Thursday, 29 January 2009

OK to Ortho-K?

First things first: I would like to apologise for my appauling pun usage in recent post titles. I really don't know what's come over me this past week, it's almost as if stress is manifesting itself in an inability to blog.

One thing which always stresses me out is having to make choices. I can be very efficient and decisive in catastrophic situations (most of the time), but anything which requires me to sit down and think for a long time is basically my worst nightmare. I am unfortunately prone to analysing, over-analysing and then analysing a little more. Give me an earthquake, 50 exams, a newborn baby and I'm fine. Ask me to make a sort of important choice and the stress-induced spots come out.

Today, an optometrist told me about something called Ortho K. I am high-mid short-sighted and have been since I was around 8. In those first four years, my eyesight deteriorated rapidly and I've reached a sort of plateau, although according to this optometrist within the next ten years it's only going to get much, much worse.

Orthro-K is vision correction therapy; basically a sort of backwards contact lenses. You wear them in the night, they reshape your cornea. Take them out in the morning and you can see properly, lense free for the rest of the day. Then you put them back in when you go to sleep, so they re-reshape your cornea again. A bit pointless no, when you can wear normal contact lenses as well as stylish glasses instead?

Well, the optometrist said to me, Ortho-K is now being used on young short-sighted people (under the age of 25) to stop their eyesight from deteriorating. You wear the lenses just like anyone else, but if you wear them consistantly until the end of your formative years, then the level of your short-sightedness should be frozen forever.

However I am already a little old and my eyesighted a little too deteriorated for this effect to be guaranteed. Ideally, you should start Ortho-K as soon as you start becoming short sighted, so I am reaching a decade too late. Nevertheless, it can still work and I would definitely be delighted to prevent my eyesight from reaching -10, when at the moment I already feel practically blind at around -5.

Still, Ortho-K costs money and means that I have to leave all my beautiful glasses locked away. I have grown so used to them and when I haven't had a chance to tidy up my eyebrows, or my skin is incredibly dry and I'm not wearing a scrap of make-up, my glasses become a kind of shield. My eyewear has become an extension of my personality and mood. I wear my plain purple ones when I'm tired or lazy, my funky see-through plastic frames when I'm feeling confident and my contacts when I'm feeling glamorous, or sporty.

Nevertheless, it feels stupid not to even try this chance to freeze the deterioration of my eyesight. I would have to wear the lenses for the rest of my teenage years, university and a little beyond before I ever put a pair of glasses back on again, but they would be waiting for me then. And people could always see my eyes properly. And if I changed my mind in the next ten years, I could just stop wearing them. It's 100% reversible.

I'm answering my own questions, aren't I? Why am I such a fretter?


  1. Intriguing! I've never heard of this before. I'm a fellow blind bat (20/400 what's UP?!) and I got gas permeable lenses when I was 13 because they allegedly slowed the deterioration of my vision ... and I think it worked. My prescription has been the same since 1996.

    Thankfully, the same cannot be said for my fashion choices.

  2. I suppose you can still glasses on occasion.
    This new treatment sounds pretty neat.

  3. You're worried about your health! You're right to "fret," because your eyes are important.