Posted by: juliegriffey | April 3, 2011

Contact Lenses that Reshape Your Eyes, Continued…


A few weeks ago, I first heard about contacts that reshape the eyes and reverse nearsightedness. This sounded like a fantastic invention, especially since I am nearsighted.  Perhaps I would be an ideal candidate?

So I did a little probing.  I started by asking my (retired) ophthalmologist father in law, Dr. Tom, what he thought about this type of contact lens.  He  had never used them in his practice but said any device that reshapes the cornea can not be good.

This wasn’t a good enough answer for me.  Perhaps, being retired, my father-in-law, was out of touch. Perhaps my brother-in-law, his son, Dr. Paul, and practicing ophthalmologist would have a different opinion? Not so much. He said he would never use or prescribe them.  It “can’t be healthy to warp the cornea on a daily basis,” he said.

So, who uses these contact lenses? It is Dr. Paul’s opinion that only optometrists prescribe them because they can not perform surgery and can therefore not offer Lasik.

Clearly, this is just one side of the story.  What do optometrists think about using contacts to correct vision?  What about the people who have used them to improve their vision?  More to explore in future blog entries.

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Responses

  1. I am an optometry student graduating in May and have worn these lenses (orthokeratology) for 11 years and have also learned quite a bit about it in school and fitted many kids with it. There’s some research going on in the role of these lenses in myopia control. Used in kids, can help slow down the progression of nearsightedness…personally, I can tell you I’ve been nearsighted since 2nd grade and started wearing these lenses in 6th grade when I had climbed quickly to -4.75 in each eye, and when I went back to wearing regular contacts 11 years later, I was -5.00 in the right eye and -4.75 in the left eye. I’m just one case study, but there are many reports similar to mine, the question is we don’t know if I would’ve progressed more if I hadn’t done orthokeratology, or if it was really the lenses that helped. It has to do with the way the lens reshapes the cornea, leaving the peripheral parts of the cornea hyperopic (farsighted), and this hyperopic defocus actually slows down the elongation of the eye which is one cause of myopia progression. Interesting right?

    Regardless of whether or not it slows down myopia progression, many optometrists fit kids with these because kids are not good candidates for refractive surgery, but they want to be free of contacts and glasses during the day (these lenses are worn only while sleeping, and are rigid gas permeable lenses, not soft lenses). I know for sure that I loved the freedom of being able to go to the beach and swim and see clearly without worrying about losing contacts or anything!

  2. I have been doing ortho-k for more than ten years. Results have been wonderful. I know of two ophthalmologists who do ortho-k as well . However, it is primarily an optometric procedure. Since Dr. Tom and Dr. Paul have no practical experience with the procedure, I would take their comments with a grain of salt. When Dr. Tom And Dr. Paul say that changing the shape of the cornea or warping the cornea can’t be good, I hope they realize that the post ortho-k shape of the cornea looks very similar to what happens to the cornea after lasik. Lasik, however, is a much more invasive procedure where a flap is created and tissue removed with subsequent scarring to the cornea. If patients experience glare and haloes after lasik,it is a done deal. In ortho-k, all one does is discontinue wear and the cornea goes back to its original state. If vision changes all one does is have a different mold prescribed. If vision changes in lasik one undergoes additional surgery and subsequent loss of tissue.

    So, get more information and perhaps get a consult with an orthokeratologist in your area.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Dr. Weitz

    • Thank you so much for the info. I realized that by profiling two ophthalmologists – especially two that are father and son – I was bound to get a biased opinion. It is very interesting to hear a different perspective.


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