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One Year of Myopia Management: Our Journey with Ortho-K:

A Year in Review: Lily and Reuben’s Progress - "Loving Ortho-K"

It has been an enlightening year since we embarked on the myopia management journey for our children, Lily and Reuben. It officially started a year ago, when we made our first trip to see Bhavin Shah, at Central Vision Opticians – and subsequently saw both kids prescribed with Ortho-K lenses, a method designed to reshape the cornea overnight, offering clear vision throughout the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Understanding Ortho-K

Ortho-K, short for orthokeratology, involves wearing specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses while sleeping. These lenses temporarily reshape the cornea, which corrects refractive errors like myopia (short-sightedness). This method is particularly appealing for children, as it has been clinically proven to slow down eyeball growth and the progression of myopia.

The Yearly Check-Up: Measuring Success

We recently returned for an annual check-up to evaluate how effective Ortho-K has been for Lily and Reuben. Over the past year, they have adapted well to wearing their lenses overnight and enjoying clear vision during the day.

Whilst Lily has pretty much mastered putting in and taking out her lenses, Reuben, being two years younger, struggled somewhat. Recently, he also got to grips with taking his contacts out, but I made an executive decision to help him more to get them in. As myopia management is no quick fix, regular checkups are crucial, so this annual check is a good opportunity to gain insights into their eye health and the progression of their myopia.

Challenges and Changes: Axial Length Measurement

One of the challenges with monitoring the effectiveness of Ortho-K is that it modifies the shape of

the cornea. This means that we cannot measure the exact diopters of their myopia using traditional methods – We can only measure if, having worn the lenses the night before, the children’s vision is still 20:20. Instead, we need to measure the axial length of the eyeball to monitor changes and assess the risk of future eye health problems. Axial length growth is a significant factor, as an increase can indicate a worsening of myopia and the potential for complications later in life, such as retinal detachment or myopic maculopathy.

The Importance of Axial Length

Axial length measurement is a vital part of myopia management. The elongation of the eyeball is a primary cause of myopia progression and related complications. By monitoring axial length, we can gain a clearer understanding of whether the myopia is stabilising or progressing. During our recent visit, Bhavin used advanced equipment to measure this, providing us with the reassurance that Lily and Reuben's myopia management plan is on the right track.

Our Experience with Ortho-K: Benefits and Observations

The past year has shown us several benefits of Ortho-K:

  • Effective Vision Correction: Both Lily and Reuben have enjoyed having clear vision during the day without the need for glasses. This is by far the biggest benefit to them. Asked if they wanted to stop their Ortho-K, or try something else. Both insisted, they wanted to continue.

  • Myopia Progression: As a parent, I wanted to see axial length back to middle of the pack for their age. But, I now know enough to know, that isn’t going to happen. Bhavin explained that the axial length measurements are important, but not to be too concerned about them. Simply put, you can’t know what the axial length would have been, if the children hadn’t been on Ortho-K lenses. It would likely have been significantly higher. So whilst the consultation showed that their axial length measurements had increased, as they are growing this is to be expected.

  • Increased Confidence: I have noticed, that they feel more confident and active. Reuben has started to play football, and Lily enjoys acting and dance, both of which are just that little bit easier without glasses. But it was on our holiday that I think the real benefit became apparent. Not only were both were able to swim and dive into the pool unhindered – when they came out, they could find us that much easier.

Looking Ahead: Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation

As we move forward, regular monitoring of axial length and eye health will remain crucial. We are committed to continuing this journey, adapting the myopia management plan as needed to ensure the best outcomes for Lily and Reuben.

The kid's (and my) journey with Ortho-K has only just started, but so far has been positive and encouraging. It’s not easy, but it is certainly worth it for the benefit of not having to wear glasses as much as for the management aspect. We are grateful to Bhavin and the team at Central Vision Opticians for their support and expertise. As Lily and Reuben continue to grow, we will remain vigilant and proactive in managing their myopia and hope they enjoy clear, healthy vision for years to come.

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