lifestyle revolves around greater amounts of time being spent indoors. So with myopic incidence almost inevitably likely to increase, it is important that the child's vision is corrected with ortho-k contact lenses.

Check if your child is suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses .

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