In recent blog posts I’ve expounded upon how miraculous OrthoK is. I’ve described how comfortable corneal molds are and how effective they can be in slowing down a child’s progressive myopia.
In this post I want to make a point about not WHY to do corneal reshaping as much as WHEN to do it.
When I lecture to new fitters, I suggest starting out with basic cases which are in the -1.00 to -3.00 diopter range of nearsightedness. In this way, even with minimal experience the new Orthokeratologist and new OrthoK patient can both achieve a level of success.
For the experienced practitioner in this specialty, there is probably nothing more frustrating than meeting an OrthoK candidate who has waited (almost) too long to inquire about myopia control. On a regular basis I meet children who are 9 to 12 years of age whose glasses are already -6.00 or even higher.
Why does this happen?
Sometimes it’s the child’s previous eye doctor who either knows little about the positive effects of corneal reshaping and thus doesn’t believe in it or simply wishes to sell new eyeglasses to this poor kid every year. Or, sometimes it’s because the eye doctor fears doing a case that is already in the -3.00 to -5.00 range and now the child’s progressive myopia is getting out of control. Lastly, it can be because the parents in their fear of doing something relatively new just wait too long to help their child. Then by the time the case is in the extended range they now feel as if they have nothing to lose by finally trying OrthoK on their kids.
The reasons above may sound extreme but if you talk to an Academy Orthokeratologist, they will tell you that this happens not just in Dr. Gerowitz’s practice but in theirs as well.
So when is a good time to start OrthoK?
According to Dr. Pauline Cho’s ROMIO study at Hong Kong Polytechnic; children who are “fast” myopic progressors and wearing glasses increase by -1.00 or more per year. This happens 65% of the time when the child is between the ages of 7 and 8.
This would indicate that the time to start a myopia control OrthoK program would be when the patient is at a younger age and myopic changes are just starting but haven’t yet accelerated. In fact, we have begun successful OrthoK programs on patients as young as 6 years of age. Often parents will help the child for the first 6 to 18 months with care and handling but in time the child assumes these responsibilities.
What can you do if you feel your child’s nearsightedness is getting out of control?
We offer no charge consultations in which we get to meet your child and discuss their vision problems and concerns. We get to know them a little so they feel comfortable in our office and by doing a few simple tests, find out if they are a good candidate for corneal reshaping. We also spend time discussing the theory of how and why Orthokeratology works with you, the parent. By the end of the consultation, all questions are answered and everyone is able to decide if OrthoK is the correct approach to the child’s vision problem.
What’s your next step?
Call our office at 847-705-7777 and set up a convenient time in which to meet Dr. Rob and his staff for a free consultation. See you soon!
Robert Gerowitz, Optometrist-Orthokeratologist