To be honest, I don’t really remember a time before I had to wear glasses. When I was five years old, I picked out a pair of round “Harry Potter” glasses to match my dad’s. Due to my intrigue with the latest video game consoles, I eventually needed to wear glasses all the time, which became a nuisance especially because I played basketball.
Not wanting to wear sports goggles on the court, I started wearing contact lenses in fourth grade. Being a student, I would wear my contact lenses all day at school and late into the night for sports events and to study. I always avoided wearing my glasses since they would never stay up on my face due to my lack of a prominent nose bridge.
Myopia Progression Happened to Me
Unfortunately, my habit of wearing my soft contact lenses for a long time would cause my eyes to feel dry, and it certainly did not help that I would take naps while wearing them. Moreover, every year at my optometrist’s office, I would learn that vision became worse. Before starting ortho-k, my prescription was -4.75 with an astigmatism of -1.25 in my right eye, and -5.00 with an astigmatism of -2.75 in my left eye.
Even five months after having my yearly comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Mai at Insight Vision Center, we found that my vision had become worse. Clearly I was still one of the millions suffering from myopia progression. With my dry eye dilemma and worsening vision in mind, I was ready to embark on my journey with ortho-k.
My First Night Wearing Orthokeratology
The first night wearing my ortho-k lenses was a little uncomfortable – not because of the lenses, but because I had to sleep on my back! I am very accustomed to sleeping on my side, so it was definitely a challenge falling asleep on my back to ensure that the lenses stayed in the correct position.
Wearing the lenses after I initially put them on was uncomfortable, but when my eyes were closed, they were not very noticeable; they did not hinder my ability to go to sleep. Waking up in the morning, however, my eyes felt quite dry. I thought it could possibly be attributed to the lenses themselves, but I would later find that my tears actually just break down very quickly.
I was worried that I would see bright red, irritated eyeballs when I looked at myself in the mirror. Fortunately, my eyes looked fine- nothing compared to what I thought they would be. Getting the lenses out themselves was a little difficult because my eyes were a little dry; the lenses were basically suctioned to my eyes.
Using the plunger made the lenses pop off my eyes even though I yawned a few times to re-wet them beforehand. I could tell my vision was slightly better than usual, but it was still too blurry to see without the use of my normal glasses or soft contact lenses.
My Vision at Day 4
After the third night, my prescription was cut in half, and the prescription in my glasses was definitely too strong. However, my vision was still not clear enough to see without the use of a visual aid, so Dr. Mai gave me soft contact lenses with a decreased prescription to wear. I was also given ortho-k eye drops to put into my lenses before putting them on and to put in my eyes before I took the lenses off; this definitely helped with the dryness. I no longer felt the need to constantly blink my eyes or yawn to make sure they were wet.
Furthermore, it was such an exhilarating experience being able to see while taking a shower since I never showered while wearing my soft contact lenses to prevent bacterial infections. As odd as it sounds, I was so used to very blurry vision that I never really saw all of the details inside my shower.
My Vision at 1 Week
Flash forward to one week since starting ortho-k, and my vision was now 20/20 with both eyes open! My right eye on its own was 20/20 while my left eye was 20/30. My left eye did not see as well due to the high astigmatism that made the lens design more challenging. Despite this, it was no longer necessary to wear glasses or soft contact lenses during the day. The clarity of my vision did not last all day; after about 8 hours, objects began to look fuzzy.
I also had very noticeable halos at night, especially with my right eye. It was a similar sensation to having double vision with one eye open because of how large the halos were. On the bright side, my eyes no longer felt as dry during the day as they did with soft contact lenses. It was also nice not having to worry about removing my soft contact lenses before taking a nap or even just wearing them for too long.
My Vision at 2 Weeks
Two weeks since starting ortho-k, Dr. Mai determined that the fit of my lenses could be improved. This is normal for many patients with high prescriptions; it is difficult to know if the fit will be appropriate until the patient actually wears the lenses. I know that my high prescription makes the lens design much more tricky as opposed to a lower prescription or even a high prescription without any astigmatism. Fortunately, the haziness that I experienced in my right eye seems to be going away. For someone who originally had such a high prescription, this seems nothing short of a miracle.
Of course I had many, many questions about orthokeratology and its possible consequences every time Dr. Mai checked my vision (sorry Dr. Mai), but he always answered all of my questions and made me feel better since he was so knowledgeable about the topic.
If I had known about ortho-k when I was younger, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have started using these lenses earlier. It is very likely that my prescription would not be as high as it is now. I feel extremely lucky that I met Dr. Mai since he designs orthok lenses specifically for each patient based on their unique features using a computerized topography that not many optometrists have the appropriate training for.
Thanks Dr. Mai for allowing me to experience orthokeratology, it is revolutionary technology and was a great learning experience for me!
To read more information about orthokeratology: http://insightvisionoc.com/services/orthokeratology/
Click on APPOINTMENTS and then BOOK NOW to schedule your free orthokeratology consultation to see if you are a good candidate.
Side Note: Chelsey is now in optometry school and will be part of the graduating class of 2020! Congrats Chelsey!