This weekend just past over 250 optometrists flocked to the Gold Coast, from countries including England, Spain, China, USA, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Dubai, India, and of course Australia, to attend the Orthokeratology Society of Oceania and International Academy of Orthokeratology joint conference on the latest science in ortho-k and myopia control. Envision Optical optometrists Andrew Bowden, Madeleine Thompson and our newest member Salma Ismail, all attended the three day event and came away brimming with new ideas and knowledge in this exciting area of eye care. Both Madeleine and Salma are now accredited orthokeratologists, and are looking forward to helping Gold Coast patients enjoy the freedom of all day vision without glasses or contacts.
In the area of ortho-k, presentations included the latest computer generated designs and the ability to now use ortho-k to correct more extreme prescriptions including high myopia and significant astigmatism. Further progress has also occurred with improvements to lens design enabling even more effective treatment of hyperopia or long sightedness, and presbyopia, enabling patients who just require reading glasses the benefits of great vision through the day. For many patients used to good vision, the changes in your 40’s are very frustrating and ortho-k represents an excellent non-surgical vision correction option. Ortho-K assessments and treatment is available at all four of our Gold Coast optometry practices.
A large focus of the conference was the worldwide myopia epidemic and what we can do to help patients from getting worse. Myopia control has been part of our care at Envision Optical for several years now, and the team enjoyed multiple lectures from researchers and clinicians from around the globe on this important topic. The key take-home messages were:
- Research now indicates that myopia is due to 30% genetic factors, and 70% environmental i.e. the massively increased amount of time we and our children spend reading, looking at screens and generally performing near tasks plays the major role in vision getting worse
- Outdoor time matters!: at least two hours a day of outdoor activity has been shown to help slow myopia development
- Diet matters!: high sugar intake and processed foods play a significant role in myopia development
- Earlier onset of myopia will mean a much greater risk of developing high myopia: get your childs eyes tested early and often
- Patients with high myopia are at a much greater risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachments: all potentially blinding eye conditions
- Children of myopic parents are much more likely to become myopic
- Children with near vision focusing and convergence muscle imbalances are more likely to increase in their myopia: ensure your optometrist performs a comprehensive evaluation of binocular near function as a well as a basic prescription check
- Standard single focus glasses and contact lenses are not good options for treating myopia in patients who are progressing: in fact soft contact lenses show the fastest rates of progression!
- Bifocal or Multifocal soft contact lenses are the preferred soft contact lens option with myopia progression reduction of up to 70%
- Ortho-K is a very effective myopia control option with success rates of up to 80%
- Atropine eye drops even in low concentration are a very effective treatment option for myopia control
All three of us left the conference determined to ensure we can help our patients enjoy clear vision via ortho-k and by treating myopia via a preventative approach. Myopia control is the number one treatment aim for all myopic patients. We can do simple things to slow down or stop myopia progression.
At Envision Optical, our optometrists are all believers in preventative eyecare, especially when it comes to myopia. We believe it is time to change the traditional way of just prescribing stronger glasses for myopia every year as your child’s eyes get worse, as compelling scientific evidence shows this is an outdated approach. A comprehensive vision exam and discussion about all of the options to prevent the problem getting worse is our core philosophy of care. Please book in for an exam at any of our four Gold Coast locations at Nerang, Burleigh Heads, Burleigh Waters and Tweed Heads South for a comprehensive eye exam.