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Hard lenses may benefit nearsighted kids

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec 13, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Research published Monday suggests rigid gas permeable contact lenses may help slow the progression of nearsightedness in young children.

Only recently did researchers determine young children could handle the responsibility of wearing contact lenses. Rigid contact lenses alter the shape of the cornea, which plays a small role in the development of myopia, said Jeffrey Walline, the study's lead author and an adjunct assistant professor of optometry at Ohio State University.

At the end of a three-year study of 116 8- to 11-year olds, researchers found wearing rigid gas permeable contact lenses slowed the progression of myopia by nearly 30 percent, compared to soft contact lenses.

"Severe myopia, which is fairly rare, can lead to a detached retina and permanent vision loss or glaucoma," Walline said. "Theoretically, wearing RGP lenses could lessen the severity of myopia, and likewise the chances of developing one of these problems."

Soft contact lenses had no effect on the shape of the cornea, or on the progression of myopia.

The study appears in the December 2004 issue of the journal Archives of Opthalmology.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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