Milton Keynes mum uses sleep time cure to correct short-sighted daughter's eyesight
The Mandarin Chinese slept with tiny bags of sand balanced on their eyelids to flatten the cornea and improve their vision.
MK eye specialist Claire Ranger found she could replicate the sandbag pressure with special contact lenses called Ortho-k.
She experimented with her 14-year-old daughter Hannah, who is short-sighted and wears glasses.
A laboratory in Hastings made the gas-permeable lenses from a “map” of Hannah’s eyes to flatten the cornea by less than a hair’s width.
The teenager wore them while she slept – and noticed an immediate improvement to her eyesight during the day.
“Within a couple of days I could see really well without my glasses. It is great not to be wearing glasses at school and when I go ice-skating and swimming,” said Hannah, who is pictured having her new improved vision checked by her mum.
“It takes me just a couple of minutes at night to put the lenses in and then I take them out in the morning. I don’t have to think about glasses or lenses all day,” she added.
The sleep time cure, officially known as Orthokeratology, has now been recognised by the Association of Optometrists as a non-invasive means of slowing the progression of myopia, particularly in school age children.
The rise in short-sightedness in children has been described as an “epidemic” by leading optometrists.
A study by the University of Ulster in April last year showed 23 per cent of 12 and 13 year olds in Britain are myopic.
This compares with 10 per cent 50 years ago.
Some experts blame computers, TV and electronic gadgets for the rise.
Research has shown children who spend more time outdoors in daylight have a reduced risk of myopia.
Ortho-k lenses are pricey, but optometrists say they work out the same price as wearing good quality daily disposable lenses.
They must be renewed twice yearly as the eye contour changes.