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Are Ortho-K Lenses for Adults?

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A young woman inserting a contact lens on her right eye.

Orthokeratology, commonly known as Ortho-K, has gained popularity as a non-surgical vision correction method. Initially designed for children and teenagers, Ortho-K lenses have shown promising results in slowing down the progression of myopia. 

However, a growing number of adults are now considering this alternative to traditional eyewear. And the good news is that Ortho-K lenses are safe and effective for adults with mild to moderate myopia.

Individuals should always consult with their eye care professional at Total Vision for personalized recommendations based on their specific needs and eye health.

Understanding Ortho-K

Ortho-K involves the use of specially designed rigid gas permeable contact lenses that reshape the cornea of your eye while you sleep. 

By gently applying pressure to specific areas of the cornea, these lenses temporarily correct refractive errors, providing clear vision without the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses.

Effectiveness in Myopia Control

Research has indicated that Ortho-K lenses can be effective in controlling myopia, especially in younger individuals. The lenses are believed to slow down the elongation of the eyeball, a common cause of myopia progression. 

While studies primarily focus on children and adolescents, there is limited research on the long-term impact of Ortho-K in adults.

Ortho-K can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and even astigmatism. It is a non-surgical option that is fully reversible. 

However, it is important to note that Ortho-K lenses may not be suitable for everyone. Your eye doctor can determine whether you are eligible for this treatment.

Benefits of Ortho-K

One of the benefits of Ortho-K lenses is that they are a safe, less invasive alternative to LASIK surgery. LASIK has many possible side effects including dry eye, halos around lights, and reduced night vision. Ortho-K has a much lower risk of side effects since it is a non-invasive treatment option. It is also excellent for those who are unable to have LASIK surgery due to certain eye conditions or high levels of nearsightedness.

Another benefit of Ortho-K lenses is that they provide clear vision without the need for glasses or contacts during the day. This is particularly appealing to athletes, swimmers, or anyone who enjoys outdoor activities since glasses and contacts can be cumbersome and uncomfortable during these activities. 

Similarly, anyone who works in dusty or dirty environments can benefit from Ortho-K lenses since they do not accumulate dirt or debris like regular contacts do.

Ortho-K lenses also offer a cost-saving advantage. While the initial investment may be higher than traditional contact lenses, over time, Ortho-K is more cost-effective since the lenses don’t need to be replaced as often.

Suitability for Adults

One of the key considerations for adults interested in Ortho-K is whether the treatment is equally effective and comfortable. 

The success of Ortho-K may vary among adults, and factors such as corneal health, prescription strength, and lifestyle need to be taken into account. However, results suggest that Ortho-K can be a safe and effective option for adults.

Consulting with an eye care professional is crucial to determine suitability and potential benefits.

Managing Presbyopia

Presbyopia, the natural aging process affecting near vision, is a concern for many adults. While Ortho-K lenses primarily target myopia, some designs may incorporate multifocal elements to address presbyopia to some extent.

However, the effectiveness of Ortho-K in managing presbyopia is an area that requires further research.

Adaptation & Lifestyle Considerations

A person cleaning their contact lens using a cleaning solution.

Adults considering Ortho-K should be prepared for an adaptation period as their eyes adjust to the lenses. Additionally, lifestyle factors such as commitment to proper lens care, a commitment to wearing them every night, and regular follow-up appointments are crucial for success.

What Else Should You Know About Ortho-K?

A couple of other considerations on Ortho-K lenses are the following:

  • Since Ortho-K is a specialized contact lens, not all eye doctors will endorse them.
  • The lenses are stiff, not soft, and constructed of an oxygen-permeable material that is worn at night while you sleep.
  • Like other contact lenses, they need to be cleaned and sanitized following every usage.
  • The FDA has authorized Ortho-K lenses, which can be worn overnight to reduce myopia. The FDA has not approved the indication for slowing down the progression of myopia; this is an example of off-label use.
  • There exists a potentially elevated chance of infections when wearing contact lenses overnight. The risk has been calculated that 1 out of 1000 “patient-wearing years” could result in an infection. 

Navigating the Future of Vision Correction with Ortho-K Lenses for Adults

Ortho-K lenses, initially designed for younger individuals, are becoming a topic of interest for adults seeking an alternative to traditional vision correction methods. 

Ortho-K lenses are an excellent option for adults looking to improve their vision without surgery. They are safe, cost-effective, and provide clear vision without the need for glasses or contacts during the day. 

While it may not be suitable for everyone, Ortho-K can be a great choice for people with certain lifestyles or vision needs. Before making a decision, it’s essential for adults to consult with an eye care professional at Total Vision in Tierrasanta who can assess individual suitability and guide them through the process. Book your appointment today!

Written by Total Vision

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