Myopia, or nearsightedness, is an eye disease that causes poor vision at distance due to either the eyeball is longer than normal, or the cornea is too curved causing blurred image. It is common in children and tends to increase as they get older. Myopia is hereditary, so if one parent is myopic, there is 25% chance that a child will develop myopia. Also, other environmental factors could cause myopia such as long periods of time spent doing near work on screens or reading, and not spending enough time outdoors.
In USA about 40% of kids have myopia; If a person develops severe myopia as a child, they may be susceptible to other eye problems such as early cataracts or a detached retina during adulthood.
Orthokeratology, or ortho-k, is a surgery-free way for some myopia patients to leave their glasses behind and not have to wear contact lenses/glasses all the time. It is done using specially designed and fitted contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea to improve vision. The ortho-k lenses are only worn at night to reshape the front surface of the eye while you sleep then they are removed in the morning, and it is reversible at any time you choose to stop.
Who is ortho-k for?
It can be used in all ages including kids. It is a non-surgical way to correct vision for those who do not want to go with LASIK or PRK or those who are too young to have a Vision correction surgery.
How does ortho-k work?
The cornea tissue is very flexible and wearing the lenses at night will flatten the center of the cornea causing a change in how light is bent as it enters the eye. Our doctors will measure the surface of your cornea using an instrument called a corneal topographer that maps the cornea (without touching the eye) to show the shape and curves of your cornea. Then, ortho-K lenses will be especially designed for your eyes.
Those special lenses are rigid, gas-permeable lenses that are sturdy enough to reshape the cornea, but also allow oxygen through so your eye stays healthy. The lenses are worn overnight to flatten the cornea, and when they are removed the cornea stays flattened for a while and vision is corrected without the need for glasses. If you stop wearing the lenses at night, your eyes will eventually go back to their original shape and the refractive error will return. You need to keep wearing the lenses regularly to keep the vision correction.
What can you expect from ortho-k?
It can take about two weeks or longer to attain the maximum vision correction from orthokeratology, although some people experience significant vision improvement in days. In clinical studies of FDA -approved ortho-k lenses, most patients achieved 20/40 vision or better. Our doctors will see you at multiple visits and may change the ortho-K lenses size, power or fit to reach the desired prescription. Then when the ortho- K molds are finalized you will continue to use the same retainer lenses each night to maintain the vision correction.
Is orthokeratology safe?
Ortho-k lenses are, like any other contact lenses, associated with an increased risk of infection especially in patients who may be less able to maintain good hand and contact lens hygiene. For this reason, ortho-k may be more dangerous than glasses if not used properly. It is important to consult with our optometrists if you are considering ortho-k and maintain your regular checkups. If there are no eye infections and your eyes stay healthy and comfortable using the proper hygiene, there is no limit to how long you can use ortho- K lenses.
Is Orthokeratology limited by age?
There are no age restrictions on orthokeratology unlike the age limits imposed on refractive surgeries. Adults and children can have ortho- K to serve as an alternative for vision correction, and also for myopia progression control in younger patients.
Insertion and removal of the ortho K retainers