Orthokeratology and Education: a Vital Growing Combination
BY EDWARD S. BENNETT, OD, MSED
It's evident that orthokeratology is a growing contact lens specialty area. Research has shown that it's a safe and successful method for temporary myopia reduction. Several clinical studies are are targeting young progressive myopes with very positive results.
Is optometric education on this topic consistent with the increased emphasis in both research and clinical practice? In addition, what resources are most beneficial for effectively communicating orthokeratology education?
Educators Weigh in
With this in mind, the University of Missouri-St. Louis sent a nine-question survey to the contact lens director of every North American College and School of Optometry to review what changes have occurred in ortho-k education in the last 10 years.
We received responses from 15 schools. Table 1 shows that 10 years ago, each provided either zero hours or 1 hour of classroom education for ortho-k. Currently, 12 of the schools provide at least 2 hours, with two schools providing more than 5 hours.
We also learned that each of the schools fit between zero and 10 new patients into ortho-k lenses 10 years ago. Currently, most respondents indicated that they fit more than 20 new patients each year. One-third (5) of the responding schools have a separate clinical service for orthokeratology (compared to two schools 10 years ago), and 80 percent provide ortho-k workshops for their students (vs. 20 percent 10 years ago) with one-half of these schools providing multiple workshops per year.
Many of the laboratories have sponsored certification courses with Paragon Vision Sciences or Bausch & Lomb. BE (Precision Technology Services) and CRT (Paragon) have certified third-year and fourth-year students at more than half of the responding schools, with CRT certification occurring in 13 of the 15 (86.7 percent).
Helpful Ortho-k Resources
When asked about the most beneficial resources for orthokeratology, the most common responses were the following:
1. Specific Web sites for each lens design (particularly www.bausch.com and www.paragoncrt.com).
2. Manufacturing fitting guides and the B&L Guide to Overnight Orthokeratology (and accompanying DVD).
3. John Mountford's text titled "Orthokeratology" from Elsevier.
4. Rah/Jackson chapter in Bennett & Weissman's "Clinical Contact Lens Practice."
This survey shows that orthokeratology is having an increasing influence in colleges and schools of optometry, a trend that's expected to continue in the years ahead. It seems promising that this modality will flourish in the future. CLS
Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Tammy Jones for her data analysis and all contact lens faculty who responded to this survey.
Dr. Bennett is an associate professor of optometry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and is executive director of the GP Lens Institute.