August 23, 2019
Nearsightedness, also sometimes known as myopia, is a very common refractive eye error. In fact, some studies suggest that the numbers of patients experiencing nearsightedness is reaching epidemic levels. Current estimates infer that as many as a third of the world population will be nearsighted by the end of this decade.
Patients who are nearsighted are able to see objects close to them very clearly, but those that are further out appear hazy and blurred. This is due to a problem with the way that light refracts when it enters their eyes. In order to see clearly, light might be refracted directly onto the retina – an area of light-sensitive cells at the very back of the eye. Patients with myopia have irregularly shaped corneas or particularly long eyeballs which cause the light to instead be refracted in front of the retina.
While being nearsighted is nothing to worry about, it can be inconvenient. This is because most people rely on prescription lenses to correct their vision. These can be worn as contact lenses or placed into glasses frames depending on what suits you. Some patients choose to have their cornea reshaped using laser technology. There are numerous types of procedure like these, with LASIK laser vision correction being the best known.
Fortunately, there is an option for preventing nearsightedness from occurring altogether and our experienced and knowledgeable team will be delighted to explain it to you in detail. It is called Ortho-K and here is what you need to know.
Ortho-K or orthokeratology as it is formally known is a form of ocular therapy that is designed to enable patients to combat myopia. It involves wearing a set of gas-permeable contact lenses overnight while you sleep. Whilst you are sleeping, the lenses and the underlying tear film help to reshape the cornea so that it is a more regular shape.
Ortho-K lenses can also correct smallish degrees of astigmatism, farsightedness and presbyopia – the development of poor vision as a result of advanced age. It must be worn every night without fail for the effects of the treatment to become apparent. Over time, you will notice that your ability to see clearly during the day is improved. Eventually, patients will be able to see properly without the need for glasses or contacts for as long as 48 hours.
In addition to treating myopia, Ortho-k can also help to prevent it. This is known as myopia control and is particularly popular amongst young children. Making sure that your child can see clearly is essential for his growth and development. Being unengaged with the workload will impact on his ability to learn and this could compromise his education and any pastimes he chooses to engage in. It can even have a detrimental effect on his confidence and social skills.
Studies have shown that Ortho-K has been scientifically proven to reduce the rate of progression of myopia by between 40-50%. This means that your child could potentially see clearly for longer, without the need for prescription eyewear. This is because they subtly influence the shape of the cornea, encouraging the cornea into a position that facilitates clear vision.
If you have further questions about nearsightedness, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to have your vision checked by our experienced and skilled eye care team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our offices.