Myopia was a main topic of conversation at the 13th congress of the Orthokeratology Society of Oceania (OSO), with world renowned experts presenting strategies to control what has become a global epidemic.
The Royal Pines on the Gold Coast was the place to be in October for eye health professionals eager to hear about myopia control and the benefits of orthokeratology (ortho-K).
This year’s keynote speaker was Professor Earl Smith, whose landmark work on the peripheral retinal defocus theory underpins our understanding of how ortho-K, and more recently soft multifocal contact lenses, can be effective in slowing myopia progression. At the other end of the conference, Professor Pauline Cho spoke. Prof. Cho was the first researcher to prove that ortho-K lens wear slows down myopia progression. She outlined her developing ideas on the need to customise treatments for patients. One can see a protocol emerging that could categorise patients by applying particular metrics, with the aim being to select the best myopia control option for them.
Dr. Peter Chen… presented his results on combining atropine and orthokeratology, which he found to be very effective
Associate Professor Nicola Anstice, head of discipline at the new School of Optometry at Canberra University, discussed her PhD at the University of Auckland. She and Dr. John Phillips developed a prototype soft multifocal lens design that significantly slowed myopia progression. Having been commercially released as CooperVision’s MiSight daily lens, it has become one of the premier soft multifocal lens designs in the world for the purpose. A/Prof. Anstice also discussed how successful children are with contact lenses. Her work has shown that young children fare very well with all aspects of contact lens wear. She remarked that perhaps we should be more concerned about teenagers and early 20 year olds than younger children. Professor Padmaja Sankaridurg from Brien Holden Vision Institute provided a worldwide perspective on the myopia epidemic, observing that the issue has become so big in China that their Premier made an official remark on its progression.
Dr. Cary Herzberg, President of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control, advised that interest in the Academy was swelling in response to the increasing global incidence of myopia. While there are currently 5,000 members, many thousands more will potentially join the Academy – India, for example, is just beginning to get involved with myopia control. Dr. Herzberg said 66 per cent of the Academy’s members are ophthalmologists with optometrists making up just 34 per cent of the membership base.
The 13th OSO Congress was not all theory. The program included practitioners at the leading edge of orthokeratology lens design and myopia control. Two of the key players in this area are Dr. Edward Chow and Antonio Calossi. Eddie Chow is a Canadian contact lens practitioner and the brains behind Orthotools, one of the few customised GP and orthokeratology lens design platforms available in the world. He discussed the potential of lens technologies, which allow practitioners to optimise lens designs to achieve greater myopia control and correct a greater range of prescriptions. Antonio Calossi is an Italian specialist contact lens practitioner, lecturer, researcher and the designer of the ESA Vision orthokeratology lens. He shared his experiences with difficult patients, explored the outcomes of his latest research and presented a practical lecture on getting the most out of slit lamp photography.
Myopia control can now be targeted from many angles and what has recently emerged is the potential to combine therapies for greater effectiveness, especially when working with nonresponders to monotherapy. Dr. Peter Chen, an ophthalmologist associated with Fudan University in Shanghai, presented his results on combining atropine and orthokeratology, which he found to be very effective in previous non-responders.
Our very own world star of all things myopia, Dr. Kate Gifford, presented on the effect that ortho-K has on binocular vision (BV). Kate suggested a couple of BV tests that practitioners should do before prescribing myopia control. Additionally, she shared her vast experience managing an effective myopia control practice.
The OSO congress would not be complete without Associate Professor Patrick Caroline and Professor Randy Kojima. Pat and Randy have been staples at our conference for many years and for good reason – they are at the leading edge of orthokeratology, myopia control and specialised lenses. The excitement and passion these guys bring to the auditorium is contagious – they never disappoint.
Among a diverse range of topics presented at the Congress, we also heard about the role of outdoor light, atropine, soft multifocal contact lenses for myopia control, and the latest scientific research.
HANDS ON BOOTCAMPS
This year’s congress included an increased practical component for both beginners and advanced ortho-K practitioners.
The beginners’ boot camp targeted those who have just begun fitting ortho-K lenses, or are absolute novices, and featured most of the members of the OSO committee. The advanced boot camp targeted those wanting to take their ortho-K practice to the next level, and included worldwide experts lecturing on the latest techniques and protocols, and offering tips on how to optimise our ortho-K fitting to maximise treatment zone centration and myopia control. More advanced fitting theory, such as using ortho-K to correct astigmatism, hyperopia and even presbyopia with multifocal optics, was included.
RUNNING AN ORTHO-K PRACTICE
A morning dedicated to the real world aspects of setting up and running a myopia control practice included insights from Kathleen Watt and Dr. Pauline Kang, who spoke about their experiences running the University of New South Wales myopia control clinic. This was followed by Oliver Woo and Jagrut Lallu, who we humbly believe to be among the key myopia control practitioners in the world. They shared their experiences using a range of methods to treat myopia progression, and delivered practical tips on patient management, and incorporating myopia control into your practice.
CELEBRATING OUR SUCCESSES
Candidates for Fellowship of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control (FIAOMC) were tested and awarded during the conference. This is a rigorous process during which advanced practitioners undergo lectures, cases studies and face to face examination by current Fellows. Two members, Gary Rodney and Andrew Sangster, were awarded fellowship this year.
The OSO dinner is always a highly anticipated event, thanks in part to the enormous effort of optometrist and organiser Celia Bloxsom. This year’s Survivor themed party hosted by OSO Blokey, provided a thoroughly enjoyable night of fun, and appropriately crowned the event.
The annual OSO congress continues to grow in popularity, as evidenced by increasing registrations and a record number of event sponsors. There was a great feeling of camaraderie, joy and a sense of purpose among the attendees this year, and I feel sure they left the Gold Coast armed with knowledge and confidence to tackle the myopia epidemic.
Dr. Gavin Boneham FIAOMC consults at Boneham Optometrist Eyecare Plus, George St, Sydney and is a Visiting Fellow at the School of Optometry, UNSW, the President of the Orthokeratology Society of Oceania, and a reviewer of Clinical and Experimental Optometry. Dr. Boneham has a particular interest in orthokeratology and 24 years’ experience fitting ortho-K lenses.