Dealing with Myopia
"Your Eyes Can Get Better"
Myopia (nearsightedness) is a condition in which the incoming light rays are refracted or bent by the cornea and lens of the eye to a focal point in front of the retina. Distant images are perceived as being blurred while vision up close is clear. Myopia can be corrected with spectacles and contact lenses.
When myopia reaches a high level and shows typical internal ocular degenerative characteristics it becomes a pathological or diseased condition of the eye. This high myopia is often progressive and can be destructive to important internal ocular structures and is the fourth leading cause of blindness in the United States. The importance of this condition is heightened by the fact that it is often underreported as a source of blindness with conditions secondary to the myopia being reported as a source of vision loss.
High myopia ia associated with retinal and vitreous degenerations. Forty percent of all retinal detachments occur in patients with high myopia. Glaucoma also has a high incidence of occurrence in high myopia and the damage that glaucoma causes to the eye occurs at lower pressures than in other groups of patients.
Unfortunately, the standard of care in the treatment of high myopia is almost a casual and passive therapy consisting of eyeglasses or soft contact lenses. Eyeglasses and soft contact lenses will not prevent the progression of myopia. A number of university studies have shown that rigid contact lenses will slow down or halt the progression of myopia.
A non-surgical procedure known as orthokeratology is used to halt and reverse this condition. Special contact lenses are used to gently and safely reshape the front surface of the eye. Continued lens changes are made over the following weeks and months to bring about further vision improvement. This procedure has been done successfully on thousands of patients in the United States over the past forty years and is extremely safe and effective. At the end of the therapeutic program a retainer contact lens must be worn for a specified number of hours per day or week to maintain the improved vision.
A word about transient or temporary myopia. The causes of this condition are:
Rapid Vision Improvement Without Surgery
Orthokeratology is a revolutionary contact lens treatment program designed to reduce or eliminate myopia and astigmatism. This procedure utilizes special high tech rigid gas permeable contact lenses to gently, safely and effectively change the curvature of the front surface of the eye.
As the curvature of the eye changes the patient's myopia is reduced and the natural vision improves. As additional lens changes are made, the patient's natural vision continues to improve. At the end of the therapy, retainer contact lenses are worn to maintain the improved vision. The amount of time that these retainer lenses are worn differs with each patient, but usually varies from several hours of wear per day to several hours of wear two or three days per week.
Results: Mild to moderate degrees of myopia (20/200 or better unaided visual acuity) may be corrected to 20/20 or 20/30. Higher degrees of myopia may achieve dramatic improvements allowing that person to have functional vision without lenses, which would have been previously impossible. Astigmatism-Most mild astigmatic conditions can be reduced dramatically or eliminated. Higher amounts of astigmatism may be partially improved enhancing visual performance.
With computerized corneal topography and new contact lens designs results have improved dramatically. Many patients utilizing these lenses in conjunction with newer techniques are able to see results in much shorter periods of time.
The basic purpose of Orthokeratology is to improve visual function. Not everyone can presently benefit by these procedures, but for many there is now a safe, non-surgical approach to improving and restoring vision.