By Nigel Little 

Vision correction  treatments for myopia - otherwise known as short-sightedness - such as laser surgery, orthokeratology, daytime contact lenses and spectacles deliver different outcomes in terms of quality of life according to a new study undertaken by the US National Eye Institute (NEI). The NEI study known as the Refractive Error Quality of Life questionnaire was administered to 200 people who had undergone corrective treatment for low and moderate myopia (up to -3.0D) using LASIK, overnight ortho-k lenses, soft contact lenses (ie disposables) and glasses and yielded some very interesting results. For opticians, these results should be borne in mind when offering advice to patients in respect of the various treatment alternatives.

Around 40 patients were selected for each treatment modality and these were then compared with a similar sized group of people with perfect natural vision (ie uncorrected) to determine differential results. Based on the latter group having 100% quality of life in terms of vision, the relative decrease for each of the myopia vision correction  treatments was as follows: LASIK at -7.1%, overnight ortho-k lenses at -13.0%, glasses at -15.8% and soft contact lenses at -17.3%. Obviously, the better LASIK result compared to the other modalities reflects the fact that the post-surgical outcome provides the targeted correction for typically some 95% of patients without requiring any ongoing vision aids.

Equally, the relatively poor result for soft contact lens wearers reflects the fact that many encounter increasing comfort issues due to modern lifestyles which entail spending more work and leisure time in climate-controlled indoor environments staring at screens - PCs, TVs, smartphones and gaming devices. The combination of dry atmosphere and greatly reduced blink rates means eyes do not get sufficient moisture and dry eye becomes a problem hence the high drop-out rates for soft contact lens wearers. However, for those whose vision correction  was achieved through overnight ortho-k lens wearers, the fact that they are only worn while sleeping means there are no dry eye issues, the benefits of natural daytime vision are as good as for LASIK and, most importantly, there is no surgery required.

Check if you are suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses.

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