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How Does Ortho-K Work?

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A woman smiling and putting a contact lens on her left eye using her left hand.

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional eyeglasses or contact lenses, you may have heard of ortho-k. Ortho-k, or orthokeratology, is a type of specialty contact lens worn overnight to temporarily reshape your cornea while you sleep. When removed in the morning, you can enjoy clear vision during the day. 

As long as you wear the lenses as recommended by your optometrist, you can reap the full benefits of ortho-k!

What Is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-k, is a non-surgical approach to correcting refractive errors. It uses specially-designed contact lenses worn overnight in order to temporarily reshape the cornea. Once removed in the morning, these help a person dealing with refractive errors avoid the need for other vision correction.

The lenses apply a small amount of pressure to the eye and gently reshape your cornea. They’re typically recommended as an alternative for vision correction when other solutions may be inconvenient. For example, if you play sports quite often or work in an environment where eyeglasses may be a problem, ortho-k is an excellent choice.

While it’s an excellent solution for myopia management, it doesn’t fully reverse vision problems, but it does significantly help counteract them. These lenses require regular usage in order to work as they’re intended. Since the effects only last for a day or 2, it’s important to be diligent and continue wearing them for optimal vision correction. It also isn’t limited to just adults—children can benefit from ortho-k too!

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for ortho-k, though. It’s important to consult your optometrist and schedule a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether or not this method is a good idea for you or your child. 

Ortho-K orthokeratology specialty contact lenses myopia control management

Does Ortho-K Help with Myopia?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common condition that affects more than 40% of Americans. This occurs when the eye elongates and becomes longer than it is wide, which leads to a refractive problem causing blurry vision. While the direct causes of this condition are unknown, it’s believed that genetics and environmental factors play a heavy role in its development.

While glasses and contact lenses are the typical solutions to this vision problem, many other treatment methods for myopia management exist, like LASIK for adults or atropine eye drops for children. However, due to its efficiency, ortho-k is becoming more and more popular.

By reshaping the cornea, ortho-k can help improve vision without the need for eyeglasses or contacts. This makes it more convenient than some other options. Ortho-k has been linked to slowing myopia progression in children since it temporarily changes the shape of the eye.

This makes it an excellent choice for people wanting to correct their vision without resorting to surgery. It’s also a promising option for parents looking to address their child’s myopia.

Who Is Ortho-k Designed For?

Ortho-k is a common choice for people of all ages looking to correct their vision without the use of eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. However, it’s most beneficial for children and teenagers dealing with myopia. Since ortho-k is able to slow myopia progression, it works best when started earlier in life. 

Ortho-k is also a great choice for people leading an active lifestyle, since traditional eyeglasses or contact lenses may not be the best choice for them. Glasses and contacts can shift or break when worn in a high-intensity environment or when a lot of movement is involved, making ortho-k a better choice.

Should I Get Ortho-K?

If you’re considering ortho-k for yourself or your child, the first thing you should do is consult your optometrist. For parents worried about their child’s myopia progression, it’s essential to regularly schedule pediatric eye exams. Since myopia can progress rapidly, early detection can help you develop a plan for treatment.

If you’re interested in learning more about ortho-k, book an appointment with Optical Illusions today to speak with an educated and caring professional.

Written by Dr. Will To

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