Overnight Contacts Improve Daytime Vision

November 30, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
About 25 percent of people in the U.S. live with nearsightedness, or have trouble seeing objects at a distance. It typically starts in childhood and vision gradually gets worse as kids grow. Now optometrists are testing contact lenses worn only at night to improve vision during the day. Doctors say the contacts may stop nearsightedness in its tracks.Twelve-year-old Isabella Jorgenson loves to be in front of the lens, but being nearsighted turned her early modeling career into a blur.

"It all blends in to make one big thing," Isabella told Ivanhoe.

She tried contacts, but the maintenance was too much for the preteen to handle. That's when her mom heard about a study testing contacts worn only at night.

"We're looking to see if we can stop the progression, and I said, 'That's what we want!'" Isabella's mother, Sheri, told Ivanhoe.

Kids wear the cornea-reshaping contacts while they sleep. Optometrists say when they take them out in the morning, their vision is temporarily corrected. Regular contacts are curved. These look like a plateau.

"It's flat in the center and steeper on the sides," Rob Davis, O.D., an optometrist at Davis Eye Care in Oaklawn, Ill., explained. It gently flattens the center of the eye during the night, changing the shape of the cornea. Before wearing the contacts, a nearsighted eye is steep. After the contacts have been worn, the eye flattens out.

"Very similar to if you've ever worn a watch or a ring, and you take the ring or the watch off, there's a little indentation," Dr. Davis said.

In a study of 300 kids, those with the re-shaping lenses maintained their vision after the first year. Those with regular contacts needed a stronger prescription.

"I'm really not talking about permanent correcting, but what I am talking about is reducing the progression," Dr. Davis added. For Isabella, it means 20/20 vision during the day without contacts or glasses.

"I can see!" she said.

Letting her eyes do the work at night ? so she can focus on the road ahead.

The cornea-reshaping lenses are already FDA-approved for adults. Now doctors are collecting data to find out if they can stop the progression of nearsightedness in kids. Some people wear the contacts every night. Others with better vision can wear them every other night and still see fine during the day. They carry the same risks as regular contact lenses, which are infection and eye irritation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Davis Eye Care
(708) 636-0600


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