Eaglet Eye and Ortho-k Fitting

Anyone who has been to my office can tell that I am obsessed with new technology. I like to have all the newest equipment and all my gadgets have filled up every available space in my exam room and then some. The hallway outside of my exam room is now always lined with equipment.

But new technology is game changing. My new eaglet-eye scleral profilometer can take half a million data points of the shape of the front of the eye from cornea out to sclera, which helps me design custom specialty contact lenses that provide much better comfort and vision to my patients.

More data = better contact lenses.

And nobody can attest to that more than my specialty lens patients, most of which have keratoconus, an eye condition in which the normally round cornea thins out and becomes cone shaped. Patients with keratoconus often can’t see well with glasses or soft contacts. They need a hard contact lens to physically smooth out their cone shaped corneas back into the normal round shape that allows them to see clearly. And nothing does this better than a scleral lens designed with scleral profilometry.

It works so well and I have had so many patients who went from only being able to see the big E on the top of the chart with their glasses to being able to see 20/20 with their scleral lenses that I started fitting normal, non-keratoconus patients in scleral lenses to give them better vision. And then I found that a normal, non-keratoconus patient could wear a scleral lens while sleeping and it could round out their eye and reshape it enough to correct their eyesight all day without the need for them to wear any glasses or contacts on their eyes. For some patients, the effect even lasts more than one day.

I have of course done this to my own eyes because I like to experiment on my own eyes before I try it on others. I have a -4.50 D prescription, so roughly midway between moderate and high on the scale of nearsightedness:

So I fit myself into Scleral Ortho-k lenses. Scleral = lenses that cover your Sclera/the white part of your eye. Ortho-K = Orthokeratology, kind of like Orthodontistry braces, but for your eyes instead of your teeth.

I wear my Scleral Ortho-K lenses while I sleep, generally for about 6-8 hours. I take them out in the morning and can see clearly for 2 days before I start to notice my vision regressing to about -1.00 D. So I sleep in my lenses every other night and I can see without glasses or contacts during the day, which I prefer because I like to swim and ski and ice skate and rock climb and all of those things are easier without glasses or contacts.

Here is a workshop that I spoke at that really goes into nitty gritty details of why Scleral Profilometry based lens designs are the best!

I am the last one to present. And I start my presentation with my inspiration for designing specialty contact lenses, which was not just so I didn’t have to wear glasses or contacts during the day, although that is an added bonus. It was actually to prevent my son who was born with a congenital eye condition from going blind in his left eye. No, he does not have keratoconus. That would have been really ironic since I seem to be a keratoconus magnet (probably because I have the best equipment for designing lenses for keratoconus patients). My son was born with a congenital ptosis in his left eye, which induced a high astigmatism, similar to the high astigmatism I see in keratoconus patients, but unlike keratoconus which usually doesn’t start until the teenage years, my son’s high astigmatism was diagnosed by 3 months old. So I had to do something FAST to save his vision and prevent that eye from turning into a lazy eye which would be pretty much uncorrectable by age 5 when the nerves between the eye and brain finish developing.

So I fit him in Ortho-K lenses. He actually hated the first Scleral Ortho-K lenses I made him because he thought they were too big and he felt the edges under his droopy eyelid. So I actually made his lenses a little smaller than the Scleral Ortho-K lenses I normally design (and that prefer myself). But now he is 9 and growing to like his Scleral Ortho-K lenses more than his many pairs of smaller corneal lenses that I have experimentally fit him in since he was a baby. And that’s how learned how to design specialty contact lenses! And now I’m lecturing about it…

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