A SCHOOLBOY from Bournemouth has become one of the first in the country to have a new treatment for short sightedness.

Giles Budden’s mum Fiona became concerned her 12-year-old son needed new glasses every six months and feared his deteriorating condition known as myopia would limit his career choices.

Their optician told there was nothing they could do but correct his condition with glasses or contact lenses.

However they turned to eye health expert Keith Tempany, who is president of the British Contact Lens Association and based in Poole – and now Giles’ sight is stable.

It comes as the expert has spoken out urging parents across the county to encourage their children to play outside more and to restrict the use of digital devices to stave off myopia as cases are on the rise.

Mum Fiona, a nurse, explained her and husband Matt, an executive chef, noticed Giles was standing up with the remote to change channels on TV aged nine and took him for an eye test.

“Giles was around a minus point five in both eyes when he was first tested and we took him back every six months to be retested. Every time we went back, his shortsightedness was worse and he would need stronger prescription lenses in his glasses.

“We were told it would continue to get worse but there was nothing we could do. We were really worried and wanted to know – how do we stop this? We didn’t want his myopia to stop Giles doing anything he wanted to do – we didn’t want it to limit Giles’s career options, like if he wanted to be a pilot.

“Giles hasn’t had a growth spurt yet either – and we knew at puberty, as the eye grows, myopia can get a lot worse, so that was even more worrying.”

However when the couple searched online for contact lenses because Giles is a keen rugby player, they discovered a contact lens treatment for myopia called ortho-k, which helps to control the condition and stop it getting worse.

They saw Keith, of Leightons and Tempany, who said Giles’ eyesight had deteriorated to minus 2.5 in both eyes and he was prescribed ortho-k lenses. But after finding the lens cleaning routine difficult and struggling to remove the lenses in the morning, he is now trialling a different soft disposable lens MiSight which is worn during the day.

Fiona said: “I feel like we’ve been really very lucky to have met Keith Tempany and would urge any parent worried about their child’s myopia to seek advice about myopia control treatments particularly before their child hits puberty.”

Keith Tempany said he is concerned not enough parents are aware of the long-term sight risks of short sightedness – or that it can be treated and improved to reduce sight risks.

He said: “Myopia is as bad for the eyes as smoking is for the heart . But there’s a lot parents can do to control and slow the condition and reduce risk, with lifestyle changes and with new, high technology treatments that have just become available.

“I am very worried about lack of awareness of myopia risks and want my legacy of my Presidency of the BCLA, starting this month, to be greater awareness of myopia control amongst the general public.

“Myopia incidence is increasing at an alarming rate and it is estimated that by 2050, half the world’s population will be myopic. I think it’s important that every family knows that by getting expert advice about children’s sight, parents can potentially slow or avoid the serious long-term risks of myopia such as glaucoma, retinal holes, tears, and retinal degeneration (maculopathy).”

He added: “We talk to parents about lifestyle – encourage children to play outdoors more often and for parents to restrict the use of digital devices, as we know both lack of daylight and use of technology can make myopia worse.”