Myopia control is an exciting area with recent studies providing good evidence that it may be possible to minimize or even stop the progression of myopia (short sightedness). Presently there are various modalities of myopia control which have been clinically shown to reduce the rate of myopia progression and these include orthokeratology (Ortho K), pharmacological using atropine eye drops, bifocal soft contact lenses and specially designed myopia spectacles (with these last two methods correcting for short sightedness centrally and long sightedness in the periphery of the lenses).
My preferred method for myopia control – and I might say by a long way – is Ortho K. This procedure – which is also known as Corneal Refractive Therapy – is the programmed use of rigid contact lenses to remould the shape of the cornea to reduce or eliminate myopic (short-sighted) and astigmatic (irregular surface) errors in the eye. The rigid lenses are worn overnight with the effect being performed during sleep, so that during the day the patient can see clearly without the need for spectacles or contact lenses. Unlike refractive surgery, this procedure is completely reversible.
While both the bifocal soft contact lenses and the special myopia spectacles used for myopia control have been shown to reduce the rate of progression of myopia, they do compromise the patient’s vision when they are worn due to their design. On the other hand, Ortho K has the benefit of providing clear vision without the use of any spectacles or contact lenses during the day – which is especially great for those people with occupations or lifestyles where wearing contact lenses or spectacles is inconvenient – while at the same time helping to decrease progression in myopia due to the induced change in the corneal shape.
While being my preferred method, we are also finding that it is fast becoming a popular method with the general public. We have noticed an increase in the amount of enquiries about Ortho K in the practice and both Regina and Andrew are becoming resident experts. Another common theme is the age of our current Ortho K patients which we find are children aged between 5 and 15. After speaking with these children’s parents, the general consensus is that it is an easier solution to wearing contact lenses during the day and for sport. Another key point, and possibly the most important, is halting the progression of myopia at such a young age. This proves to be a beneficial and certainly a worthwhile journey for these patients and their parents.
For further information regarding Ortho K and myopia control please feel free to visit our website http://www.lindsayassociates.com.au/eyecare/eye-examination2 or give us a call on 9417 6444 to discuss any questions as well as make an appointment.