Orthokeratology, commonly known as Ortho-K, is a non-surgical method to correct vision problems by using specially designed contact lenses. These lenses are worn overnight to reshape the cornea, temporarily improving vision for those with myopia (nearsightedness) and, in some cases, astigmatism.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the basics of Ortho-K, how it works, its benefits, and potential risks to help you decide if this option is suitable for your eye care needs.
What is Ortho-K
Ortho-K is a form of corneal reshaping therapy that involves wearing custom-made, gas permeable contact lenses overnight. These specialty lenses gently reshape the cornea’s curvature, allowing for clearer vision during the day without the need for corrective eyewear. This treatment is particularly popular among individuals who cannot undergo laser eye surgery or prefer not to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day.
How Does Ortho-K Work
Ortho-K lenses are designed to apply gentle pressure to the cornea, which leads to a temporary change in its shape. This reshaping allows light entering the eye to focus more precisely on the retina, resulting in clearer vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
The process typically takes a few days to a few weeks, depending on the individual’s prescription and how quickly their cornea responds to the treatment. Once the desired vision correction is achieved, the patient will continue to wear the lenses overnight to maintain the corneal reshaping. If the lenses are discontinued, the cornea will gradually return to its original shape, and the vision problems will reappear.
Benefits of Ortho-K
- Non-Surgical and Reversible: One of the primary advantages of Ortho-K is that it is a non-invasive alternative to laser eye surgery. This makes it an ideal option for those who are not candidates for surgery or are hesitant to undergo a permanent procedure. Additionally, if a patient decides to stop using Ortho-K lenses, their cornea will return to its original shape, allowing them to explore other vision correction options.
- Ideal for Active Lifestyles: Athletes and individuals with active lifestyles often struggle with wearing glasses or contact lenses during physical activities. Ortho-K allows them to enjoy clear vision during the day without the need for corrective eyewear, providing a hassle-free solution for their visual needs.
- Slows Myopia Progression: Some studies have shown that Ortho-K can slow down the progression of myopia in children, reducing the risk of developing more severe vision problems later in life. This can be particularly beneficial for children with rapidly progressing myopia.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
As with any medical treatment, there are potential risks and side effects associated with Ortho-K. Some of these include:
- Infection: Since Ortho-K lenses are worn overnight, there is a risk of developing an eye infection if proper cleaning and hygiene practices are not followed. It is crucial to follow your eye care professional’s instructions for lens care and maintenance to minimize this risk.
- Discomfort: Some patients may initially experience discomfort or a foreign body sensation while wearing the lenses. This typically subsides as the patient adjusts to the lenses and the cornea reshapes.
- Temporary Vision Fluctuations: During the initial stages of Ortho-K treatment, patients may experience fluctuations in their vision as their cornea adjusts to the reshaping process. This is usually temporary and stabilizes once the treatment reaches its full effect.
Is Ortho-K Right for You
Ortho-K can be an effective solution for individuals with mild to moderate myopia and may also be suitable for those with astigmatism. It is essential to consult with an eye care professional who specializes in orthokeratology to determine if you are a good candidate for the treatment and to discuss the potential risks and benefits.
Ortho-K lenses offer a non-invasive and reversible alternative to laser eye surgery, providing a clear vision for individuals with myopia and, in some cases, astigmatism. It is a popular option for those with active lifestyles who prefer not to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day. While there are potential risks and side effects, proper lens care and hygiene practices can minimize these risks. Consultation with an eye care professional who specializes in orthokeratology is essential to determine if Ortho-K is right for you.
Are you searching for a reliable orthokeratology expert? Your search ends with Fenton Family Eyecare! Our optometry clinic offers a broad spectrum of services, ranging from regular eye check-ups to specialized contact lenses and treatment of eye diseases. We can serve as your primary eye care provider for all your needs. Your eyes deserve the best treatment. Schedule an appointment with us today and receive top-notch eye care services!