By Michael Hutton 

Overnight contact lenses  which are only worn while sleeping can ensure children with short-sightedness - otherwise known as ‘myopia' - can realise their full academic potential rather than being assumed to suffer from some form of learning disability. Former US President Bill Clinton launched a campaign for Children's Vision and Learning Month in 1995 by issuing a presidential proclamation in which he stated: "Sadly, many American children suffer from vision-related learning disabilities that jeopardize their academic success. Yet with early intervention, many sight problems can be easily corrected, enabling these students to excel." Children who appear to be struggling in the classroom may simply be suffering from an as yet undetected vision problem.

Young children with undiagnosed vision problems can struggle with both reading and learning but will not be able to recognise they have a problem and parents may simply assume their child has a condition such as dyslexia or a more severe learning issue. This highlights the importance of getting children's eyesight checked regularly - at least annually - from an early age. The sooner any vision problem is detected, the quicker it can be corrected. With myopia as the most prevalent problem affecting over 40% of children in the West and an even higher percentage in the East, getting a child fitted with overnight contact lenses  not only ensures their short-sightedness is fully corrected but also prevents the myopia from worsening as the child grows.

Typically, a child with myopia could experience a worsening in their eyesight of around half a diopter every year meaning that they could enter adulthood with a very high level of short-sightedness. This could lead to more severe eyesight problems in later life since high levels of myopia are associated with problems such as retinal detachment. With overnight contact lenses  which correct myopia using the long-established optical science of orthokeratology - or ortho-k for short - the initial level of myopia is stabilised once the child starts wearing the lenses as demonstrated by various research  studies. Equally importantly, the child will be able to perform to their full potential in the classroom, in the playground and on the sports field.

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