Health Beat: Better vision while kids sleep

Health Beat: Better vision while kids sleep

Kaleigh Dooney is an active 10-year-old girl who loves swimming and gymnastics, but she's also near-sighted.

"I started noticing because I looked at the clock, cause it was getting blurrier and blurrier each day," she said.

Kaleigh didn't want glasses or contact lenses to slow her down during the day, so she's trying something new. She wears special corrective lenses at night.

When most people are taking their lenses out, Kaleigh is putting hers in.

"So once I got my contacts, it was so clear. I could read it if I was a mile away," she recalled.

It's called ortho-keratology, or ortho-K. Customized contact lenses gently flatten the cornea to correct Kaleigh's myopia, or nearsightedness, while she sleeps.

"They put the lenses on and trap a layer of tear under the lenses, using the pressure of the tear to change the shape of the eye, so flatten the cornea, and after you take the lens out in the morning, you're able to see clear, 20/20," said Dr. Albert Pang, optometrist, Trinity Eye Care.

There's no surgery, no glasses or daytime contacts. The process is reversible, and it may slow down the progression of myopia, but they do cost three times as much as regular contacts, and some refractive eye surgeons do not recommend or perform ortho-K.

"Infection is the number one problem that we worry about with any kind of contact lens, particularly at night," said Dr. Dain Brooks, an ophthalmologist. "In fact, as an ophthalmologist, I discourage all patients from wearing contact lenses at night."

So far, Kaleigh hasn't had any problems. Her grades are straight A's, and she's seeing better than ever.

"She was able to skip the glasses phase completely," said Staci Dooney, Kaleigh's mother. "She just went straight from having the board blurry in school to being able to see clearly."

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Allentown, PA 18102


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