by WLOX staff
BILOXI, MS (WLOX)- 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 gets worse as kids grow. But Optometrists are now testing contact lenses worn only at night, to help slow the progression of nearsightedness and improve vision during the day.
Twelve-year-old Isabella Jorgenson is a young model who loves to be in front of the lens, but being nearsighted started to cause serious problems for her. "That tree, that grass, the plants it all blends in to make one big thing."
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. Sheri Jorgenson liked the concept behind the special lenses. She said researchers told her that "they were looking to see if they could stop the progression, and I said, that's what we want!"
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. The reshaping lenses look like a plateau. Optometrist, Rob Davis, OD, describes the lense. "It's flat in the center and steeper on the sides." He says 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."
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."
For Isabella, it means 20/20 vision during the day without contacts or glasses. She's excited about the results. "I can see!"
The Cornea-reshaping lenses are already F-D-A approved for adults. Studies to determine the effect the lenses have on children, continue. Some people wear the contacts every night. Others with better vision can wear them every other night.... and still see fine during the day.