What is orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology, otherwise known as “ortho-k “, is a safe and reversible FDA approved procedure that utilizes a specialty rigid gas-permeable contact lens. These lenses are worn overnight when sleeping to correct vision.
Upon waking up, the lenses are removed and the day can be enjoyed with clear vision without the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses.
Ortho-k contact lenses are a non-surgical alternative for vision correction.
A good way to relate ortho-k is to think of them like dental braces, but for your eyes!
How does ortho-k work?
Our corneas (the clear layer of our eyes) have multiple sub-layers. Ortho-k affects the superficial layer of the cornea known as the epithelium.
When a person uses ortho-k lenses that are custom fitted by their doctor, the epithelial cells are compressed, causing fluid to move to other nearby areas within the layer.
In other words, ortho-k lenses gently reshape the eyes that change the way the images reach the retina and thus enabling clear and crisp vision.
If the use of ortho-k lenses is discontinued, the fluids retreat to their original location and the epithelium will revert to its initial shape.
What are the benefits of ortho-k?
Studies have shown ortho-k may aid in slowing the progression of myopia, also known as nearsightedness.
As a non-surgical procedure, the effects of ortho-k are completely reversible.
Should you decide to stop wearing the lenses entirely, your eyes/prescription will return to their condition prior to treatment.
Ortho-k lenses are appropriate for all ages. Ortho-k is an ideal procedure for an adolescent or younger people who are below the approved age for refractive surgery.
Examples of good candidates for treatment are:
- Patients with nearsightedness (myopia up to -6.00D)
- Mild astigmatism (up to -1.50D)
- Some farsightedness (hyperopia)
- People who are intolerant to soft contact lenses
- Progressive prescription changes (myopia)
- Active lifestyles
What is the treatment process?
The fitting process may require a few lens adjustments to obtain the proper fit.
Patients typically require 1-2 weeks for proper transition and treatment before vision is stable.
Your optometrist can provide daily disposable contact lenses to get you through this transition period.
Follow-up appointments are usually set at one day, one week, one month, three months, six months, and one year after beginning ortho-k to ensure proper treatment progression.
If you’re interested in learning more about ortho-k and if this treatment is right for you, please schedule an appointment with one of our Optometrists today!
Guest post written by Dr. Leha Do