I was first introduced to the concept of orthokeratology (ortho-k) some time around 2000 by David Ruston, now Director of Global Professional Education and Development with Johnson and Johnson Vision, but who was then working at Nigel Burnett Hodd’s practice in central London. I was totally intrigued by, though I admit also somewhat scared of, corneal reshaping and therefore did nothing. A few years later, around 2004, No7 Contact held a Procornea workshop for practitioners to learn how to fit ortho-k. I not only attended, but also had some lenses fitted personally.
I slept in the lenses and was totally flabbergasted with my vision when I removed them the following morning. I spent the next six months learning from my personal experiences with ortho-k. I wanted to know what my patients would experience when I decided to go live with this modality.
Since 2005, ortho-k has become a mainstream service within our contact lens portfolio. Initially, I was using it mainly for patients who had dry eyes, those with poor tolerance to soft lenses, those who were considering corrective surgery, and for those who were actively involved in sports, especially water sports. My colleagues and I then started fitting the lenses for some of our younger patients as a lifestyle option, as the lenses would only be used at home and under parental supervision. We also started to notice, albeit anecdotally, that we were seeing lower refraction Rx changes in some of our young patients. A few years later still, more and more reports were appearing, particularly from the Far East and the US, regarding ortho-k and myopia management. Today, ortho-k is recognised as an important option for minimising myopia progression.
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