Wearing glasses for shortsightedness could soon become a thing of the past. That's certainly what one British optometrist hopes as she unveils her amazing new nightly treatment regimen.
Laura Reece , a renowned optometrist from Hereford, England, developed this nightly treatment program called Ortho-k. She told reporters that she's confident both children and adults can greatly benefit from this treatment plan.
So, how exactly does Ortho-k work? It's quite simple. A person just has to wear personalized bespoke-made contact lenses every night while he/she sleeps. These contact lenses work to gently flatten out the corneas and correct a person's vision naturally.
Reece tried out these nightly contacts on herself to see how well they worked on her myopia. After a few weeks of testing, Dr. Reece told reporters, "With this overnight system I wake up to good vision: it is brilliant."
Anyone who wants to use the Ortho-k treatment option must consult a qualified optometrist and get detailed topographical maps taken of their corneas. These topographical maps, which are usually taken in a few seconds, are then sent off to a lab to be analyzed. Researchers look for various reference points on each patient's cornea maps and then design personalized contact lenses for the patient to wear every night.
One major reason this therapy works so well at nighttime has to do with the eyelids. Closed eyelids apply gentle pressure on the corneas each night, which is enough to change the shape of the corneas and naturally correct myopia.
Reece recommends all of her shortsighted patients give this treatment strategy a try. She says that most of the patients who want this treatment are children who play contact sports and want to get rid of their daily contacts and/or glasses.
In addition to helping student athletes, Dr. Reece hopes the Ortho-k system can help curb the progression of the so-called "myopia boom." More children than ever nowadays are experiencing symptoms of myopia all around the world. The increase in myopia cases has hit Asia particularly hard, with some countries reporting myopia cases in 80 percent of the population.
The "myopia boom" has become such a critical health issue around the world that the Association of Optometrists is publishing official guidelines and strategies on how to combat it. Members of the Association of Optometrists note that within the past 50 years, cases of myopia in children have doubled in most nations around the world. Dr. Reece is hopeful Ortho-k can be a part of the solution to the shortsighted epidemic.
However, wearing these nightly contact lenses isn't only for the youngsters. Dr. Reece has also had success using the Ortho-k solution with young adults, middle-aged patients, and even senior citizens.
Reece graduated from the University of Manchester with her Master's in Optometry in 2014. She continues to research the latest innovations in corrective contact lens care. Dr. Reece currently works on the optometrist team at the award-winning BBR Optometry in Hereford.