What is Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)?

by Nov 11, 2019

Myopia, commonly called nearsightedness, is a form of refractive error that affects millions of Americans.  In recent years, it has come to light that more and more children are developing nearsightedness at faster rates.  Myopia control is an approach to eye care that aims to reduce the progression of myopia, especially in children, with an attempt to reduce the need for visual correction and promote better ocular health.  One of the most popular methods of myopia control is orthokeratology, where rigid gas permeable contact lenses are worn overnight, gently reshaping the eye and eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses throughout the day.  To learn more about how myopia control and orthokeratology works, continue reading. 


How does Orthokeratology Work?

Orthokeratology, also called ortho-k, is a process that uses specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that is worn overnight to reshape the front surface of the eye and alter the optical system of the cornea.  In order for this to occur, the gas permeable lenses must be specifically designed for the shape, size, and prescription of the wearer’s eye. When done correctly, orthokeratology provides clear vision in the morning upon removing the lenses, eliminating the need for corrective glasses or contact lenses throughout the day.  The nightly corneal reshaping that happens with orthokeratology is a painless process that occurs quietly during sleep each night.  

There are two goals to ortho-k. First, to correct for nearsightedness without a heavy reliance on traditional visual correction.  Secondly, to slow or stop the progression of myopia. As myopia becomes more and more prevalent among school-aged children, many parents are looking for ways to prevent their child’s eyesight from worsening.  Studies have suggested that orthokeratology can significantly slow the progression of myopia when compared to children of the same age who wear traditional glasses or contact lenses during the day.


Benefits of Orthokeratology 

There are many potential benefits of ortho-k.  One obvious benefit is eliminating the need for spectacles or contact lenses during the day.  This is particularly useful for children who participate in sports, like swimming or diving, where relying on glasses or contact lenses is burdensome.  It can also be financially beneficial; orthokeratology can save families from spending money on annual supplies of contact lenses or from frequently replacing glasses due to prescription changes.  

Beyond these convenient benefits, ortho-k can provide health benefits.  A significant amount of myopia comes with increased health risks, including a higher risk for retinal tears or detachments.  By reducing the development of myopia, those who undergo orthokeratology may have a reduced risk for some of the ocular conditions that are associated with high amounts of nearsightedness. 


Who Can Try Ortho-K?

While ortho-k is particularly popular among kids, it can be used be people of all ages.  Most individuals with mild to moderate amounts of myopia can experience the benefits of this corrective option.  In many cases, even mild amounts of astigmatism can be corrected using orthokeratology. There are very little risks involved with trying ortho-k; if you are interetested in tryng this form of vision correction, whether it is for yourself or for your children, ask your optometrist. 

At EyeDocs Family Eye Care, you will recieve only the highest quality eye exam with our eye doctor in Brookville, Ohio.  Call us at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online with Dr.Kyle Maxam or Dr. Kara Wampler for your eye exam with a Brookville eye doctor. The next time you need an evaluation for myopia, nearsightedness, orthokeratology or ortho-K be sure to come to EyeDocs where we always put the care of you and your family first with our eye care in Brookville, OH.

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