Statistics from the Vision Council of America show that approximately 75% of U.S. adults use some form of vision correction, with the vast majority preferring glasses over contact lenses. Although both glasses and contact lenses are very effective at correcting refractive eye problems and enabling patients to see clearly once more, they aren’t without fault. People who rely on vision correction aids often find that there are elements of them that are inconvenient. For example, it is impossible to participate in some sports whilst wearing glasses, whilst contact lenses are more expensive and not suitable for patients who have specific eye conditions and problems such as allergies. Laser vision correction is an alternative to vision correction solutions, but again it is costly, and many patients are unhappy about undergoing surgery and making a permanent change to their vision. Fortunately, there is another solution – orthokeratology.
Orthokeratology, also called ortho-k, is an innovative new treatment that enables patients to see clearly without glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery. It involves the use of bespoke designed and fitted contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea to improve patient vision. However, unlike conventional contact lenses, ortho-k lenses are usually worn overnight whilst you sleep. When you wake up the next day, you can remove the lenses and enjoy a clearer vision for the day, before wearing the ortho-k lenses again that night.
The full improvement in your vision can’t be achieved with just one wear, although you may notice some positive changes in your eyesight immediately. In most instances, ortho-k lenses need to be worn overnight consistently for around a week to achieve the best clarity of vision for the longest time. Should you stop wearing your ortho-k lenses, within a few days your vision will return to how it was before you began treatment.
Orthokeratology is primarily used to correct myopia – nearsightedness. This is when you can see objects close to your face, such as a book or cellphone screen clearly, but those that are further away appear blurred. However, ortho-k has been shown to also be effective at treating some patients who are hyperopic (farsighted) or who suffer from astigmatism.
Refractive eye errors such as myopia don’t only affect adults. In fact, the number of children being diagnosed with myopia is higher than ever before. Kids can obtain the same benefits from orthokeratology as adults, but the treatment is also regularly used as a way to prevent the progression of childhood myopia. This is important as in doing so, it is possible to reduce the risks of children with myopia at an early age from developing myopia-related complications in later life. This includes glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment.
Orthokeratology is suitable for many patients, but your current prescription will have to fall within certain pre-determined parameters for it to be effective. For this reason, all patients must undergo a consultation before being approved for the treatment.
Many people have concerns about wearing contact lenses overnight since normally this isn’t advised. However, ortho-k lenses have been specifically developed with night-time wear in mind. They are created from a gas-permeable material that enables enough oxygen to circulate to the eyes to keep them healthy and prevent conditions such as dry eye disease from occurring. You will be given specific instructions for the handling and care of your ortho-k lenses.
If you have a refractive eye condition and regular prescription eyewear is proving inconvenient, orthokeratology could be the solution that you are looking for. Contact Eye Care Center to find out more or to schedule your consultation.
Contact our Kentucky eye care centers to find out more about orthokeratology, or to discuss your suitability for this effective treatment.