Published on April 30, 2023
For many, correcting vision errors is all about eyeglasses and contacts. Eyeglasses are ideal for people with less active lifestyles and do not mind the aesthetic changes that come with the frames.
Those who use contact lenses like the freedom afforded them while being virtually invisible. But spending the day without eyewear is the best form of freedom, and you can get this either through surgery or ortho-k. Ortho-k has the added advantage of being noninvasive and working for any age.
Ortho-k is short for orthokeratology, a customized rigid gas permeable lens worn overnight. The lens gently reshapes the cornea so that you can clearly see the whole of the next day. You will not need to use eyeglasses or contacts for vision correction; you simply use the lenses again while sleeping. The lenses are best for people and children who have active lifestyles or engage in sports. Often, ortho-k is synonymous with corneal reshaping therapy because it uses the same basic principle.
The eye works like a camera by collecting light and focusing it on a sensitive surface inside the structure. In the eye, two lenses focus the light, focusing on the light-sensitive cells in the retina at the back of the eye. The cornea is the primary and largest lens of the eye. It is responsible for about 75% of the eye's ability to focus.
When you have a refractive error like myopia, you are dealing with changes in the structure of your eyeball and cornea. When the cornea changes shape, its ability to focus light is impaired, leading to a change in the focus point.
Ortho-k works a lot like braces for misaligned teeth, correcting the shape of the cornea with gentle pressure. Depending on the refractive error, the lens will adjust the shape to return the cornea to the correct shape. In myopia, the lenses flatten the cornea, curve it in hyperopia, and smoothen the surface in astigmatism.
The corneal reshaping that happens with ortho-k is not permanent. The eye will get back to its original shape after you stop using the lenses. The relapse takes only a few days after lens use is discontinued. The impermanence is because the lens only impacts the front-most point of the eye surface. As such, the corneal shape is changed only in some surface areas, with some places retaining their regular shape.
Ortho-k is most effective with patients who have myopia and prefer the freedom of no eyewear during the day. It is also ideal for children who have just developed myopia and require myopia control.
Of the myopia control options available, ortho-k is the most effective. The studies that have been done on it are more than any other myopia control form available. According to multiple studies, it can reduce the final prescription by up to 50% in the most successful trials thus far.
For more on how ortho-k works and who it is for, visit Dau Family Eye Care at our office in St. Johns, Florida. Call (904) 713-2020 to book an appointment today.