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Orthokeratology Lenses: How Do They Work?

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A woman holding up an orthokeratology lens between her thumb and index finger.

When it comes to treating myopia (nearsightedness), there are many options available, ranging from prescription eyeglasses to corrective surgery. However, there’s one option that’s becoming more and more popular: orthokeratology lenses. But what are orthokeratology lenses, and how do they work?

Orthokeratology contact lenses, also known as ortho-k, are contacts worn overnight while you sleep to temporarily reshape the eye. Once removed in the morning, the eye retains this changed shape, helping correct your refractive error and providing you with clear vision.

Compared to traditional contact lenses and eyeglasses, this uses a different approach to correct refractive errors and gives you the freedom to go glasses- and contacts-free during the day.

What Is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology, also known as ortho-k, is a non-surgical approach to correcting myopia. In a healthy eye, light is refracted through the cornea before focusing on the retina. However, with myopia, the eye is too long, or the cornea is too curved, causing light to focus at a different point in the eye. This causes distant objects to appear blurry.

Ortho-k aims to correct this problem by temporarily reshaping the eye overnight. By applying gentle and controlled pressure to the cornea, the lenses reshape your corneas so they can refract light properly, allowing you to see clearly.

These are rigid gas-permeable lenses made from a breathable material. This allows oxygen to reach your eye properly, helping them stay healthy and hydrated. Ortho-k lenses are also customized to fit your eyes so they can provide effective results. 

Since the lenses only reshape the cornea temporarily, if you stop using the lenses overnight, your eyes will gradually return to their natural shape. This can be beneficial for people who prefer a non-permanent approach to correcting their refractive error.

How Does Ortho-K Help?

Ortho-k offers a unique approach to correcting your vision. Wearing these lenses overnight provides you the option of avoiding the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses during the day, which can be inconvenient for some people who may have issues with traditional vision correction. For example, people who play sports often or work in an environment where glasses may be inconvenient can benefit from ortho-k.

These lenses are a common choice for correcting myopia but can also help with astigmatism or hyperopia in some situations. Due to their ability to reshape the eye and their unique cut, these lenses can provide clear vision for many common vision problems.

However, one of the most significant benefits offered by ortho-k is that it can slow down the progression of myopia in children. Myopia often worsens over time, leading to long-term blurry vision and nearsightedness. Ortho-k has been shown to slow the progression of myopia by reducing the growth signal that causes the eye to grow longer.

A male optometrist sitting down and talking to his female patient while he hands her a contact lens case.

The Benefits of Ortho-K

Ortho-k has many benefits, including bringing you clear vision every day. However, it can also provide other benefits, including:

  • The freedom to avoid wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses every day, especially for people with an active lifestyle
  • Eliminating the potential discomfort of using other forms of vision correction
  • A reversible choice to correcting your vision, as you can simply stop the treatment and your eyes will revert back to normal, allowing you to resume using other vision correction like glasses or contacts

However, the effects of this treatment vary on a person-to-person basis. Whether or not you’re a suitable candidate for ortho-k greatly depends on your unique situation, so it’s important to visit your optometrist if you’re considering this treatment.

Is Ortho-k Right for Me?

At the end of the day, every person’s visual needs are different. If you’re considering using ortho-k to treat your vision problems, book an appointment with your optometrist so they can determine whether or not it’s a suitable option for your situation. 

Ortho-k can be an effective approach to correcting refractive errors, but it isn’t the only option. Schedule an appointment with us here at Total Vision Tierrasanta today, and discuss your options for clearer vision with one of our experienced team members.

Written by Total Vision

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