Myopia Control and Ortho-K
- Myopia or Nearsightedness causes blur in the individual’s distance vision. It is usually progressive especially in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. Myopia is becoming more and more prevalent among the modern population.
- Myopia progression now can be slowed or controlled through specific management techniques offered by Dr. Hicks. Myopia control is beneficial to enhance quality of life as well as reduce the chances of developing retinal problems including retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and even macular degeneration later in life! Dr. Hicks is passionate about controlling such things as he suffers with Myopia too and has already developed retinal problems including detachment. His desire is to protect his patients from these challenges.
- Myopia management options at SeePort include glasses, multi-focal soft contact lenses, Orthokeratology or Ortho-K, and specially formulated dilute Atropine eye drops.
- Consultations with Dr. Hicks are the best way to determine your or your child’s candidacy for the various methods of Myopia control A personalized plan will be provided when appropriate.
Orthokeratology or Corneal Reshaping Therapy (CRT)
What is Orthokeratology? (also referred to as Ortho-K, Overnight Vision Correction, and Corneal Refractive Therapy or CRT) According to The American Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control, “this is a revolutionary non-surgical procedure that eliminates the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses. It improves vision by gently reshaping your eye WHILE YOU SLEEP using specially designed therapeutic contact lenses. You just put the specially fitted lenses in at bedtime, and when you awake, you will have clear, sharp, natural vision for your waking hours. This safe and effective treatment can correct near-sightedness (including high prescriptions), farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia (blurred near vision). It is a great alternative to LASIK for those who don’t want the risk or are not ready for surgery.” (Source: okglobal.org).
What can I expect when starting Ortho-K? After your examination to determine your candidacy, your initial fit will require multiple visits to the office to fit specially ordered lenses to your eyes. Typically this involves an appointment to dispense the initial lenses and a return the next day to evaluate its fit and effect. Then the doctor will typically monitor your progress at about one week and one month. At any time during this process the doctor may order new lenses if appropriate to improve your vision. In fact, it is common for the doctor to dispense multiple pairs of Ortho-K lenses during an initial fit. The process can vary and the doctor will guide you. During the reshaping process, your vision can be variable and you could experience some blurred vision, so at times temporary soft contacts may be necessary to assist during the transition. These will be provided as needed. Ultimately, results of the improved vision can also vary especially in complex cases.
What can I expect after the fitting process? Once the fit is complete you will need to use your lenses at night on an ongoing basis between every night and every other night to retain the shape of the cornea and maintain clear vision. This rate varies depending on the flexibility and nature of your cornea. Typically, the best results will occur with 8 hours of use each night though many are successful with as little as 6 hours per night.
After my initial fit, how often do I need to see the doctor and replace lenses? We recommend an annual evaluation to check on the health of the eye, the fit, and vision provided by your Ortho-K lenses. Typically, new lenses will be recommended for enhancement and maintenance of the vision or fit.
How successful is Ortho-K? What if I stop? Ortho-K is very successful, although there is no guarantee that it will work for everyone. The doctor will discuss your candidacy with you and give you some expectations. One of the great benefits of Ortho-K is it is non-surgical and therefore COMPLETELY REVERSIBLE if you stop using your Ortho-K lenses. Typically the cornea will revert back to its original shape after just a few days. Like prolonged (many years) use of traditional rigid gas permeable contact lenses, prolonged Ortho-K use can require a little time for stability of the cornea and therefore vision, but it is rare for this to take longer than a few weeks. There have been cases that can take a few months after prolonged use, every cornea is different. Keep in mind your vision can be variable during this transition process.
Who is a candidate for Ortho-K? Most any age individual can use Ortho-K. However, it is an excellent option for children. There are many studies showing it’s not only safe for children but very effective at stopping or slowing the advancement of Myopia or Nearsightedness making it an excellent option. Usually children about age 11 or more are comfortable with contacts of any type, however children as young as four have been successfully treated. This will depend on the ability of the child to care for the lenses. Ortho-K can be successful for patients who have had Lasik in the past or are not a good candidate for Lasik. Finally, it can be a good option for those with dry eyes since it is only used while one sleeps allowing more comfortable vision during waking hours.
Are there any risks to Ortho-K? Yes, like all contact lenses there are risks associated to use Ortho-K lenses. Though the risk is low and complications are rare, they include blurred vision, glare, irritation, infection, inflammation, abrasion, and rarely intolerance. Usually these are easy to recover from or correct, but rarely they can be sight threatening. Like all contact lens use there are occasionally rare infections that have caused loss of vision up to and including blindness. Therefore, it is important for you to follow the protocols given, keep your appointments, and to call or come in IMMEDIATELY if you experience any REDNESS, PAIN, WATERY OR MUCOUS DISCHARGE, or INCREASED SENSITIVITY TO LIGHT. DO NOT WEAR ORTHO-K LENSES DURING WAKING HOURS without express authorization by the doctor! This will increase your risk of complications. If you have a history of herpetic corneal disease you must discuss this with the Doctor prior to fitting.
What about glare? What precautions should I take when driving? As mentioned, it is possible and sometimes probable to have glare, ghosting, and/or halos especially during the initial fitting process. You should understand what your glare level is likely to be at completion. Please discuss your symptoms with the clinic staff or doctor so we can work to reduce them. You should only drive when you are certain your vision is clear enough to safely operate your vehicle.