“Ortho-K has been life changing, and not a day goes by that we don’t appreciate this type of vision correction,” says Karrie Stephens, mother of Jake Stephens. “ It makes so many things in Jake's life not only easier but possible. As a mum, I have witnessed the change in him with the confidence to try new things and we are both now massive advocates of this treatment.”
One of Hawkes Bay's leading optometry practices Visique Shattky Optometrists is improving the vision of local children, teenagers and adults using an innovative treatment called Orthokeratology. Also known as Ortho-K, this exciting leading edge contact lens treatment has already had a powerful impact on the life of another one of the region's younger sports heroes.
Champion swimmer and Lindisfarne College Year 8 student Jake Stephens swims for the Napier Aquahawks club. His many achievements include winning two gold and three silver medals at the New Zealand AIMS Games September 2016 and winning both the Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay Winter and Summer Championships for his age group in 2016. This year in February, he won a silver and bronze at the NZ Junior Festival Aquaknights Zone. He currently holds six club records and is currently ranked 9th for his age group in New Zealand.
Jake’s latest and proudest achievement to date is winning a National Title in the Under 12 Surf Event at the U14 NZ Surf Life Saving Championship (Oceans 17). He also achieved a bronze in the Under 12 Swim Run Swim Event. Without Ortho-K, the training and participation in this event would be nearly impossible as it is difficult to wear contact lenses in sea water and goggles are only sometimes worn.
Jake, who suffers from myopia (short-sightedness) says Ortho-K has helped him excel at swimming by removing the need to wear glasses while practicing and competing. “I train around 12 hours a week and Ortho-K allows me the flexibility to attend school and train easily. I pop in my Ortho-K contacts at night, sleep and wake up with perfect vision. This allows me so much freedom and the ability to do what I love.”
Ortho-K is a non-surgical procedure that allows the patient to have accurate vision without having to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day. It works by gently reshaping the cornea, the front surface of the eye, using a specially designed lens worn at night, while sleeping.
Tim Eagle, Visique Shattky optometrist and Ortho-K specialist, says freedom from wearing contact lenses or glasses is a major benefit to patients, especially those who participate in sports, but for younger patients there is another advantage. “Ortho-K can really help patients who suffer from myopia. For teenagers and young adults the advantages are two-fold: they can cease wearing their glasses or contact lenses, which many find inconvenient, and it can also slow down the progression of short-sightedness.”
Mr Eagle, who treated Jake, says Ortho-K offers patients a safe and surgery-free option for improving their eyesight, which removes the need to wear glasses.