What is Orthokeratology? (It's like braces, for your eye!)
Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is a safe and non-surgical answer to myopia (nearsightedness), a vision condition where one cannot see distant objects clearly. Specialized rigid gas-permeable contact lenses (RGPs) gently reshape the cornea during sleeping hours to reduce myopia and other refractive conditions like hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. Patients enjoy functional vision during waking hours without glasses or contacts, and wear retainer lenses nightly to maintain the results. The procedure is non-invasive, reversible, and is a safe alternative to refractive surgeries.
Ortho-K is a safe and reversible procedure that is suitable for children and adults. It is especially beneficial for school-aged children who often experience large increases in myopia every year. In addition to eliminating the need for glasses or contacts during the day, ortho-k may even lessen or stop the rate of myopic progression. Myopia and other refractive conditions can be controlled easier when caught at an earlier age. The results are often dramatic with noticeable results after the first night.
Since ortho-k is non-invasive and reversible, it does not suffer side effects of refractive surgeries (often permanent) such as scarring or burning of the cornea.
When can I be free of glasses?
Depending on the complexity of your case, noticeable results are often achieved after the first night of lens wear, and generally there will be significant improvement within the first week. Some cases may take longer, depending on the amount of refractive error and corneal complexity.
“Functional vision” is a term you will often hear in orthokeratology. One may or may not be able to achieve “20/20″ without glasses due to factors such as high myopia, corneal response, or hours of lens wear time. However, vision improves so greatly that one is still satisfied with the results, though it may not be “20/20″. Retainer lenses are then prescribed to maintain those gains.
Is Ortho-K safe? Are there any side effects?
Orthokeratology treatment has many benefits when performed properly. The most serious problems, including vision loss, usually arise from improper lens care. Keep in mind that this is a risk of any contact lenses, and is not specific to ortho-k. It is therefore of utmost importance that you trust your eyes only to a competent, professional and caring orthokeratologist, and not just anyone who dispenses ortho-k lenses.