Imagine, a lens correcting technology that requires no surgery, yet you wake up every day with the ability to see clearly. And, your eyes’ progression down the path of increasing near-sightedness has dramatically slowed.
That vision is a reality, thanks to Ortho K, a technology that has been around since the ‘60s. Today, this approach to vision correction is at its peak in terms of its effectiveness. It’s a technique commonly used with near-sighted children or those with degenerative myopia. And, remarkably, there is no surgery required.
What is Ortho K and how does it work?
I refer to Ortho K as “corneal molding”. It’s like a “lens retainer” in that you wear these lenses on your eyes while you sleep overnight. But unlike a regular contact lens, which improves your vision, Ortho K is designed to flatten and reshape your cornea. It’s flatter in the middle part of the lens and then curved on the outsides. Note: Ortho K is ideal for patients who are up to about a -5 Diopters of myopia with or without mild astigmatism.
This allows it to have what we refer to as a “treatment zone.” That’s the central, middle part of the lens. This area applies force, pushing down on your cornea. There’s also a “return zone”, on the outer ring of the lens. This area gives your eyes’ epithelial cells room to migrate. As your treatment zone is flattened while you sleep (improving your vision), the cells can collect under the outer rim of the lens. This process allows your cornea to be molded.
The result: you wake up after wearing the lenses overnight and you can go all day without glasses or contact lenses.
Wake up and see
We commonly apply Ortho K to emerging myopic patients: in other words, near-sighted kids. Myopia has become a global epidemic. Unfortunately, it also makes patients significantly more susceptible to other eye diseases like retinal tears and detachments. It can be debilitating. And, as we all get older, our eyeballs continue to lengthen and stretch, furthering the problem.
Ortho K works to slow down the lengthening and stretching. It sends a refractive light signal to the eye’s peripheral retina to slow it down. Slowing this down and improving vision at the same time, well, that’s a huge advancement in eye care technology.
An even bigger deal: being able to avoid surgery and any surgical complications. This is highly desirable when children are in their prime growing years (from infancy to about 20 years old). Besides, children under 18 aren’t eligible for refractive surgery so this is an even safer and better alternative.
Ortho K is FDA-approved. New users may need to get used to wearing lenses while they sleep, but these are meant to be worn overnight. Your eyes can get enough oxygen and exposure to the air. Ortho K is exclusively designed for nighttime use.
And, the best part? After your corneas become accustomed to the molds, you can likely go an entire weekend without sleeping in your Ortho K lenses. Likely, you’ll still see just fine for a few days because your corneas quickly get used to their new “molded shape.”
When looking for a doctor, look for one who is a member or fellow of the American Academy of Orthokeratology & Myopia Control. These doctors are reputable and experienced in treating myopic patients with Ortho K.
Do you have questions about Ortho K? We’re here to help.