We’re always looking for content our readers will find insightful. Earlier this month we came across an amazing article written by Dr. Klosterman about “myopia control”. It reads as both a professional manifesto as well as wake-up call-to-arms for eye doctors everywhere.
“The most profound finding in the history of the profession.”
His topic? Myopia control, and how his epiphany in the past year made him realize he’d found the “holy grail” of his medical practitioner’s career. Dr. Klosterman recounts the cumulative effect of papers and studies about the success of myopia control had on his arriving at the ‘ah-ha!’ moment this past year. It was an epiphany-like moment when he realized that the emerging science of myopia control and its ability to slow or stop myopia is, “the most profound finding in the history of [the eye care] profession”.
Although Klosterman directs his insights and urgent suggestions to his eye care colleagues, urging them to “step up to the plate and make myopia control the standard of care it should be”, his article and its passionate recommendations will resonate with parents and patients as well.
In one fascinating case, the doctor shares the story of one of his “now 14-year-old patient who at age 11 was -1.25 D in each eye, by age 12 had progressed to -2.75 D, and at 13 was -4.25 D. On her exam at age 14 she was -7.25 D: I repeat, -7.25 D!”
Dr. Klosterman’s exclamation point is not unwarranted – the patient’s myopic progression is rapid and serious. He recounts that, after treating the patient with ortho-K (contact lenses worn at night), the results were fairly astounding, noting “hers is the highest refractive error I have corrected with ortho-K. For 18 months now, we have witnessed no progression in her nearsightedness.”
Klosterman is emphatic when he says it’s the ethical responsibility of eye doctors to educate the patient community about the game-changing effect of myopia control on eye health. His advice to eye doctors? “We need to educate our patients about a simple scientific fact: myopia progresses with spectacle correction [alone]”. He adds that, “an essential part of patient-education is making sure parents understand the necessity of pre-school eye exams” in the battle to catch and control myopia at its earliest stages of development, before it progresses.
“We need to educate our patients about a simple scientific fact: myopia progresses with spectacle correction”.
Dr. Klosterman is most passionate about his success with ortho-K treatment, and he offers eye doctors advice for how to position its value to parents when discussing their children’s treatment options. He says, “parents invest in a lifestyle vision correction option… an investment that pays dividends like more outdoor play, more swimming … without lenses”. He goes on, “The even bigger dividends is when they [the treated kids] return for progress checks and, visit after visit, their refractive error remains unchanged, or ever so slightly progressed.”
“…kids return for progress checks and, visit after visit, their refractive error remains unchanged, or ever so slightly progressed.”
One of the coolest things in Dr. Klosterman’s mini-manifesto is the research performed by one of his gifted patients, 17 year old Trulee Gilkison, who became a satisfied ortho-K patient of Dr. Klosterman and was inspired to produce an analytical research project based upon his patient treatment histories.
Here’s how Trulee describes her inspiration – “I met Dr. Klosterman when I decided to initiate vision correction through an ortho-K fitting. Right from the first morning after my first night of wear, I was amazed by what these specially designed lenses could do. I have had vision problems since the age of 5, and I definitely relied on full-time daytime vision correction. So with ortho-K, being able to wake up and see perfectly without glasses or contacts throughout the day is something I never considered possible.”
“…with ortho-K, being able to wake up and see perfectly without glasses or contacts throughout the day is something I never considered possible.”
As part of her summer research project at Morehead State, Trulee performed a retrospective study of 100 of Dr K’s ortho-K patients. Here’s how Trulee recounts her project and its revealing results. “I studied such things as the number of nights of wear to achieve 20/20 vision based upon baseline refractive error, how this rate was different for males versus females, and how the rate was affected by age. I also studied demographic breakdowns of ortho-K wearers by age, sex, and refractive error. Lastly, I studied how treated eyes in those younger than 18 changed in prescription with time.”
Here’s a chart from her analysis, showing the rate of slowed or halted myopia progression among patients treated with ortho-K:
“Kids never stop telling people about their ‘magic contact lenses’ they wear only at night.”
Klosterman’s article concludes with some great insights about the changes his ortho-K treatment has brought to his practice, especially to his younger patients’ lives, saying, “kids never stop telling people about their ‘magic contact lenses’ they wear only at night.”
At Treehouse Eyes, we know it’s really science, even if it does feel like magic to the kids who benefit from myopia control treatments We invite parents to share this blog post with other parents who might benefit from a read, and please let us know if you have any questions or comments by posting below.