It’s January…time to think about the year to come! New technology in eye care should be included in your list of resolutions. Think about how to upgrade the practice and the care provided. The benefits that orthokeratology (ortho-k) can bring to patients and to a practice can certainly be a significant part of that upgrade.
Ortho-k has become recognized as a safe and attractive option to correct refractive errors versus spectacles, daytime contact lenses, or refractive surgery (Liu and Xie, 2016). Patients who have experienced both soft lenses and ortho-k report that their vision is equal or better with ortho-k (Lipson et al, 2005). In addition, ortho-k provides freedom from any vision-correcting device during all waking hours. Not needing vision correction during the day positively impacts patients by giving them the feeling of more confidence, less activity restrictions, less worry about their vision and fewer symptoms of itching and dryness than when they wear soft lenses. 2-5 giving them the feeling of more confidence, less activity restrictions, less worry about their vision, and fewer symptoms of itching and dryness than when they wear soft lenses (Lipson et al, 2005; Hiraoka et al, 2009; Queiros et al, 2012; Santodomingo-Rubido et al, 2013). Studies show that ortho-k patients rate their vision-related quality of life higher than do those in glasses or soft contact lenses (Lipson et al, 2005; Hiraoka et al, 2009; Queiros et al, 2012; Santodomingo-Rubido et al, 2013).
By adding ortho-k, practitioners will add a new element to their practices that will generate more excitement, more referrals, and more income. Ortho-k patients are very excited about their improved vision, and they share that with friends, family, and co-workers. It’s an incredible source of word-of-mouth referrals. In addition, ortho-k wearers are also dedicated—they keep coming back. This upgrades your practice.
Additionally, when practitioners start fitting ortho-k, it can add a new element of enthusiasm for them. They will find a refreshing challenge in bringing a new option to their patients while using clinical skills in a new way. It’s a true injection of fun into the daily routine for practitioners, their staff, and their patients. It puts a whole new perspective on the practice of eye care.
The Myopia Benefit
Besides a new option to correct myopia, ortho-k introduces an option to treat myopia as a disease process (Holden et al, 2015). Although off-label as a means to slow myopia progression, an increasing volume of worldwide studies show that children using ortho-k have a significantly slower rate of refractive and axial length increases compared to those wearing spectacles or soft contact lenses (Wen et al, 2015; Si et al, 2015). Ortho-k patients not only can enjoy all of their daily activities without the use of vision correction, they are also reducing the risk of complications later in life that result from longer axial length (retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts) (Flitcroft, 2012; Cho et al, 2016). This means that ortho-k provides both immediate and long-term benefits to patients.
A Resolution that Benefits All
As the year begins, resolve to upgrade by prescribing ortho-k. It’s a win-win-win, most importantly for the patients but also for the practice and for the practitioner. As with any resolution, a change in habit requires specific goals, commitment, and a timeline. Take the steps necessary to educate yourself and your staff about ortho-k, prepare your office for these positive changes, and look forward to the challenges and rewards you will enjoy. Think about it: with ortho-k, you can change lives…overnight! CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #278.