Myopia control is a field of eye care that works to slow the progression of nearsightedness, particularly in children. There are several different approaches to myopia control, but one of the most common and effective methods is known as orthokeratology. In orthokeratology, also called ortho-k, a specifically designed gas permeable contact lens is worn overnight and removed in the morning, and provides clear vision throughout the day with no need for the daily wear of glasses or contact lenses. This method is safe approach to myopia control, and has gained popularity over the past few years as a means of optical correction.
How Ortho-K Works
The basis of orthokeratology revolves around corneal reshaping. Each night, a rigid gas permeable lens is worn. This lens is specially designed around the shape of the wearers eye. It gently reshapes the front of the eye throughout the night, and slowly changes the eye’s prescription. When the lens is taken off in the morning, it eliminates the need for corrective glasses or contact lenses throughout daily activities. Many different factors are taken into account while designing these lenses to ensure they provide the clearest and most consistent vision when they are removed.
Why Choose Orthokeratology?
There are several reasons why myopia control, and particularly orthokeratology, have become popular among nearsighted children and their parents. As nearsightedness becomes more widespread and more severe among the pediatric population, more and more parents are looking for an answer to prevent their children’s eyesight from worsening. Orthokeratology has proven to be effective in slowing, or even stopping, the development of nearsightedness. This can also have potential health benefits for the child in the future, as they will have a lower risk for a variety of ocular conditions that tend to effect those who are very nearsighted.
In particular, ortho-k is a preferred method of myopia control because it eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses throughout the day. Many families find that ortho-k is a cost effective method, as it does not require purchasing an annual supply of contact lenses or frequently replacing glasses due to changes in prescription. For certain sports activities, such as swimming, where glasses or contact lenses are a burden, orthokeratology is a very appealing option.
What to Expect
Ortho-k is a suitable option for a wide range of patients, from young children, to adults with mild prescriptions. If you and your doctor agree to try orthokeratology as a corrective method, then you will need to undergo a specialty lens fitting, in which the doctor takes specific measurements of the front of your eye to ensure the lens will be effective. There may be several follow-up appointments as modifications are made and the doctor can ensure that the lens is fitting properly to provide clear vision upon removal. If you have never worn contact lenses, particularly gas permeable contact lenses, you may undergo a brief adaption period as you become more comfortable inserting and removing the lenses. But chances are, after the process is complete, you will be very happy with your vision having undergone orthokeratology!