What is Ortho-K?
Ortho-K (short for Orthokeratology) has been successfully used to treat and manage progressive nearsightedness. It is a nonsurgical procedure using specially designed contact lenses to gently reshape the curvature of the eye to improve vision. Some benefits of Ortho-K are:
Vision improves while you sleep (no need for daytime glasses or contacts)
Non-surgical and completely painless
Completely reversible and low risk of any complications
Great for children and adults who are looking for alternative correction
Why do Ortho-K treatment?
While many types of patients benefit from Ortho-K, there are three groups of patients who benefit the most and therefore most often obtain these services: First are children who, along with their parents, wish to significantly slow or stop their progression of myopia. Patients who are likely to benefit the most are those with early onset, i.e., whose nearsightedness developed before the age of 10 years, and/or fast progressing myopes, who are at greatest risk of becoming high myopia.
The second group are those individuals who need an optical correction but wish to be free of lenses and glasses during all their daytime activities while maintaining clear, comfortable vision. Ortho-K lenses are only worn during sleeping hours allowing patients to enjoy their clear vision all day long.
The third group would be the patients who are unable or reluctant to undergo LASIK surgical correction. Ortho-k treatment works very well for adults in correcting their vision. It is also easy to adjust the Ortho-K lens power to compensate for changing visual demands.
How Ortho-k Works
Orthokeratology treatment consists of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that are worn overnight so they gently reshape the clear front surface of the eye (cornea). As a result your vision is clear after you remove the lenses and remains clear for the rest of that day. Each night the process is repeated although some find they only need to wear their retainer contacts every other night.
Ortho-K is indicated to correct myopia (nearsightedness) which is caused by the cornea being too steep. Ortho-K reshapes the cornea so light entering the eye is more accurately focused on the retina.
Who is a Candidate for Ortho-K?
The majority of nearsighted people will benefit from Ortho-K from children as young as seven years old to adults. It can be performed on people of any age, as long as their eyes are healthy. Ortho-k holds particular appeal for people who participate in sports, or who work in dusty, dirty environments that can cause problems for regular contact lenses.
Children as young as seven years old are excellent candidates and we make the decision based on their maturity, hygiene and motivation. These patients are able to play, swim, participate in sports and other activities without the problems of glasses or daytime contact lens wear. Perhaps the most exciting candidate for Ortho-K is the young child who is showing nearsightedness for the first time. The child whose nearsightedness has been proven to already be progressing is another excellent candidate. There is growing evidence that Ortho-K can stop this progression.
What to do next?
The only way to really tell if you are a candidate is to start with a comprehensive eye exam. We have successfully fit numerous patients with Ortho-K lenses and have seen great results for myopia (nearsightedness) control.