Ortho-K Nuts and Bolts

I’m Dr. Destin, and I love Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)! Not only do I have a passion to provide Ortho-K to others, but I have also been blessed to wear these night lenses personally for about 20 years. But even though Ortho-K (AKA Corneal Refractive Therapy CRT) is not new, there are many who have still never heard of it. I hope to change this lack of awareness by sharing the basics that are important to know.

What is Orthokeratology?

Ortho-K is an exciting non-surgical vision treatment that uses specialty contact lenses to reshape the cornea (front clear layer of the eye) while you sleep. This provides clear vision without daytime contact lenses or glasses. And yes, NO Surgery! I just put my night lenses in right before I go to sleep at night and remove them as soon as I get up in the morning. Viola! I have clear vision with them on, and clear vision with them off. I wear them every night to maintain the magic. This is why some orthokerotologists like myself will refer to these specialized lenses as eye retainers or corneal molds.

How can Ortho-K help you?

#1: NO surgery; NO daytime contact lenses; NO glasses. If you’re not impressed yet, then maybe Ortho-K is not for you. I’ve been wearing Ortho-K lenses for decades, and I still think it’s pretty awesome. What’s even better is that Ortho-K is FDA approved for any age. So, no you don’t have to be a kid to do Ortho-K, but the next reason mainly helps children.

#2: Orthokeratology is one of the best ways with the least side effects to slow down the terrible progression of nearsightedness we are seeing across the world1. In my clinical experience as an optometrist, I often see glasses prescriptions for young people getting worse each year. I’m so glad that we have good treatments to help slow this trend–a definite plus for Ortho-K.

How does Ortho-K help Humanity?

So, Ortho-K can help you by providing clear vision without daytime contacts or glasses and slow the progression of nearsightedness. Neither of those feats are insignificant. But Ortho-K also helps the world as a whole. You see, people who are
substantially nearsighted have much higher risks of other eye complications later in life2. Complications such as retina detachment, myopic macular degeneration, and glaucoma can cause blindness. Myopia (nearsightedness) is not just blurry distance vision. We are seeing a marked increase in the number of people becoming nearsighted3 4 and the magnitude of nearsightedness across the world. So, every person who participates in Ortho-K is one more person much less likely to have nearsightedness at the level high enough to cause such potentially blinding complications. Ortho-K is good for you and good for the world.

Who can help?

Whether you are a child with a “runaway” glasses prescription or an adult interested in a non-surgical alternative to LASIK, Ortho-K may be a good option for your vision. If you would like more information about orthokeratology or wonder if you or your child is a good candidate for this amazing treatment, follow this link to find a doctor near you and schedule a consultation.

 Destin D. Whipple, OD

desertfamilyeyes.com

mesaazeyecare.com

1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5721542/#:~:text=Conclusions,error%20during%20follow%2Dup%2 0years.
2. D.I. Flitcroft, Progress in Retinal and eye Research 31 (2012) 622-660.
3. Brien Holden Institute, Research Data on File, 2010.

4. Vitale S, Sperduto RD, Ferris FL 3rd. Increased Prevalence of Myopia in the U.S. between 1971-1972 and 1999-2004. Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 Dec; 127(12):1632-9. PubMed.

Dry Eye

Dry Eye

Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient quality tears in the eye.  Tears are important for the comfort and health of the eyes as well as for maintaining clear vision.  Tears are made up of 3 main components: an aqueous or watery portion, a mucous portion and an oily portion.  The aqueous part provides the bulk of the moisture while the mucous helps the moisture spread over and adhere to the surface of the eye and the oily part reduces evaporation.  Symptoms of dry eye include redness, burning, stinging, blurry or fluctuating vision and watery eyes.

Causes

There are two main types of dry eye. The first is when the body is making insufficient tears.  This can be due to aging or from sjogrens, which is an auto-immune condition. The more common type is due to poor quality tears, usually because of a deficient oil layer which leads to dryness due to increased evaporation.  Many factors can contribute to this type of dry eye including age, gender (more common in women) and medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants.  Some medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems as well as blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) can also contribute to dry eyes. Finally, wind, dry climate and infrequent or incomplete blinking such as when using electronic devices can also increase dryness.

