By Zoey Thompson
O’Fallon, MO – Astigmatism and myopia are genetic degenerative eye disorders that have grown at a rate of 66% since 1971 with around 2.5 billion people developing this condition over the last forty years. Symptoms of nearsightedness are mitigated through the use of glasses or contacts, however, a new treatment for the condition has made it possible to halt the progression and help prevent further damage to the eye. Orthokeratology or “Ortho-k” is a non-surgical solution for nearsightedness that involves wearing specially-designed contacts overnight. The correcting lenses gently correct the curvature of the cornea so that the progression of this degenerative disease can be halted, thus preventing the purchase of thicker glasses year after year. Caught early enough in children, it can help to prevent severe eye conditions, such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
“This is a remarkable new treatment for children and adults,” says optometrist and orthokeratology specialist, Dr. Joe Hegyi of O’Fallon Family Eyecare. “It has the ability to stabilize myopia through an accelerating reshaping technique. As one of the first optometrists certified for this procedure I have been able to witness its efficacy and feel comfortable recommending it to parents and my adult patients.”
Hegyi explains that the treatment not only prevents the progression of myopia but also reduces or eliminates the need for daytime glasses and contact lenses. The affordable treatment has also been shown to reduce the risk for potentially blinding conditions. “Children start to develop symptoms around the age of six,” he explains. “If we can start them on this treatment early we have an opportunity to prevent blindness and help them to live easier lives.”
When worn overnight, the ortho-k lenses gently correct the curvature of the cornea. By the time the lenses are removed in the morning, distant objects will come back into focus and patients can see clearly without the use of glasses or daytime contacts. This treatment eliminates the need for thicker and thicker glasses and is an incredible boon to those children and adults who lead active lifestyles or play sports. It has also been shown to not have the adverse effects of daytime lenses and can be worn even by those who are irritated with normal contact lenses or perhaps have allergies related to lenses.
For more information about the procedure, visit their website.