AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Local doctors say up to 25 percent of school children will develop nearsightedness, or myopia, and some hope a new technique called orthokeratology can help.
Dr. Joe Williams with Broome Optical says myopia is partially genetic, but other theories claim it's because we do a lot of close work and the eyes adapt to that distance.
Doctors have been researching orthokeratology, or Ortho-K since the 1960s, but it's recently gained popularity. It's a non-surgical technique that slows the progression of myopia and can change the way your cornea refracts light.
Doctors have created gas permeable contact lenses that you wear at night to reshape your cornea while you sleep. When you take them out the next morning, you can enjoy perfect, or near-perfect vision.
Dr. Gladman with Premier Vision says almost 80 percent of the children he sees are nearsighted and the sooner you start Ortho-K the better. "Rather than getting stronger and stronger glasses, stronger and stronger contact lenses, we want to try to halt myopia because it can lead to retinal detachment, macular degeneration, cataracts or even glaucoma, " Gladman said.
While most patients want to correct their vision without wearing glasses or contacts, some doctors say this technique may not be the best choice for your child. Dr. Williams said the lenses are kind of like having a retainer in that if you don't wear them, there's no point. "It requires children to maintain overnight use of the contact lenses. If they don't use them overnight, the eyes will return to their myopic state."
Dr. Williams also says Ortho-K can be costly and very few insurance companies cover the procedure.
To find out if Ortho-K is right for you or your child, contact your family optometrist.