Prevention

While dry eye can be a troublesome condition there are a number of actions that can reduce the risk or severity.  First, remembering to blink regularly, especially when on electronics is an important step to keeping the eye hydrated.  It is a natural tendency to stare and blink less when looking at a screen.  A good rule of thumb to remember is 20/20: about every 20 minutes take a break for about 20 seconds and look at something at least 20 feet away and blink about 20 times.  This helps to prevent both eye strain and dryness from prolonged screen time.  Adjusting our environment is also important.  Avoid air from fans, car heaters, etc. blowing directly in the eyes and face.  If the air is particularly dry, a humidifier can help as well and make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.  Also, taking supplements or eating a diet rich in essential fatty acids can help support healthy tear production and reduce dry eye.

Treatment

Sometimes, the preventative measures above are not enough. When that is the case, there are a number of options for treating dry eye.  One of the most common is over the counter artificial tears or lubricating drops.  In addition to adding moisture to the eyes, a quality artificial tear helps support the mucous and oil layers of the tears.  In some cases the eyelids do not close completely while sleeping.  In these cases there are artificial tears available in gel and ointment form for use while sleeping.  Warm compresses on the eyelids and cleansing lids scrubs are two other very effective methods which work by reducing inflammation and helping the eyes produce better quality tears. For difficult cases there are also prescription medications such as Restasis® and steroid drops as well as other options that can aid in managing dry eye disease.

 

 

 

More information can be found at https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye?sso=y or schedule an appointment with one of our doctors at Desert Family Eye Care who can diagnose and determine the best course of treatment for your individual case.

Devin T. Whipple, OD

What? Comprehensive vision exam for my baby? Why?

By Destin D. Whipple, OD
October 21, 2021

But my baby’s eyes get checked at birth, right?

Yes, the eyes are a part of the pediatrician’s examination at birth. Many ocular problems are caught at that time. However, problems with vision development are not always apparent at birth. This is perhaps the best answer to the “Why?” question. Six-twelve months of age is when the visual development of an infant begins to take off and hence an ideal time for the comprehensive vision exam.

One of the most common vision development problems.

Amblyopia, sometimes referred to as “lazy eye,” is perhaps the most common problem caused by lack of proper vision development. There can be an abnormal eye turn sometimes associated with amblyopia, which may be noticeable to the parents, causing them to seek medical attention. However, not all cases of amblyopia have an eye turn.

In this situation, parents do not detect any reason to be concerned, and only a complete vision exam will reveal amblyopia.

Because vision is so integral to development and learning, amblyopia can cause poor depth perception, constant eye turn, postural imbalances, and contribute to other developmental problems and learning impairments. As a general rule, when amblyopia is caught early, the prognosis is much better for achieving optimal vision development and function.

InfantSEE

Your local optometrist can perform your infant’s first comprehensive eye exam. Some optometrists are more comfortable than others at treating children and infants. If your optometrist is not comfortable, they may know someone who is, or you can find an optometrist near you that participates in the InfantSEE program and will do the infant vision exam for free between 6-12 months of age. Go to infantsee.org to find a provider near you.

Examine my infant’s eyes? How?

Often the “Why?” question leads to the “How?” question. How does an eye doctor examine an infant’s eyes when they cannot respond to our favorite question, “Which is better? One…or…two…?”

Your infant’s limited abilities to communicate require different testing methods to gather eye health and vision information. Each optometrist uses the tests and methods they are most comfortable with and most effective with. I want to share a few I like to use including: retinoscopy, Face Dot Visual Acuity, and yes, toys!

Yep, infant eye exams look different than the one you had.

Retinoscopy is a special method of testing for a glasses prescription that allows your eye doctor to shine a uniquely shaped light into your baby’s eyes and observe the reflex off the retina inside of the eye. The color, luster, brightness, and movement of the reflex indicate to the trained viewer what lens combination is required to provide the clearest vision in that eye.

So, all your infant has to do is look at the light–which most babies are happy to do! That’s easy!

Now that your eye doctor knows whether or not your baby needs glasses, it is necessary to test the visual acuity of your sweet, little one. Visual acuity is the test that determines if you can see 20/20 or not. Believe it or not, sometimes infants cannot see 20/20 even through the perfect glasses prescription. This is precisely why amblyopia can be so devastating if not found and treated as early as possible.

Different is good.

My chosen alternative visual acuity test is the Face Dot test, because babies will probably just smile at the eye chart on the wall, if at all. This test works because you love your baby and your baby loves looking at your smiling face! The Face Dot Test has simple paddles to present to your baby–one in the shape of a smiling face and the other a blank target. Because your baby much prefers to look at a smiley face, the two targets can be slowly separated in front of the infant while observing the eyes to confirm your child is choosing to look at the target with the smiling face. This is repeated multiple times while incrementally moving farther away. The developers of the test have determined the equivalent visual acuity that corresponds to the distance where the baby is just unable to see the smiley face anymore.

