Hi! I am Dr. Barbara Marcussen from Complete Eye Care and one of the questions that I am asked a lot from parents is why is it important from them to think about trying to control the myopia or the nearsightedness of their child? And I tell them, one of the reasons that they want to look at their children being nearsighted is because the prevalence of nearsightedness is gotten so bad over the last 30-40 years, the prevalence almost doubled.
So, we are living in this society now where more and more people are becoming more more nearsighted. And there’s a lot of reasons that we think for that obviously, there is a use of cellphone, and children are being outside as much, and a lot of it is genetic. In fact, the fact you have a one nearsighted parent, it increases the risk; likely that your child will be nearsighted. And if you have two nearsighted parents, certainly the risk is even higher. Why do we care of children that are nearsighted? People that are nearsighted, especially higher nearsighted people are much more at risk to develop things like cataracts, macular degeneration, myopic maculopathy, those risks doubled for every diopter of nearsightedness that people increase.
So, the more nearsighted your child is, the more likely they are to have sight threatening issues later in life. So, that’s why it's important to try to control that. In the way to do that is something called orthokeratology or GVSS. That involves simply putting specially designed contact lens on their cornea, letting them sleep all night long, waking up in the morning, taking the contact lens out and they can see 20/20 all day; because that contact lens slowly and gently reshapes their cornea as they sleep; kinda like a braces retainer.
My own child does GVSS and at night she puts her braces retainer in before she goes to sleep, she puts her GVSS molds in before she goes sleeps and she sleeps all night. She wakes up in the morning, she takes braces retainer out, they’re going to make her teeth straight. She takes specially designed contact lenses out, they’re gonna keep her eyes straight and she’s going to see 20/20 all day. And I don’t have to worry the fact that she's going to end up getting worse and worse nearsighted as she gets older because I know GVSS or specially designed contact lenses are going to prevent her for being worse and worse nearsighted every year so that she won’t end up with cataracts or glaucoma or retinal detachment due to nearsightedness later in life. I feel better as a parent myself not just doctor, that she’s doing that.
Hi! I am Dr. Barbara Marcussen from Complete Eye Care. One of the questions that I am asked a lot, what is the GVSS program that we do here, also known as Orthokeratology. Simply put is the program that we do to help people that are nearsighted see clear all day long without any daytime contact lenses or glasses.
The neat thing about it is that it works for people of all ages, from ages 5 all the way up to, I have patients that are in their 60s; and basically what is you put a special design contact lens at the cornea at night as you sleep, it slowly and gently reshapes your cornea so that you are no longer nearsighted. When you wake up it the morning, you simply take the contact lens out, you can see clearly all day long and that the same evening, you just put the contact lens back in at night.
Some of the questions that people asked me is how long does it take to work? It only takes a couple of days after wearing contact lens a couple of days at night, you can see clearly all day long. Now the question people always asked me is how long does it work? And I always joke with them, you won’t be driving down the road at the middle of the interstate and all of a sudden it stops working. It works very well all night long.
So, if you have an evening to go to you won’t get home to until midnight, you’ll still see clearly until midnight; your vision would be very clear all day long. I have a cute story of a patient that one said, “I am not as sure that my son could see during this program.” So, she went to school at lunch and took him to his classroom and she made him stand in the back of the room and read everything that is on the chalkboard because she wanted to make sure he can read.
And she came back and reported to me what he read everything on the chalkboard. It works very very easily. Kinda like braces retainer that holds the teeth in place, this prevents the eye from getting worse and worse each year. The nice thing about orthokeratology, or GVSS we call it, that stands for General Vision Shaping System is that its reshape that cornea. It does work for adults and works great for kids cause it prevents their eyes from getting worse and worse every year.
Hello! I am Dr. Barbara Marcussen from Complete Eye Care and one of the questions that I am asked a lot is how young of a child can do the GVSS or General Vision Shaping System. My answer to that is usually about age 7 or 8. In that age a child is able to control the nearsightedness and the younger that we start, is very important to do that young because it will prevent the child from getting worse and worst (or worse? Idk) as they get older.
Children at the age 7 or 8 are able to be assisted by their parents because they just simply put the contact lenses in at night, wear them all night, take them out in the morning and they see clearly all day. And just like a braces retainer that is holding the eyes stable. My own daughter actually became nearsighted at the age of 8 and I was very excited to know about this program having done it for years and how safe it was.
So, I assisted her the first year or two and she was able to control the nearsightedness and now four years later, even though she’s grown and her shoe sizes has grown, she hasn’t become anymore nearsighted. So typical age to start is age 7 or 8 that’s certainly not too young for a child to control nearsightedness. Of course, older children can start as they get older also just like they can wear contact lenses.
A lot of my patients have noticed in the exam rooms why we have this poster called the CANDY poster and it’s asking “why is CANDY good for your children’s vision?” And that poster has to do with an actual study called Controlling Astigmatism and Nearsightedness in Developing Youth. And it’s really about GVSS OrthoK, which is a way to control nearsightedness or myopia. And they actually did a study because we want to know how this works?
You see your child and every year they get bigger and every year their shoe size gets larger while people that are nearsighted as children, every year their nearsightedness gets worse and worse and worse. And so what we’re trying to figure out is what is that and how to slow that down. And we know how to slow it down, we know that Ortho-K works but why is that? And they did a study called the CANDY study and it showed that the progression of nearsightedness in children that did OrthoK was a lot less.
And what happens with children is the actual size of the elongation of the eye, the vertex distance distance of the eye, the actual length of the eyeball itself gets longer and longer and longer as they grow each year, kind of like their shoe size gets bigger and bigger every year. And with OrthoK, you put a contact lens on the eye, you reshape the cornea so that the child is no longer nearsighted. So while is focusing on the retina but what we’ve found from that is that it prevents the elongation of the eye as the eye gets worse and worse and longer and longer every year. And so their nearsightedness slows down. I have children that have done OrthoK or GVSS for their whole developing life. My daughter’s included in that, now she’s in her fifth year. Nearsightedness in these children is not there when they’re doing OrthoK.
I’m excited personally as a mother because my child has not gotten worse and worse every year. I’m really excited to be the eye doctor of so many hundreds of kids that I’ve seen the same results that they found in this study that they published called the CANDY Study. We kind of made a fun way of it in the office here to talk about why CANDY was good for your children. But it was just a way that we wanted our patients to know that there is something you can do for your child instead of just simply sit back and watch their eye gets worse and worse every year.