Overnight lenses for young myopic eyes

November 3, 2009 by  
Filed under VISION

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boy_in_safety_glassesI remember when about a year ago when our paediatrician referred us to an eye specialist to check my twin boys’ eyesight. I was praying silently “Please no eyeglasses…”

I mean, the likelihood that they would need glasses at an early age is quite high – it runs in my family. They were such active, sporty 5-year olds then; they are even more so now and are into soccer, gymnastics, inline skating, etc. I can’t imagine how they would manage to do all those active sports activities with glasses on. I remember how my brothers weren’t allowed to play basketball with their glasses on. That was so frustrating. Luckily, the eye doctor gave my kids a clean bill of health.

Some kids are not so lucky. There are many children out there with eyesight problems. The most common eye condition among children is nearsightedness (also known as shortsightedness or myopia).

Nearsightedness occurs when the physical length of the eye is greater than the optical length. For this reason, it often develops in the rapidly growing school-aged child or teenager, and progresses during the growth years, requiring frequent changes in glasses or contact lenses. It usually stops progressing as a person finishes growing in his or her early twenties.

A nearsighted person can see objects which are near very quickly whereas objects in the distance appear blurred.

Nearsightedness can be corrected by eyeglasses or contact lenses. The standard practice, however, is to take off the glasses or the lenses before going to sleep at night. A new type of contact lenses for children, however, requires that the children do wear them at night. This type of lenses is available for adults but only just now for children. So how do these lenses work?

It works  “by gently pressing on the cornea, reducing its curvature and thereby refocusing the light directly on to the retina. It also, in effect, shortens the eyeball. “

In the adult version, the effect of the lenses on reshaping the eyeball is temporary. The eye will eventually spring back to its original shape so that it is necessary to wear the lenses every night.

In the case of children, however, the lenses seem to have corrective effect that is long-lasting. The lenses slowed down the deterioration of the yes. In a clinical trial that involved more than 300 children, those who wore overnight lenses for a year did not have prescription change. Those who did not wear the lenses had increase in prescription indicating deterioration.

So why do the lenses work better for kids than for adults? Well, children’s eyes are still growing and are therefore more “malleable” than adult adults. The lenses work like a dental brace by restoring the eye to its original shape.


Photo credit: stock.xchng

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2 Responses to “Overnight lenses for young myopic eyes”
  1. Gavin Rayner says:

    Thanks for the article.Really thank you! Want more.

  2. Actually I heard it is just the opposite… lenses prevent the eyes to get back into the normal shape! Unlike dental braces. That’s weird, can you believe it?

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