The prevalence of myopia — or nearsightedness — in the United States and around the world is eye-opening. Nearly one-third of the global population has myopia and this number is expected to rise to 50% by 2050. In the US, the prevalence of myopia has nearly doubled over the last three decades and now impacts 42% of the population.
If you or your child figure among these numbers, Dr. Curtis Frank and the team here at Vision and Ortho-K Center want you to know that there are solutions. Through orthokeratology, or ortho-k, we can better manage myopia, allowing you to avoid surgery and/or long-term use of glasses.
Here’s a closer look at how ortho-k works.
To better illustrate why ortho-k works so well, it’s important to fully understand what we’re up against when it comes to myopia.
With myopia, your ability to see things close to you is fine, but you’re unable to focus well on objects at a distance. This is due to refractive error in your eyes that causes light to focus in front of your retina rather than directly on it, leaving you with blurry distance vision. The reason for this misfocus typically stems from a misshapen cornea, which is the area of your eye that’s responsible for bending light so that it focuses squarely on your retina.
Since myopia is primarily caused by a misshapen cornea, ortho-k is a technique in which we reshape your cornea overnight through rigid gas-permeable contact lenses.
Your cornea is a malleable area made up of soft tissues, and we flatten this tissue through specialized ortho-k lenses that you wear to bed each night. When you wake in the morning, you remove the lenses and your cornea retains the new shape, which allows you to better focus at a distance throughout the day.
To maintain your great vision, you continue to wear the ortho-k lenses each night, as your cornea will eventually return to its former shape if you stop wearing the lenses.
There’s no uniform size when it comes to ortho-k lenses, and we customize the lenses for each of our clients. We start by mapping and measuring the surface of your cornea using a corneal topographer.
Once we have this information, we design lenses that will provide you with the best vision possible. Most people achieve 20/40 vision with ortho-k lenses.
One area where ortho-k lenses can really shine is with children. If your child is struggling with long-distance vision, this problem may get worse as they develop. Through ortho-k lenses, our goal is to not only better manage myopia in your child, but stop its progression, as well.
One study found that ortho-k lenses slowed myopic progression in children by 36-56%. Another study of 66 school-aged children found overnight ortho-k lenses were “effective in slowing myopia progression over a twelve-year follow-up period and demonstrated a clinically acceptable safety profile.”
If you’d like to learn more about ortho-k and whether this approach to myopia control is right for you or your child, contact our office in Boston, Massachusetts, to set up a consultation.