The Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University issued a press release today on the results from two studies on orthokeratology. One, called the “ROMIO” study (Retardation of Myopia in Orthokeratology), was a single blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial on the effectiveness of orthokeratology for myopia control. The other, called the “TO SEE” study ((Toric Orthokeratology-Slowing Eyeball Elongation), looked at the effectiveness of orthokeratology for astigmatism correction.
Brief description of orthokeratology
Patients who wish to receive an orthokeratology treatment must undergo a comprehensive oculo-visual exam and specific measures of the shape of their eyes to see if they are good candidates for the treatment. Using computer software, the optometrist is able to design special contact lenses adapted to the shape of the eyes of each candidate. These contact lenses are rigid gas permeable lenses and are made from high oxygen content materials, which can be worn during sleep. The aim is to reshape the cornea in order to obtain perfect vision the next day without having to wear glasses or contact lenses.
Orthokeratology is the only non-surgical treatment that allows you to be free of corrective lenses like eye-glasses and contact lenses. For cons, the treatment must be continuous.
Progression of myopia
Myopia and its progression is a serious problem. Not only does it cause a gradual decrease in the uncorrected vision, but it ensures that the individual needs thicker and thicker and more expensive glasses. In addition, severe myopia increases the risk of retinal tear.
After 24 months of research, the ROMIO study found that the increase in eyeball length (also called “axial length” — the progression of myopia is measured by observing the elongation of the eyeball) in a group of subjects that were treated with orthokeratology was 0.36mm. In the group that was not treated with orthokeratology and only wore spectacles, the eyeball length was 0.63mm longer. The results indicate that orthokeratology slowed down the progression of myopia by 43%.
Researchers at the same university also concluded the “TO-SEE” (Toric Orthokeratology-Slowing Eyeball Elongation) study which looked at 37 children aged 6 to 12 years to study the potential of orthokeratology for the reduction of astigmatism. The team found that toric design orthokeratology lens retainers effectively reduced astigmatism by 79% after one month of wear. At the end of 24 months, the eyeball length of the participants was 0.31mm which indicated that myopia was also being controlled.
Orthokeratology is a reversible treatment and can be stopped anytime. The results of these two studies show that orthokeratology is a safe and effective solution for refractive error correction, myopic control and astigmatism reduction.