By Jacqui Mayhew 

Glasses for children  have tended to be the principal corrective treatment provided by opticians when children are diagnosed with short-sight, a vision defect where distant objects appear blurred. Yet many studies have shown that having to wear glasses can restrict children in terms of their personal development since their confidence can be adversely affected and they can be more susceptible to bullying. Additionally, the need to wear glasses can also prevent children from becoming more proficient at sports. Hence why there has been increasing interest in orthokeratology corrective contact lenses  which are only worn while sleeping yet not only correct short-sight but also prevent it deteriorating further.

Under the mild pressure of closed eyelids during sleep, the custom-designed ortho-k lenses gently flatten the surface of the eyes to ensure that light focuses directly on the retina and not in front of it which is what happens with short-sight. The lenses act like a retainer and the effect lasts for over 24 hours so the child enjoys perfect natural vision all day long from when the lenses are removed each morning through to when they are reinserted just before bedtime. With ortho-k lenses, glasses for children  become a thing of the past since now the child can see perfectly whether in the classroom, the playground or on the sports field.

More importantly, short-sight in children can progress by as much as -0.5 diopters every year so there is a risk that by the time the child enters adulthood the level of short-sight can be very high which is associated with a higher risk of experiencing more serious eye health problems in later life. Glasses for children with short-sight do not prevent this deterioration from happening but research  has shown that ortho-k lenses do prevent short-sight from progressing. This is because they act as a retainer when worn overnight - just like braces on adolescent teeth - and this prevents the eyeball from lengthening which is how short-sight is caused.

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

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