Saturday, July 6, 2013

Orthokeratology Stops or Slows Progression of Childhood Myopia

Orthokeratology is one of the specialized treatments we provide at our Vancouver eye clinic.  Naturally, we are please to see the continual flow of research studies that support its effectiveness.

The July 2013 issue of the journal Eye & Contact Lens published the latest in a long line of studies that have shown that orthokeratology is effective in stabilizing or slowing the progression of myopia in children.

Orthokeratology is a doctor-provided vision correction treatment that reshapes your cornea while you sleep so thatyou have perfect vision during the day. No glasses, no contacts, no surgery. Orthokeratology is also sometimes caled "corneal reshaping", "corneal molding", "overnight vision correction" or "ortho-K".

Eye doctors will tell you that some young people dislike going to the eye doctor because their eye-glasses prescription goes up at every visit. This phenomenon is known as myopia progression. Myopia is commonly called nearsightedness.

Not only does myopia progression mean increased inconvenience as the patient's vision worsens and thicker or more expensive lenses, high myopia puts a patient at risk of serious eye diseases that may result in blindness, such as glaucoma and retinal detatchment. Therefore, any treatment that can slow or stop the progression of myopia is welcome.

Myopia is quickly reaching epidemic proportions world wide:

  • The World Health Organization predicts that there will be 2.5 billion nearsighted people by year 2020.
  • Approximately 80% of elementary students in Singapore are myopic.
  • 90% of college students in China are nearsighted.
  • The National Institutes of Health reports that in 1972, the frequency of myopia was 25% in U.S. individuals aged 12 to 54. By 2004, it had increased to 41.6%. (Roan,2010).
  • In 2004 approximately 26% of all people living in the U.S. and Europe were myopic.
  • The incidence of myopia in "hunter-gatherer" societies where children perform little near work, is about 1%.
Orthokeratology has been shown to stop or slow the progression of myopia in children in a number of studies. The latest study, published in the July 2013 issue of the journal Eye & Contact Lens sought to determine whether overnight orthokeratology has an impact on a child's specacles prescription over a period up to 8 years. In the study, a group of kids with no orthokeratology treatment was compared with a group that received the treatment.

The results shows that on the whole, the children treated with orthokeratology showed a significantly more stable specatcles prescription than the chidlren who did received orthokeratology treatment. An impressive 64% of the eyes treated wtith orthokeratology stopped getting worse all together. As the authors put it, they "demonstrated an apparent total arrest of manifest myopic refractive change."

The study's authors concluded that the study provides evidence that orthokeratology can reduce the rate of progression of childhood myopia over the long term.

Eye & Contact Lens
Corneal Reshaping Influences Myopic Prescription Stability (CRIMPS): An Analysis of the Effect of Orthokeratology on Childhood Myopic Refractive Stability
Eye Contact Lens 2013 Jul 01;[EPub Ahead of Print], LE Downie, R Lowe

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