Did you know that more than 150 million people in the United States wear corrective lenses to improve their eyesight and help them to see more clearly. Although corrective lenses are very effective, they do have their own limitations and frustrations. Fortunately, there are treatment options that enable people to avoid the need to wear prescription lenses. One of these is Ortho-K.
Orthokeratology, also known as ortho-k, is an innovative technique that has primarily been developed with the intention of slowing or halting the progression of myopia. Myopia is the most common refractive eye condition and the main reason why people wear prescription eyewear. It occurs because the cornea, which is the clear, domed lens covering the front of the eye, doesn’t refract the light correctly, and this happens because the cornea isn’t a perfectly even shape. However, ortho-k isn’t only successful in treating myopia. It can also be used to correct hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism and even some cases of presbyopia.
Ortho-k uses bespoke contact lenses to correct the shape of the cornea. They do this by applying gentle but consistent pressure to it while you sleep. Ordinarily, contact lenses shouldn’t be worn overnight, but ortho-k lenses are made from special oxygen-permeable material that lets oxygen reach the eyes while you sleep. They are also made from a more rigid material than conventional contact lenses, which helps keep them stable on the surface of the eyes overnight and more effective at reshaping your natural cornea.
When you take ortho-k lenses out the following morning, your eyes will retain their new shape for a period of hours before it gradually reverts back to its original one. The most consistently patients wear their lenses, the longer their eyes will be able to retain the shape, meaning that within a week or two, most people can enjoy a whole day of clear vision without using glasses or contact lenses.
There are many different types of patients for whom orthokeratology is valuable treatment option. These include:
Children are considered to be particularly good candidates for ortho-k. Although myopia can develop at any age, it most often starts to form in childhood, when the eyes undergo a period of rapid growth. The trouble is that the earlier it begins, the worse it is likely to get. Using ortho-k can slow or even halt the progression of myopia altogether. This could help the child to avoid the many complications in later life that are caused by high myopia, such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment.
Before you can get started with ortho-k treatment, your provider will first want to carry out a consultation to check that you understand what’s involved and to establish if you are a suitable candidate for treatment. Schedule your consultation by contacting our expert eyecare team today at University Optometric Center.