Don’t fit your short-sighted or myopic child with Ortho-K (sleep-in) lenses until you read this [WARNING]

What is Ortho-K?

Orthokeratology, Ortho-K (or sleep-in or dream vision) lenses have been available for a few decades. These are hard lenses that are worn overnight. They apply physical pressure to reshape the front surface of your eye (the cornea) to temporarily correct myopia. The effect lasts a day (sometimes two) before short sightedness returns, therefore they need to be worn every night.

This type of lens has been shown to slow the progression of myopia in children but it does come with significant risks and drawbacks that must be considered before fitting your kids in these types of lenses.

At Central Vision Opticians (UK Children’s Contact Lens Practice of Year 2018) we strive to ensure your child’s vision receives the highest care and attention. We have serious concerns about using Orthokeratology for myopia control.

The rise of myopia as an epidemic

If your child is short sight (myopic), you can understand how you want to do everything possible to improve their eyesight and halt the progression of this condition. Myopia can prevent a child from seeing the board at school thus being unable to learn as effectively as their classmates. Wearing glasses has been shown to hinder a child’s ability to play sports. It even has a detrimental effect on their confidence and experience socially. I should know, I’ve been short sighted since the age of 12 and suffered these difficulties. But there are some risks that are too much, especially when there are safer options available.

What are the risks of Ortho-K?

Eyes may revert after lens wear stops

Orthokeratology has been shown to reduce the rate of progression of myopia, however there are some doubts whether this control of myopia is sustained after lens wear is stopped. The eyes will start to revert to short sightedness and may lose the control.

Unstable for lower prescriptions

Myopia control needs to start at low levels of myopia, ideally when the prescription is approximately -1.00 to -1.50DS. Low levels of myopia are difficult to treat with Ortho-K lenses with this type of prescription. This means that your child could be exposed to highly variable vision that will make things blurry and affect learning at school without the benefit of myopia control.

Increased risk of serious infection

More importantly, since contact lenses are worn overnight, Orthokeratology exposes your child to a much higher risk of serious infections. Some of these infections are sight threatening. The risk could be at least FOUR times higher than wearing daily disposable contact lenses. Some studies suggest that the risk could be higher still.

Many surgeons are also issuing warning after having to perform extensive surgery on children who have developed infections after sleeping in contact lenses designed for overnight wear. For more information read here:

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1511279/wearing-hard-contact-lenses-night-could-raise-infection-risk-study and https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/05/21/406502395/overnight-contacts-can-help-kids-sight-during-day-but-also-carry-risks

Ortho-K is NOT licenced for Myopia Control

Orthokeratology is not licenced for myopia control use. The treatment option have not yet been verified by scientific studies and evidence based research.

What are the best options for myopia control?

Daily disposable contact lenses for myopia control (MiSight) have been shown to provide a significant and long lasting reduced in the rate of change of myopia while being the safest option for children to wear. Read more about MiSight lenses here:

As well as being established as safe to use, these lenses are backed by scientific research and, unlike Ortho-K) are approved for use for myopia control.

The importance of a complete Myopia Control Programme

Myopia control MUST always be combined with an assessment for visual skills, this is a significant factor in myopia. Many practitioners are attempting to treat myopia without addressing all of the causes, such as weak eye muscles or poor coordination between the eyes.

For more information, read more here:

About the Author Bhavin Shah

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