By Steve Roberts 

Orthok lenses  worn only while sleeping could be the best defence for protecting the vision of young people given the emerging epidemic of short-sightedness - otherwise known as myopia - amongst the under 21's. David Allamby, a leading laser eye surgeon and founder of Focus Clinics, says there has been a 35 per cent increase in the number of people with advancing myopia since the launch of smartphones in 1997. He has warned the problem could increase by 50 per cent in the next ten years because excessive screen watching at close proximity keeps the genes that control myopia activated well beyond the age that short-sighted would historically have stabilised - about 21.

Half of Britons own smartphones and they spend an average of two hours a day using them. This, along with time spent using computers and watching television, is putting children and young people at risk of permanently damaging their sight. New research found that the average smartphone user holds the handset 30 cm from their face - with some people holding it just 18cm away - compared to newspapers and books, which are held 40cm away from the eyes. This is where orthok lenses  can become a hugely important treatment for myopia by helping to ensure that adolescent eyesight does not deteriorate any further once short-sightedness has been diagnosed. Myopia used to stop developing in people's early 20s but now it is seen progressing throughout their 20s, 30s, and even 40s.

Orthok lense s are custom-designed for each individual and work by gently depressing the surface of the eyes under the mild pressure of closed eyelids during sleep. This ensures that light entering the eyes always focuses directly on the retina and not in front of it. More importantly, clinical research has also shown that nightly lens wear by children stops their eyes elongating which is how myopia develops in the first place. So not only do orthok lenses provide perfect natural vision all day long after they are removed each morning, they also prevent the myopia continuing to get worse with the risk this will lead to more severe eye health problems in later life.

Check if your child is suitable for overnight orthok corrective contact lenses .

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