If you’ve researched nearsightedness treatments, you may have encountered ortho-k, described as “orthodontics for the eyes.” However, what does this mean?
Ortho-k, also known as orthokeratology, is a non-surgical procedure that involves the use of specialised contact lenses to reshape the cornea, the transparent front surface of the eye. These lenses are ideal for individuals who prefer not to wear spectacles or contact lenses during the day. Typically, these lenses are worn overnight and removed in the morning, allowing people to see plainly throughout the day.
Ortho-k can be notably beneficial for individuals who are not laser eye surgery candidates.
How do Ortho-K lenses function?
When the cornea has an irregular shape, or the ocular has grown too long from front to back, light focuses in front of the retina rather than on it, causing nearsightedness. When this occurs, nearby objects remain sharp while distant objects diffuse. Although ortho-k can correct multiple refractive errors, it is most commonly used to treat myopia.
Ortho-k lenses are custom-fitted to the wearer’s prescription and worn overnight. During this time, they flatten the cornea’s centre and alter how light penetrates the eye by reshaping the cornea. This reshaping only lasts for one or two days, but while it does, your vision will be as clear as if you were wearing corrective lenses.
Several studies have demonstrated its capacity to aid in myopia control.
How Long Do Ortho-K Lenses Require to Work?
Others may require two weeks or longer for their eyes to acclimatise to ortho-k’s effects. This adjustment period can vary depending on the severity of your prescription, as various levels of ortho-k lenses are employed to gradually bring your eyes to the desired level of clarity. As a result, you may need three pairs of lenses to modify your eyes. The final pair will be the ones you sleep in each night to maintain the correction.
For optimal results, wear your contact lenses every night.
Who Are the Best Ortho-K Lens Candidates?
One of the primary advantages of ortho-k is that it enables patients to attain clear vision without glasses or daytime contact lenses. This benefit can be especially appealing to individuals with active lifestyles, as glasses can be inconvenient or even hazardous in certain situations, such as sports and water activities. Additionally, ortho-k may be a viable option for individuals with trouble donning conventional contact lenses due to allergies or dry eyes.
Are Ortho-K Lenses Safe?
Ortho-k is generally harmless and has few adverse effects. Some individuals may experience temporary discomfort or dryness when wearing contact lenses for the very first time. That being said, these symptoms typically subside after a few days as the eyes adjust to the lenses.
Unlike traditional contact lenses, ortho-k lenses must be cleaned daily to prevent eye infections caused by lingering pathogens.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Ortho-K?
Despite its many advantages, not everyone is a candidate for ortho-k. For instance, it is not recommended for individuals with severe vision impairments because it may not provide adequate correction. Additionally, it is not advised for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as severe dry eye.
Additionally, ortho-k requires dedication and discipline from the wearer. To maintain the intended level of vision correction, you must consistently wear your contact lenses each night.