By Nigel Little 

Mario Balotelli could be out of action for up to two weeks after undergoing laser surgery in Italy which rules him out of playing for his country in the forthcoming World Cup Qualifiers and may cause him to miss at least one of Manchester City's subsequent matches. Super Mario is short-sighted and has worn conventional daytime contact lenses for many years to keep his vision sharp - a key requirement for a striker. However, like many daytime lens wearers, he has progressively begun to suffer from allergies linked to his lenses which culminated in an abscess and a severe case of conjunctivitis and led to a decision to opt for laser surgery. Unfortunately for Balotelli, no-one advised him that there was an alternative to laser surgery  - overnight ortho-k lenses.

According to Balotelli's surgeon Emanuele Scuri who carried out the LASIK procedure, the player has had problems for some time: "We waited for the defect to stabilise over the last four years and this was the right time to have the operation. His eyes did not tolerate the contact lenses and he had problems at the start of the season." However, overnight ortho-k lenses which are only worn while sleeping could have provided an alternative to laser surgery  and would have corrected Balotelli's short-sightedness without aggravating the allergies caused by his daytime contact lenses. After removing ortho-k lenses each morning, the wearer enjoys perfect natural vision all day long until the lenses are reinserted before going to bed at night.

Ortho-k lenses are small, custom-designed rigid contact lenses unique to each individual. They work by gently flattening the surface of the eye under the mild pressure of closed eyelids during sleep and the corrected eye shape then ensures that light focuses directly on the retina rather than in front of it which is why distant objects appear blurred. The correction lasts for a full 24 hours so ortho-k lens wearers enjoy the same benefits in terms of freedom from glasses and daytime contact lenses from a treatment which represents a truly effective alternative to laser surgery . Professional rugby player Richard Beck  of Leeds Carnegie - a highly satisfied ortho-k lens wearer - could have given Balotelli the appropriate recommendation and kept him on the pitch and away from the operating theatre.

Check if you are suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses for sport .

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