We are about to enter the world of Ortho-k as a practice! Our corneal topographer is in route. Dr. Ruitenberg-Halpin and I attended the International Ortho-K Conference in Chicago at the end of April and we are planning a visit to a well-established Ortho-k practice 5 hours away from ours. As a practice that has long had an emphasis on kids, we felt this was a logical and ethical path to travel.
The number of children that are becoming myopic has been rapidly growing over the last 25 years and is expected to impair fully 50% of the world's population by the year 2020. This rapid increase is due in part to children spending more time studying, reading and using the computer and smart devices as opposed to being outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now reports progressive myopia as an epidemic.
Increasing myopia causes poor vision but more importantly , it can lead to sight threatening conditions like retinal detachments and glaucoma. The earlier a child exhibits myopia, the more likely they will progress to high levels of myopia.
Studies have shown that Ortho-k lenses can slow myopia. Numerous published studies have documented that children fit to Ortho-K lenses experience little to no myopic progression during treatment.
Ortho-K improves vision by gently reshaping the cornea while you sleep. After careful measurements are obtained, a custom lens (often referred to as a "retainer-lens") is designed for your eye and its unique visual problems. The lenses are manufactured using high speed computer assisted lathes and are made from an advanced highly oxygen permeable material which allows the eyes to breathe overnight.
The corneal lenses reshape the cornea and the tear film beneath the surface of the therapeutic lenses continually flow across the corneal surface. The improved shape focuses images directly on the retina. The result is clear, crisp vision upon waking and lens removal.
Ortho-K is also a safe and effective alternative to LASIK for those who don't want the risk or aren't ready for surgery. Best candidates are those with Rx's from +2.00 to -6.00 with astigmatism correction of -1.75 or less.
It can take from one to four weeks to achieve excellent vision although we have seen amazing results after one overnight of wear.
We are excited to begin this new area of treatment options for our myopic patient base and I will update you in a few months after we have gained more experience in creating this new niche!