Orthokeratology: What Is It and How Does It Help?
Orthokeratology is a non-invasive technique that reshapes the cornea to correct refractive errors, including myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism.
The most common prescription for shortsightedness is a pair of glasses. Yet, wearing glasses all day can be uncomfortable for many patients. Laser surgery can correct refractive errors in some severe cases. But did you know there is an alternative approach to achieving myopic reduction and control?
Most doctors are now recommending orthokeratology, an innovative solution to refractive errors. Also known as ortho-k, this revolutionary treatment method uses custom-designed and fitted contact lenses to improve your vision. Seeing clearly at night without using glasses seems like a fairy tale for many patients. Yet, ortho-k can help you perform your duties and see clearly without wearing contact lenses.
Adopting orthokeratology to correct vision problems is a hot topic in ophthalmological cycles. The clinical technique has been around for over three decades and is now gaining popularity.
This article looks at the revolutionary technology and who is eligible for the treatment.
What is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology is a contact lens you can wear overnight to reduce refractive error. Orthokeratology doesn’t involve any surgical procedures. Your doctor examines your eyes and customizes contact lenses according to your unique needs and challenges. The contact lenses are made of rigid gas and are mainly worn at night to reshape your cornea while sleeping.
The contact lenses reshape the cornea overnight so you can see better the next day. The good thing is that you won’t need to put these contact lenses on during the day. The reshaped cornea can help you see properly for 24 to 36 hours.
The contact lenses are custom-made to reshape your cornea. Reshaping the cornea might be slow, but it is quite effective in the long run.
Who Qualifies for Orthokeratology?
Not all refractive errors will need orthokeratology. Your ophthalmologist can recommend ortho-k, depending on the severity of the eye problem. Adults who need myopic prescriptions are suitable candidates for orthokeratology. Also, if you have a lesser degree of astigmatism, you can use ortho-k to correct the cornea and lens mismatch. Ortho-k majorly corrects mild to moderate refractive errors. In children, orthokeratology delays the progression of myopia.
Other eye-related problems ortho-k can solve are:
- Farsightedness or hyperopia
- Hardening of the eyes due to old age, i.e., presbyopia
Orthokeratology is an excellent technique for most athletes who wear glasses or contact lenses. If the contact lenses inconvenience you during the gym sessions, ortho-k could be your best vision treatment. Also, if you work in dusty conditions or in a large industry, ortho-k could be the most appropriate for you.
Does eye surgery terrify you? Or do you have eye problems but can’t undergo refractive surgery due to some health problems? Don’t worry, because you can now see all day using customized ortho-k lenses.
How Does Orthokeratology Work and Help with Vision Improvement?
Orthokeratology only works slowly for some patients. While it may be impactful a week after using it, some patients might need to try temporary ortho-k lenses until they reach their desired prescription. Vision improves with time; hence you will need to change your lenses often to achieve maximum vision improvement.
During the initial treatment stages, you may notice blurred vision around lights. The effects prompt worrying, but they are normal during treatment. The ortho-k contact glasses might feel uncomfortable during the first few weeks of treatment. However, you will get used to them as you near full recovery.
Your doctor will give you retainer lenses for a few days or weeks until the completion of your treatment. These special retainer lenses are worn to maintain improved vision. Depending on your unique prescription and treatment process, you can wear these retainer lenses two to three times weekly for several hours per night.
Myopia is increasingly becoming common among children, and doctors are trying to grapple with the progression. Doctors caution that if left unchecked, myopia in children could lead to severe eye problems during adult life. Specialists have suggested many myopic control methods, and orthokeratology remains clinically acceptable and more effective.
Ortho-k slows down myopia progression in children and provides an alternative to uncomfortable contact lenses. Children might not fancy traditional laser surgery, which is more intrusive and frightening. Ortho-k provides a certain sense of visual freedom. They can run and play all day without worrying about breaking their glasses.
Other ortho-k lens benefits include:
- No discomfort. Ortho-k lenses only work (effectively) during the night. The lenses work by reshaping your cornea and improving visual clarity. Usually, you won’t even feel the lenses in your eyes while sleeping. You will only wake up to a clear vision that lasts the whole day. The lenses are easy to apply and remove.
- Getting rid of other vision-related problems: apart from myopia, ortho-k lenses can also correct other refractive errors and astigmatism.
It may take several weeks to achieve good vision with ortho-k lenses. However, some patients need just a few days to attain the proper vision. Vision improvements from ortho-k aren’t permanent. You might lose all the gains if you don’t follow your doctor’s directives.
Patients who wear different lenses for every occasion might develop some negative effects on the quality of their lives. However, wearing ortho-k lenses lowers the risk of developing other health problems due to glasses. Even if you stop wearing ortho-k glasses, you won’t have any scars, and your eyes will return to their natural shape shortly. Ortho-k lenses are an effective and risk-free clinical method of slowing down the progression of myopia.
Orthokeratology can help you go about your life without your glasses or contact lenses. It’s a revolutionary technology that eliminates the need to wear glasses all day. The lenses help adults with myopic prescriptions see clearly. Orthokeratology is convenient for people who participate in contact sports or work in dusty environments. You only need to wear Ortho-k at night, and you will be good to go all day.