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Treatment at an early age can help prevent problems later

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Treatment at an early age can help prevent severe eye problems later in life, says Tauranga eye specialist

TAURANGA, April 21st 2017: Therapeutic optometrist Alex Petty is getting an increasing number of referrals from other eye care professionals for his myopia control treatments. The treatments can limit the progression of short-sightedness in children, and help reduce the risk of people developing more severe eye problems later in life.

Mr Petty set up Bay Eye Care in January this year and focuses on specialty optometry care, rather than selling glasses.

One of his specialities is orthokeratology corneal reshaping, or OrthoK, a modern therapy that involves wearing a customised contact lens only while you sleep. He is one of three New Zealand fellows of the International Academy of Orthokeratology – a group of world-wide OrthoK experts.

“The lenses gently remodel the front surface of the eye while you sleep, so you can see well throughout the day without glasses or contacts,” he said. “It is especially beneficial for younger people because it can help slow the progression to severe short-sightedness, which can in some cases cause severe ocular diseases and complications in later life.”

A 2015 study by the Brien Holden Vision Institute predicted that by 2050, half the world’s population could be myopic and 1 billion people at significant risk of blindness through related diseases if action was not taken to address the problem.

“The greater the degree of myopia, the more the eye ball is stretched, which can cause retinal tears, damage to the central macular area of the retina, and increase the chances of cataract and glaucoma in later life,” said Mr Petty.

He has made a significant $200,000 investment in high tech optometric equipment, including a retinal imaging machine costing $60,000 and the first intense pulsed light (IPL) device designed for eye care in Tauranga, which cost $45,000.

The IPL device is used for treating dry eye problems and is another care speciality where he is getting an increasing number of referrals from opthamologists and other eye care professionals in the region. Approximately 20 per cent of the population have dry eye problems, and this condition becomes more common as people age, said Mr Petty.

Eye drops treat the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem, which includes inflammation and alterations to oil gland function due to micro-organisms. Modern lifestyles with exposure to air conditioning, and sometimes excessive use of computer screens, can increase the evaporation from the eye and lead to chronic damage to the ocular surface.

Tauranga GP Dr Todd Hulbert said Mr Petty’s specialisation in therapeutic optometry had helped his own practice on a number of occasions.

“A number of our patients have benefitted from his expertise in assessing some acute eye conditions requiring high quality imaging and diagnostic testing,” said Dr Hulbert.


-ENDS-

About Bay Eye Care

Tauranga based therapeutic optometry clinic offering premium services and eye care solutions. Specialising in specialty contact lens treatments for conditions like keratoconus, orthokeratology, myopia control strategies and dry eye and blepharitis therapies.

For more information visit www.bayeyecare.co.nz or follow us on social @bayeyecare

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