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What is Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)?

Ortho-k lenses are also called “corneal reshaping contact lenses” or “corneal molds.”

Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is the fitting of specially designed gas permeable corneal molds that you wear overnight. While you are asleep, the molds gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the molds when you wake up.

Orthokeratology not only can correct nearsightedness (as well as astigmatism, and farsightedness) but Ortho-K can also slow the progression of your child’s myopia (nearsightedness).

Slowing the progression of myopia may keep your child from developing high levels of nearsightedness that require thick, corrective eyeglasses and have been associated with serious eye problems later in life, such as early cataracts or even a detached retina.

Learn more about myopia control here.

Learn more about the health risks of myopia in children here.

How does Ortho-K work?

Orthokeratology works by getting specially fitted, gas permeable lenses. They are put on before bed, and as you sleep the lenses work like molds to change the shape of your cornea; this change will make sure that light is refracted onto the fovea (the center of the retina) which gives you your clearest vision rather than before or behind it. When you wake up, you take the ortho-k lenses out and your corneas retain the shape that they were molded into for 24-48 hours, leaving you with (potentially) 20/20  vision all day without wearing corrective lenses like contacts or glasses. In the FDA clinical study for approval of Paragon CRT lenses, 93 percent of patients achieved 20/32 vision or better, and 67 percent achieved 20/20 or better.

What are the risks?

Our Paragon CRT lenses are FDA approved. Orthokeratology is completely reversible, and is non-surgical. As with wearing any contact lenses there is a risk of bacterial infection. You may speak with your doctor about these risks, but at any sign of infection, we will get you in to evaluate your condition.

Who is Ortho-K for?

Orthokeratology is an excellent option for many who need refractive correction for myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Ortho-K is also great for:

Athletes

To excel in sports, you want and usually need the best vision possible. In addition to eliminating nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, the type of vision correction you use as an athlete also should be extra safe so you don’t run the risk of eye injuries during rough sports.

With orthokeratology, you can have stable vision correction with unrestricted peripheral vision crucial for sports such as basketball and baseball. Depending on the kind of vision error you have, you also are likely to achieve crystal-clear central vision with this option.

Most professional and amateur athletes choose contact lenses as their preferred method of vision correction. Contacts provide more natural vision than eyeglasses. They don’t fog up or get splattered with rain, mud or perspiration. They also provide more stable vision during quick head and body movements, and give you excellent peripheral vision and a wide field of view.

But contact lenses also have drawbacks:

  • They can dry out, especially during periods of intense concentration when an athlete may not blink frequently enough to keep them moistened. If they become too dry, vision can fluctuate.
  • Contact lenses can sometimes move off center or become dislodged from the eye, especially during contact sports or if they become dry.
  • Contact lenses sometimes don’t correct astigmatism as well as eyeglasses do. Soft contact lenses for astigmatism can rotate on the eye during certain head movements and postures, causing unstable vision.
  • Some athletes either cannot tolerate the sensation of contact lenses on their eyes or don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of daily lens care and applying and removing the lenses.
  • Eye allergies can be a problem for contact lens wear. Athletes who normally can wear contact lenses successfully may find their contacts become intolerable during allergy season, when pollen and other airborne irritants can stick to the lenses.

Ortho-k, on the other hand, eliminates these contact lens-related vision problems and poses no more risk of contact lens-related eye infections than wearing soft contact lenses.

In recent years, many athletes have turned to LASIK to correct their eyesight. While surgical vision correction offers the ultimate in convenience and eliminates contact lens-related problems, it has its own set of drawbacks:

  • Like any surgery, there is no guarantee of a perfect outcome with LASIK or other vision correction procedures.
  • Like any surgery, there are risks of complications from LASIK and other vision correction procedures. Possible complications include glare and halos around lights, persistent dry eyes and reduced visual acuity or contrast sensitivity.
  • You must be over 18 for most surgical vision correction procedures, eliminating LASIK and related surgeries as options for younger athletes.

Ortho-k, on the other hand, is safe and entirely reversible. In fact, ortho-k is so safe that many eye care practitioners are comfortable performing the procedure for children as young as 7 or 8 years old.

The reversibility of ortho-k makes it ideal for athletes who are too young for LASIK. Ortho-k can give them good, uncorrected vision for sports in grade school and high school.

Then, when they reach age 18, young athletes have the option of discontinuing ortho-k for awhile (allowing their nearsightedness or astigmatism to return and stabilize) and having LASIK surgery if they no longer want to wear the reshaping lenses overnight.

Children

Evidence suggests nearsighted kids who undergo several years of orthokeratology may end up with less myopia as adults, compared with children who wear eyeglasses or regular contact lenses during the peak years for myopia progression.

In October 2012, researchers in Hong Kong published a study of the effect of ortho-k contact lenses on controlling myopia progression in children. A total of 78 nearsighted children ages 6 to 10 years at the onset of the investigation completed the two-year study. 

Children who wore ortho-k lenses had a slower increase in axial length of their eyes by 43 percent, compared with kids who wore eyeglasses. Also, the younger children fitted with the corneal reshaping GP lenses had a greater reduction of myopia progression than the older children.

Furthermore, as myopia control expert Jeffrey J. Walline, OD, PhD, from The Ohio State University College of Optometry pointed out in his analysis of the study published in the same issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, the benefit of slowed myopia progression from wearing the corneal reshaping lenses extended beyond the first year of myopia treatment.

Schedule Your Free Orthokeratology Consultation Today!

Imagine waking up in the morning, and instead of groping for your glasses, you open your eyes to clear vision. Imagine what Ortho-K can do for you. Call us for a free consultation today at 251-974-1233.