Lifewatch: Re-shaping contact lenses

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - About 25% of people in the United States live with nearsightedness, or have trouble seeing objects at a distance.

It typically starts in childhood and vision gradually gets worse as one grows.  Now, optometrists are testing contact lenses worn only at night to improve vision during the day.

Isabella Jorgenson, 12, loves to be in front of the lens, but being nearsighted turned her early modeling career into a blur.

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," said Isabella's mother, Sheri Jorgenson.

Children 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, but these look like a plateau.  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.

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.

The cornea re-shaping lenses are 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 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.