Many Hong Kong parents let their children wear special lenses to help correct eye defects such as nearsightedness, but recent studies show there is a high risk that the children could develop keratitis or inflammation of the cornea as a result, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
More popularly known as OK lenses, the special contact lenses are worn at night to put pressure on the cornea to help correct the eye defect and allow users not to use corrective glasses at daytime. A study published last week by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University showed that wearing the special lenses could help a child’s myopia or nearsightedness from getting worse.
But another study this week by the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong showed that 40 percent of children taken to hospital for keratitis over the past 10 years were wearing the special contact lenses to correct eye defects.
The risk of children developing keratitis by wearing OK lenses is five times greater than those not wearing them, the newspaper quoted the study as saying.
Around half of the children under 12 years old in Hong Kong, or about 400,000, are nearsighted, but using OK lenses may do more harm than good.
A child’s cornea could be left with permanent scars after the treatment, also known as orthokeratology or corneal refractive therapy, and those who have keratitis could recover only 70 percent of their original sight, the newspaper said, citing data from the city’s ophthalmic hospital.
Young Alvin Lerrmann, honorary clinical associate professor at the CUHK’s ophthalmology department, said the actual number of children suffering from keratitis by wearing OK lenses may be far more than the study shows as many of them may not have sought treatment in government hospitals or may have gone to private clinics.
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