Modern medicine has advanced leaps and bounds, with new technology and various non-invasive procedures available to cure diseases. The internet has made the common man more aware of what is going on in every industry around the world, but there is a fine line between helpful solutions and gimmicks. Whilst one can probably find a solution to most problems, one must be aware of gimmicks and hoax products.
In recent history, a corrective eye sight lens has been introduced in the market, by the name of Ortho-K. The Express Tribune talks to their sales manager Susan Yang about the technology at their outlet in Y block Market Lahore. “This lens is an alternative to Lasik or laser surgery,” begins Yang, “It is designed for night time use, and basically massages the cornea and redistributes the cells in order to make the cornea flatter.”
Yang proposes that with the use of this lens while sleeping, the patient will be able to gain an eye sight of 20/20 throughout the day. This would successfully aid in conducting a normal life without glasses or other supportive lenses to combat Myopia (commonly known as short sightedness).
“You avoid surgery, and in the same amount of money you get a non-invasive temporary cure for Myopia,” continues Yang. While it is a well-documented fact that ophthalmologists condemn the usage of contact lens overnight, Ortho-K is specifically designed only for night time wear. Ortho-K provides temporary relief, and Susan Yang proposes that it’s well suited for children as they can get rid of glasses and enjoy life otherwise.
The introduction of Ortho-K makes one wonder about the fate of more common procedures, such as laser surgery. “Laser surgery is extremely profitable,” says Yang. “It’s a very easy procedure to do and the doctor is not liable for the consequences after the surgery takes place.”
However, according to doctors and some online reviews, Ortho-K can be harmful.
“This practice is a gimmick, and not an authentic form of treatment,” says Dr Nasir Chaudhry, a practicing ophthalmologist at Mayo Hospital. “As one grows older, myopia increases due to the increase in length of the eye ball, and so far science has not been able to find a solution to the problem.”
Dr Chaudhry urges people to understand that change in curvature of the cornea does not affect the condition, as the images are formed inside the eye and the cornea is merely a receptor.
“Laser is reasonably permanent, with a higher success rate of 75% to 80% that one will get rid of glasses and lenses for life, granted they are viable candidates for laser surgery,” continues Dr Chaudhry.
While all medicines have side effects, Ortho-K users are found to be diagnosed with corneal ulcers. “There are hundreds of recorded cases of severe infections, and ulcers that can lead to one losing their eye,” says Dr Chaudhry. “While the idea seems appealing and hassle-free, there is a reason ophthalmologists stress that patients not use lenses during the night, and Ortho-K is no different.”
The doctor further explains its detrimental effects on children. “Introducing lenses to children at such an early age is harmful to the eye, and once the cornea gets disturbed there can be no further correction.”
While Ortho-K claims to be a cost-effective solution, the lenses are priced at Rs60,000 and will need to be replaced every three years. Alternatively, Lasik/laser surgery can be done for between Rs30,000 to 50,000 and is a more permanent solution.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2013.
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