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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Nearsightedness Reduction Without Invasive Surgery: Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, can help reduce or eliminate moderate nearsightedness and astigmatism, says Dr. Jeffrey Eger.

Nov 01, 2015 04:53PM ● By Dr. Jeffrey J. Eger

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, has been around since the mid-1960s to reduce or eliminate moderate nearsightedness and astigmatism. This special procedure involves the programmed use of a series of high-tech, gas-permeable contact lenses that cause a positive change in the contour of the cornea (the transparent layer forming the front of the eye). When the cornea deviates from a normal contour, as in the case of most myopia and astigmatism, this non-surgical procedure can be of great value in restoring natural vision.

Myopia is caused by an eyeball that is too long, which results in seeing near, but not far. Astigmatism is an egg-shaped eyeball that needs an invisible optical cross (two different powers of correction on a hypothetical cross) to correct it optically. These conditions progress in most cases due to near-point stress environment (computer use), heredity, nutrition, poor exercise and not getting outdoors enough. We can address these using holistic measures, but the frontal cornea can be reshaped in a contour toward a more spherical shape overall using the Ortho-K procedure, thus reducing astigmatism and nearsightedness.

Before a patient starts Ortho-K, the doctor does a routine eye exam and then a predictability study is performed, indicating the amount of corneal deviation from normal the patient has, and an elevation picture of the cornea is made using a corneascope. This state-of-the-art instrument measures the cornea much like an engineer’s aerial topography. It tells the doctor how much corneal myopia and astigmatism is present. Then the doctor can predict quite accurately how much they can help the patient.

There are no age restrictions to Ortho-K. Many pilots, firemen and policemen use it that need better unaided sight to pass their physicals.

Dr. Jeffrey J. Eger is the owner of All American Sports Vision, in Mesa. For more information, call 480-964-6672 or visit

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