Yes, I am an Optometrist in Orange County. But I am also a Chinese-American with myopia in my genes, a kid who wore glasses growing up, and a patient just like all of you. Here is my journey with Orthokeratology.
So I am a -4.00 myope with -1.50 diopters of astigmatism. I previously thought that orthokeratology would never work on me or give me the sharp 20/15 vision that I demand as an eye doctor.
Go back with me to 8th grade, those awkward years of wearing baggy jeans, Limited Too shirts, and wearing my hair in pigtails…. I totally thought I was so cool but I look back on those photos with embarrassment! So I started wearing glasses because I was having trouble seeing the board in school.
I remember sitting in the back of Spanish class and asking my friend Annie to always borrow her glasses so that I could see the board better. I finally got up the courage to mention it to my mom and she took me in to get my first pair of glasses. I believe I started at a -1.00 as my very first prescription.
Fast forward to high school. So I joined the dance team when I got to high school and my mom forced me to get soft contact lenses. She told me, “When you are doing turns and flips, you don’t want your glasses flying off your face.” Keep in mind that my mom is a -8.00D myope and has worn glasses and hard contact lenses pretty much all her life.
Now I was the biggest scardy-cat when it came to putting things into my eye. So the first time I had to put in soft contact lenses, it took me 2 hours to get that lens into my eye. The poor optician who trained me, bless her heart. She skipped her lunch because of me that day and didn’t give up until I got that lens in my eye. By this time my prescription was probably around a -2.00.
By the time I entered college I was in the -4.00 range. I was content wearing soft contact lenses except for one problem, I had extreme dryness at the end of the night. I remember sitting on the couch chatting for hours with one of my best friends yet I could hardly see her my contacts were so foggy!
Enter optometry school. So I had never heard of orthokeratology until taking my advance Contact Lens Courses. I thought I was out of the range of treatment being a -4.00 myope with -1.50 astigmatism, however I was intrigued to try. So I had the contact lens resident fit me in Paragon CRT lenses. For a month I suffered with hazy fluctuating vision.
At one point I had lined up multiple pairs of -3.00, -2.00, and -1.00 soft contacts to switch out during the day depending on how sharp my vision was at that moment. I might start with the -1.00 in the morning but by the evening have to switch to the -3.00 contact just to see well enough to drive home.
I was frustrated and drew the conclusion in my mind that orthokeratology didn’t work very well on me or anyone else for that matter.
Enter Insight Vision Center Optometry. So when my partner, Dr. Mai encouraged me to start orthokeratology again at Insight Vision Center, you can understand that I had my reservations. I had already tried Paragon lenses and I wasn’t that impressed with the vision I got.
But I also thought, if I am going to recommend anything to my patients- I better experience it myself so I can tell them firsthand what to expect.
Mind blown. So Dr. Mai designs custom WAVE orthokeratology lenses for me and what a completely different experience it has been. While at first I did experience the hazy vision that I once saw in my prior orthokeratology experience, it quickly went away within a few months and once my vision stabilized I was seeing 20/15 again with my natural eyes- no contacts on!
I no longer have that dryness at the end of the evening and I can stare at a computer screen for as long as I want to without my eyes drying out. I used to think that I was way beyond the limits of orthokeratology treatment, however WAVE lenses have proved me wrong! I now believe that WAVE lenses are truly the best for orthokeratology and can treat just about any prescription.
My 6 year old patients are putting me to shame- they are wearing these lenses like a boss! They don’t even flinch when they insert their retainer lenses. While it took me a little longer to achieve 20/20 vision as an adult, these kids are getting 20/20 the very next day.
Goes to show that orthokeratology works fantastic on young eyes (their corneas are less rigid and easier to change shape) and since they are starting at a younger age, they only have -1.00 to correct while I have -4.00.
Now as your eye doctor, I can recommend orthokeratology to you from first hand experience that it works, I like it, and most importantly I believe in it. I wouldn’t recommend anything to you, my patients and my friends, if I didn’t believe in it myself or wasn’t willing to try it on myself first.
I can honestly say that once you have “arrived” at your perfect vision, you won’t turn back. It’s one of the most revolutionary treatments and even a scardy-cat like me can do it!
Here are my conclusions about Orthokeratology now:
- Doing orthokeratology at Insight Vision Center Rocks! It’s better than anywhere else I’ve tried.
- The treatment process takes patience- don’t give up on it too quickly, otherwise you’ll miss the reward of clear vision at the end of the road.
- Orthokeratology works amazing in kids and really does help with myopia control, I see it every day in our patients!
If you don’t believe me or want to find out for yourself, book a free orthokeratology consultation and I’ll prove it to you. You have my eye doctor’s promise!
-Dr. Valerie Lam
To read more about orthokeratology, click here: http://insightvisionoc.com/services/orthokeratology/
Go to APPOINTMENTS and then select BOOK NOW to schedule a free orthokeratology consultation to find out if you are a good candidate.