If you can see objects nearby clearly, but those that are further away appear blurred, it is very likely that you are suffering from myopia. Myopia, also known as near-sightedness, is the most common refractive eye condition in the world and is believed to affect as much as 40% of the adult U.S. population today, with this number expected to grow over the coming decade. Unfortunately, patients who have moderate to severe myopia are heavily reliant on prescription lenses to improve the clarity of their vision. Those who dislike these options may undergo laser vision correction surgery, which permanently addresses your myopia by making physical changes to your eye. However, it isn’t just their current day to day visual capabilities that people with myopia need to be concerned about. Patients with myopia are more likely to go on to suffer from other, more serious, ocular conditions, some of which can have permanent consequences for their long-term vision. These include glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration.
The good news is that it is now possible to get myopia under control, halting or slowing its progression so that the risk of going on to develop a sight-threatening condition are reduced. We are pleased to be able to offer myopia management here at our optometry offices in College Station, TX.
To understand the benefits of myopia management, patients must first understand what myopia is and how it affects them. Myopia is a refractive problem. This means that it is caused by an abnormality in the way that light is refracted when it enters the eye. In a patient with near enough perfect vision, light enters the eye and passes through the cornea which is a clear lens at the front of the eye. In patients with clear vision, the cornea is domed like a soccer ball. This enables the light to be refracted directly onto the retina, which is made up of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. The retina turns the light into images which are sent to the brain via the optic nerve to tell us what we can see. However, patients with myopia have an abnormal curve to their cornea that is too steep, or their eyeball is longer than normal. This causes light that enters the eye to be refracted in front of the retina instead, and this sends an unclear image to our brain.
Conventional prescription lenses, whether in glasses or contact lenses, correct this refractive error when we are wearing them, enabling us to see clearly. However, as soon as we remove the lenses, our vision becomes blurred again. Patients who undergo laser vision correction have the shape of their cornea permanently altered using laser technology. However, not all patients are suitable to undergo this type of procedure. Fortunately, there is another option that both corrects vision and manages the progression of myopia. It is known as orthokeratology.
Orthokeratology, or ortho k for short, is the title given to a specific, non-invasive ocular therapy that enables patients to see clearly and enjoy a slow-down or total halt in the progression of their myopia. There are many different brands available, but the premise behind the treatment remains the same.
Orthokeratology refers to the use of custom-designed and manufactured contact lenses to correct patient vision for up to 48 hours at a time, as well as managing the extent of their myopia. These contact lenses, which are made from gas-permeable material to enable oxygen to reach the eyes and keep them healthy, apply gentle pressure to the cornea while you sleep, changing their shape. When the patient wakes the next day, they simply remove their ortho k lenses and go about their day as usual, without relying on prescriptive solutions.
Orthokeratology treatment is progressive, and it can take a number of sessions of wearing the contact lenses to notice a difference in your vision. However, with continued wear, patients can enjoy near enough perfect vision without relying on glasses or contact lenses. Better still, ortho k treatment has been shown to be more effective at controlling the progression of myopia than any other solution. Better still, orthokeratology solutions suit virtually any patient of any age. They are particularly popular amongst parents of myopic children who are hoping to slow the development of their child’s condition. Childhood myopia figures are rising just as rapidly as adult ones, believed to be in part due to increased time spent indoors and using screens. Orthokeratology solutions could limit the progression of your child’s myopia.
If you have further questions about myopia management, or if you would like to know more about orthokeratology, our knowledgeable, expert optometry team would be happy to help. Please get in touch with our offices in College Station, TX today.