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Myopia: The Latest Research

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Myopia or nearsightedness is the inability to see things far away while things up close are clear.  In the U.S., about 145 million people or 45% of have myopia (2010).  It is estimated that by the year 2050, 200 million people will have myopia.  Complications of myopia include cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment.  The table below is a summary of myopia risk.

Mitchell P, Hourihan F, Sandbach J, Wang JJ. The relationship between glaucoma and myopia: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmol 1999;106:2010-5.

The Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group. Risk Factors for Idiopathic Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment. Am J Epidemiol 1993;137:749-57.

Li X. Incidence and epidemiological characteristics of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment in Beijing, China. Ophthalmol 2003;110:2413-7.

How do we slow down myopia progression?

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is an FDA-approved process of wearing rigid gas permeable contact lenses to reshape the cornea while sleeping at night. Upon wakening the contact lenses are removed and clear vision can be achieved all day without the use of traditional contact lenses or glasses.  Ortho-k lenses are used to correct nearsightedness (myopia) with mild to moderate amount of astigmatism. Ortho-K is a reversible process; discontinuation of the lenses will result in loss of reshaping of the cornea.  Just like the use of a retainer after wearing braces on teeth,  the lenses must be worn in a nightly basis to achieve effectiveness.

 Ortho-K is FDA approved for Myopia up to -6.00 and Astigmatism up to -1.75.  However, with new technological designs up to -10 can be achieved (Off-label). 

Is Ortho-K right for me or my child?

Ortho-K was developed for children and adults who are nearsighted or cannot see things at a distance without corrective lenses. Nearsightedness can develop more rapidly during childhood.  Studies show that Ortho-K can reduce the progression of myopia by as much as 40-50%, reducing the risk of cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Ortho-K is a great option for those who:

  • Play sports
  • Want freedom from daytime contacts and glasses
  • Work in dusty environments
  • Cannot wear daytime contacts due to discomfort

Is Ortho-K safe?

Ortho-K is a very safe process of wearing rigid gas permeable contact lens to correct vision.  The risk of infection is less than traditional daily soft contact lenses.  It is important to follow-up on a regular basis and comply with the cleaning regimen prescribed by your eye doctor.  

Below is a video of one of our Ortho-K patients, Harshita.  She has been in Ortho-K since 2012, and had noticed that her vision was not as clear with her previous Ortho-K lenses from another office.  She came to our office and we were able to fit her with one of our custom Ortho-K lens design to help her see clearly throughout the day while slowing down her myopia!  Her vision is 20/20 throughout the day. 

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