By Michael Hutton 

Alternatives to laser eye surgery  - and especially orthokeratology lenses which correct short-sightedness but are only worn while sleeping - are becoming increasingly popular at the same time that demand for laser surgery treatments continues to fall. It is estimated that laser eye surgery procedures in the UK have declined by almost half since 2010 leading to the disappearance of former market leader Ultralase and the near collapse of Optical Express. As consumers plan their health and well-being resolutions for 2015, fewer seem likely to opt for surgery despite heavily discounted price promotions being offered by the various UK operators.

Many industry commentators are now suggesting that the annual market for laser surgery procedures to correct vision defects peaked when it exceeded 120,000 treatments before volumes began to fall in 2009. Despite reduced prices and technology advances, laser clinics have struggled to slow the decline in demand. At the same time, interest in choosing ortho-k corrective contact lenses  to correct short-sightedness has grown steadily given that this treatment provides perfect natural vision all day long but without the need for surgery. Given recent high profile media coverage of a patient's successful clain against a UK operator after her treatment went wrong, many consumers with similar fears have been motivated to seek alternatives to laser eye surgery .

Ortho-k lenses  are custom-designed for each patient and work by gently flattening the surface of the eyes using the mild pressure of closed eyelids during sleep. The flattening effect lasts for over 24 hours and ensures that after the lenses are removed each morning, light entering they eyes focuses directly on the retina rather than in front of it. So this provides perfect natural vision throughout the day until the lenses are reinserted at night. The effect is fully reversible - if you stop wearing the lenses, your eyesight will return to the same level of short-sightedness you had before commencing orthok lens wear. Given the advantages this treatment approach offers normal people with 24/7 lifestyles who are short-sighted as well as dry eye and allergy sufferers and all sports participants, it is hardly surprising orthok is on the rise as possibly one of the best alternatives to laser eye surgery .


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