I remember showing up to school wearing my very first pair of glasses. I was crazy excited to walk into my 5th grade classroom sporting my new red-rimmed metal glasses. My elementary school crush had just started wearing glasses and I thought that he would notice me if I was wearing glasses too. 12 years have passed since those naive years and the excitement and adoration I felt for my glasses quickly disappeared.
Over time, I began noticing how much I disliked how I looked with glasses on. Not to mention that glasses hindered my favorite past time of laying down on my side and watching TV. The temples would bend out of shape because I was constantly laying on them. There were also many times that I would forget my glasses at home and go to class, resulting in me relying on my cellphone’s camera to see the board.
Myopia Progression Happened to Me
As much as I wanted to stray away from glasses, my eyesight got progressively worse and now both of my eyes are at -3.00 with no astigmatism. It didn’t help that my genetics played a role in my worsening eyesight and that I was constantly staring at my laptop to study. My dependence on glasses grew and I didn’t want that.
I even tried contact lenses, but my eyes are so sensitive that after only an hour of wear, my eyes felt dry and I couldn’t shake off the feeling that there was something in my eye. I thought I had explored all of my options, but then enter orthokeratology.
Prior to being Insight Vision Center’s optician, I was clueless about orthokeratology. I had never even heard of the term before, so when Dr. Mai and Dr. Lam educated me about the process, I was beyond ecstatic. The idea of not wearing any corrective lenses during the day seemed like a dream come true. Dr. Mai then mentioned that based on my prescription, I would be a great candidate and if I was interested, I could get a topography and begin the process. I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
The Process with Insight Vision Center Optometry
Dr. Mai first used a machine to take a topography, or a map, of my cornea. He proceeded to show me my topography and pointed out where my cornea rises, dips, and flattens, and indicated where he would reshape my cornea so its the perfect shape to see 20/20. He took the time to answer all of the questions I had, like how the cleaning process would be like and if the way I sleep affects my vision in the morning. With that, Dr. Mai designed the lens and I received my orthokeratology lenses a week later.
My First Experience with Orthokeratology
Before taking my orthokeratology lenses home with me, I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Lam. She taught me how to put the lenses in my eye. This part was easy since I already had experience with contact lenses. What wasn’t easy however, was how my eyes felt right after I put them in. Since the lenses are hard (not soft and flexible like soft contact lenses), I was definitely aware that I had something in my eyes.
I could not stop crying. Dr. Lam assured me that this reaction was normal for a first-timer and that over the next couple of weeks, my eyes would get used to this feeling and the irritation and tears would stop. Dr. Lam proceeded with checking the fit of the lenses before I went home with them. After an insertion/removal/cleaning training session, I was given the green light to try them out that night.
Inserting the lenses the first night wasn’t too difficult, minus my teary eyes. I ended up having to close my eyes after inserting the lens and not move my eyes around to get rid of the “there’s-something-in-my-eye” feeling. I, with my eyes closed, walked into my room, plopped onto my bed and fell right asleep. The next morning, I removed my lenses and actually did not notice that huge of a difference in my vision. Things were still blurry.
I went back to the office for my 1-day follow up. Dr. Mai refracted me and said that my right eye went from -3.00 to -2.00 and my left eye from -3.00 to -1.75. Despite my vision still being blurry, I was impressed with the results. My left eye was already halfway corrected in just one night! I knew of another patient who did orthokeratology and it only took one night for him to reach 20/20.
I asked Dr. Mai about this difference and he informed me that everybody’s cornea is different. Some are more moldable than others so the treatment time varies for every patient. I accepted his answer and continued with the process.
On the third day, I had another follow up and learned that my right eye was 20/30 and my left eye was 20/20. I could now tell the difference. Just by walking from my house to my car, I noticed just how much sharper the houses and trees in the distance were. I could even clearly read the exit signs while driving on the freeway. The feeling was absolutely amazing.
My eyes continued to be reshaped and my vision was sharpest about a week and a half after my initial fitting. In the morning, everything was perfect. However, during the night, and I mainly notice this when I’m in a dark room with a lit screen, I see halos.
When I watch TV, the characters and the rim of the screen have a ghosting effect to it. A blurrier outline of what I’m watching on the screen (in this case, Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation) shows up and it was distracting, especially when I close my left eye and look out with just my right.
The halos were more prominent when looking through my right eye only. I brought this issue up when I was at the office again and Dr. Mai explained to me that that halo-like effect will happen. The portion of the cornea where the lenses reshaped is known as the treatment zone. In settings with dimmer lighting, our pupil will expand and with corneas treated with orthokeratology, the pupils will expand beyond the treatment zone. The halos I saw were a direct result of this. Dr. Mai redesigned my right lens and increased my treatment zone to decrease the halo’s intensity and prominence.
One Week Later
I received the second right lens a week later. I slept with it for a couple of nights and noticed that the diameter of the halos did decrease. The halos were still present at night. However, over time, I realized that they were less noticeable and I paid less attention to them. Dr. Mai asked me how the halo situation was and it was only when I had to think about it did I notice it. The ghosting effect I once experienced didn’t bother me anymore, which was a good thing. They never went away, but I wasn’t bothered by it anymore. I could still see clearly, even when driving at night, so that was all that mattered.
One Year Later
It’s almost been a full year since I started orthokeratology and I don’t ever want to stop using it. The ability to see 20/20 without wearing my glasses is just too great. I learned to develop my own personal routine to help minimize the amount of times I have to blink when inserting the lenses before heading off to sleep.
I talk about it all the time to everybody I meet and genuinely want to spread the word because not only is it such a great alternative to glasses or regular contact lenses, but it also decreases the rate of myopia progression. Living a glasses free life is possible. You just need to look around and you will find a friendly optometry office that can provide you with all of your options and knowledge that you need to live that glasses-free life.
To read more, click here: http://insightvisionoc.com/services/orthokeratology/
Click on APPOINTMENTS and then BOOK NOW to schedule a free consultation to see if you are a good candidate.
Side Note: Mimi just got accepted into Optometry school and will be part of the 2021 graduating class, Congrats Mimi!