BLOG: Ortho K – reshaping the future….

Myopia prevalence has reached global epidemic levels in recent years, becoming a significant public health challenge.

The issue will come under the microscope at the forthcoming BCLA Conference, with industry leaders studying the importance and effectiveness of pioneering orthokeratology treatment in slowing the progression of myopia.

Ortho-k was originally introduced in the 1960s for the correction of myopic refractive error; however, in recent years, it has been shown to be effective in the prevention of myopia progression.

Yet some trepidation and mystery still surrounds the procedure, with health care professionals unfamiliar with the required skills and knowledge for a therapeutic programme which involves reshaping the ocular surface.
The BCLA has structured a full day and a half of lectures, workshops and live, hands-on, fitting routines with volunteer patients at our forthcoming 40th anniversary conference, providing novices with information and competencies to embark on ‘in practice’ routines, while the more advanced practitioner will benefit from pearls of wisdom and useful tips from globally-recognised leaders in their respective areas of expertise.
Dr Janis Orr (pictured) of Aston University will discuss the technique and its importance in myopia management and Professor Randy Kojima (Pacific University) will highlight the applications of corneal topography with interpretation of resulting imagery.  
Professor Pauline Cho (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) will present on necessary safety and compliance routines and former BCLA President Shelly Bansal will consider patient preparation and communication. Shelly will also discuss business and commercial applications.
Afternoon sessions will be entirely devoted to ‘hands on’ fitting of ortho K lenses, with a range of industry experts providing delegates with an opportunity to experience a variety of fitting methods for the ortho K neophyte. 
Practitioners will be able to observe, discuss and reflect on communication and expectations with ‘real’ patients to be assessed the following day.
Saturday morning’s assembly will then be with several ‘first night’ overnight wearers. Lens removal, slit lamp examinations and measurement of successes will be followed by discussions with established Ortho K patients. 
The professional development course will count towards a new BCLA Fellowship route, the FBCLA (ortho K), making the time invested even more productive. 

Dr Janis Orr said: “In East and South-East Asia, the prevalence of myopia is reported at over 90 per cent whereas in the United States and Europe the prevalence is in the region of 30 to 50 per cent. 

“Myopia represents a significant public health challenge as it is known to be a financial burden, significantly reduce quality of life, and increase risk of retinal detachment and other ocular complications, especially at higher levels.” 

“The ultimate aim of orthokeratology is to eliminate refractive error or to reduce it to a sufficiently small degree that the patient can function without spectacles or contact lenses for most of the waking day.” 

The conference will see the BCLA mark its 40th anniversary by looking to the future of contact lenses as well as celebrating the industry’s proud past.

Hundreds of eye care professionals are expected to attend the glittering event, which will include world-renowned guest speakers, hands-on workshops and a spectacular 40th Anniversary dinner.

The conference, due to be held at the ACC in Liverpool on June 9th-11th, is one of the biggest of its kind within the contact lens industry and offers delegates the chance to keep up to date with the latest research, trends and best practice.

Find out more about the Clinical Conference and Exhibition and to see the full programme of lectures and workshops here.