By Jacqui Mayhew 

Contact lenses for children  have been shown in various research studies to offer an excellent way of correcting vision problems and helping to improve a child's self-esteem which is often undermined if he or she is a glasses wearer. Most importantly, once a child is able to insert or remove contact lenses - even if this requires parental help - it means they can participate fully in classroom, playground and sports activities without parents being concerned about them losing or breaking their glasses. Children as young as five years old are now wearing contact lenses and there is little doubt that this helps their academic and personal development. Given that as much as 80% of the learning and development a child does is through visual tasks, having good clear vision is essential.

Equally, if a child's vision is not functioning properly, educational progress and sports participation will suffer and this can often manifest itself in adverse behaviours such as hyperactivity and distractibility. So regular eye tests for children are essential in order that any vision defect can be detected as early as possible and the appropriate treatment provided. For those children who are diagnosed as being short-sighted - meaning that distant objects appear blurred - this is especially important since they will be unable to see clearly what a teacher may be presenting on a black- or whiteboard leading to potential problems with schoolwork. In this situation, a new treatment - ortho-k contact lenses for children  - could provide a very important breakthrough.

Ortho-k is short for ‘orthokeratology' which describes a newly commercialised optical science whereby small custom-designed contact lenses are worn only overnight while sleeping. The lenses gently flatten the surface of the eye under the mild pressure of closed eyelids to ensure that, after the lenses are removed each morning, light entering the eye will focus directly on the retina and not in front of it which is why distant objects appear blurry. The corrective effect lasts for over 24 hours so the child has perfect natural vision all day long until reinserting the lenses at night. Additionally, these new contact lenses for children  have been shown in research  to stop short-sightedness from worsening so once the child is introduced to ortho-k, their prescription can be stabilised unlike with glasses and conventional daytime contact lenses.

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

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