Myopia (or short-sightedness) is becoming increasingly recognised as an epidemic around the world. Many countries are taking strong action in myopia control in an effort to reduce it’s prevalence in their populations.
Myopia substantially increases the risk of certain serious eye diseases, making myopia control very relevant to our patients who are short-sighted. Early control of myopia greatly reduces the chance of myopic diseases impacting vision later in life. Luckily, there are now safe and effective ways to control and inhibit the progression of myopia before it becomes a health risk.
Recent research has proven that orthokeratology inhibits the progression of myopia. Before the development of myopia was well understood, a short-sighted person would get glasses at an early age and need progressively stronger lenses over time.
Research indicates this is because glasses provide a clear central image on the macula but not on the peripheral retina. This “peripheral defocus” is now thought to cause the myopic growth of the eye.
At Vision Excellence, we specialise in providing orthokeratology to patients of all ages (including pre-kindy children!) and our practice is equipped with all the technology and resources necessary to provide high quality care and results to our orthokeratology patients.
Orthokeratology (also known as OrthoK or Overnight Vision Correction) involves the wearing of custom-fitted rigid contact lens retainers to mould the eye during sleep. These are worn each night during sleep and removed each morning, changing the front of the eye to a slightly different shape that focuses light clearly without any need for spectacles or day-time contact lenses.
OrthoK is a treatment for myopia (which is also called near-sightedness or short-sightedness). A person with myopia will be able to see things clearly up close to them, but not able to see things at longer distances away from them.
This is either because the eye has developed a focussing mechanism that is too strong for the eyeball, or that the eyeball has become too long from front to back, so that light is not focussed in the correct position on the macula in the centre of the retina.
OrthoK’s gentle and reversible procedures involve the collection of extremely accurate measurements of the front layer of the eye to design and precisely manufacture custom-made orthoK lenses.
Diagram 1: The image is focussed inside the fluid of the eye, not at the back of the eye on the retina, resulting in blurry vision.
Most of the focussing power of the eye is provided by its very front surface, which is called the cornea. Very small changes in the shape of the cornea can have a profound influence on the refractive power of the eye and therefore the clarity of sight.
OrthoK lenses gently and safely reshape the cornea while you sleep so that when the orthoK lenses are removed in the morning, the eyes can focus without the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses.
Diagram 2: The reshaped cornea corrects the refractive error of the eye. This allows the image to be perfectly focused on the retina, eliminating the blur caused by myopia and producing clear vision.
As well as the obvious visual benefits, orthokeratology has now also been proven to actually control the increase of myopic disease in people of all ages. As the myopic eyeball grows longer with time, there is an increasing risk of serious eye diseases including retinal detachment, myopic maculopathy and cataract as a young person moves into adulthood. Controlling myopia through orthoK dramatically reduces the chance of future blindness caused by myopic diseases. The earlier that myopia is controlled in childhood, the less chance of blindness in adulthood.
The reasons for wanting to be free of glasses and daytime contact lenses vary from person to person depending on their age and lifestyle. Although the main reason we offer orthoK is to protect the health of our patients’ eyes, in our experience the main benefit that young people enjoy most is the freedom provided by orthoK from glasses and daytime contact lenses for almost anyone with myopia, meaning they’re free to do all activities they love. No glasses or contact lenses to worry about losing, damaging or getting in the way!
Orthokeratology involves more than just sleeping in orthoK lenses. Our patients receive individual treatment plans, comprehensive follow up sessions, and are required to follow strict hygiene and handling requirements to support the health and safety of their eyes.
We hold ourselves and our patients to the highest standards of safety and care, and we know that orthoK is a big commitment for our patients (especially our younger orthoK wearers!). We love hearing about our patient’s experiences of orthoK and the impact that it can have on every aspect of life.
Over the last 6 years we have helped patients to work through challenges, build confidence and achieve results that have supported their progress through life. Contact Us for more information and to book an appointment to find out if orthoK is an option for your own, or your family’s vision.