Visual acuity…check!

Doable? Oh, yeah!

I think you can see now that an infant eye exam takes some creativity but is definitely doable. More than doable, it’s fun when we break out the toys! Keeping the baby’s attention is key. Little finger puppets and colorful lights are the type of things that I use. On that note, I have a couple suggestions to prepare your baby for the best exam possible. Make sure your infant is fed and schedule the exam at a time when your baby is typically most happy and alert.

What’s the hold up?

I have been doing infant eye exams for over 10 years now. And I am confident that one of the best gifts you can give your precious baby is to ensure vision is developing optimally. Please allow me or another InfantSEE provider to share in this wonderful gift by performing your infant’s eye exam for free. Now, there’s no reason not to.

Destin D. Whipple, OD
desertfamilyeyes.com

Why do I need an eye exam if I don’t need glasses?

We are all born with different types of vision. Some of us are nearsighted, some farsighted, and
some of us have astigmatism. When you see just fine, you may not think a comprehensive
vision exam is necessary. But before making such a hasty decision I hope you will keep reading
to learn more about why an eye exam is still very important.

As a primary care optometrist, here are my top 5 reasons why everyone should get there annual
comprehensive eye examination:

1. There are eye diseases and problems that do not cause blurry vision: Most notable is
diabetes. Diabetes can cause retinopathy, which is a problem with the retina of the eye
that can eventually lead to blindness. Mild to moderate diabetic retinopathy often does
not cause any blurry vision. It is important to note that the blurred vision from diabetic
retinopathy is completely different from the glasses prescription. In other words,
someone who does not need glasses at all can still be affected by diabetic retinopathy.

Similarly, an individual with vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy cannot be prescribed
glasses to help them see better. The sad thing is that if people with diabetes wait until
their vision is blurry due to retinopathy, the damage can be irreversible. So, it is best to
come for your annual examination to help prevent permanent vision loss. Sometimes
optometrists are the health care provider who first informs the patient that they may have
diabetes and refer for diagnostic testing. Our caring optometrists at Desert Family Eye
Care are pleased to offer dilation, retinal photography and ocular coherence tomography
to provide extra thorough diagnostic and therapeutic examination of your eyes.

2. How can you know if your baby’s vision is clear? If your baby is developing normally,
yes, this is a good indication that your baby’s vision is also developing properly.

However, this is not always the case. Amblyopia is a problem with vision development
that is often only detected by a comprehensive eye examination. An optometrist will
perform tests differently on your baby to get the necessary information and determine
the level of your baby’s vision without the patient (your baby) needing to respond to,
“Which is better: 1 or 2?” Retinoscopy is the most common way optometrists obtain this
information. It is recommended that your baby’s first comprehensive eye exam be
between 6-12 months of age. At Desert Family Eye Care, we are happy to see all ages,
including infants and children. We are InfantSEE providers. https://infantsee.org/.

3. We want you to see clear and comfortable. There are many people who see clear, but
deal with eye strain. Especially in a world now full of display screens of all sizes, eye
discomfort is becoming much more common. Optometrists can determine if glasses or
contact lenses may alleviate your eye strain. Computer or activity-specific glasses
prescriptions, 20/20/20 rule, non-glare lens enhancements, and sometimes even blue
light protective lens enhancements are common solutions to eye strain.

4. What kind of vision did your grandma and grandpa have? Many eye conditions are
hereditary. So, even with clear vision today, if your grandma had macular degeneration,
you will benefit from an annual comprehensive eye examination to detect any signs of
macular degeneration in your eyes. As macular degeneration is another eye disease
that can lead to blindness, early diagnosis promotes better treatment. Annual retina
photographs provide a very thorough way of monitoring for macular degeneration.

5. What is the best way to maintain healthy eyes and vision throughout your whole life? At
your annual comprehensive eye examination, you have the perfect opportunity to to ask
questions about your vision and eye health and discuss lifestyle habits that will promote
optimal eye health. At Desert Family Eye Care, we cultivate a professional environment
where there is sufficient time in your examination to answer your questions and discuss
prevention. With the variety of advanced technology instrumentation available,detailed
illustrations of each person’s eye condition are possible.

So, don’t put your eye exam off any longer. Please call or visit our webpage to schedule an
appointment today. At Desert Family Eye Care we look forward to helping you See Well, Feel
Well, and Live Well.

Contact Us

Dr. Whipple is now full time at his Chandler office.