Modern technology has offered us many treatments and surgeries to help correct less-than-perfect vision. Everything from corrective lenses to permanent laser corrections like LASIK eye surgery can be options for patients that need a little extra help to see clearly. Each of these treatments is a small miracle in their own right, but the right option for you will be unique to your circumstances.
For some patients, a new treatment known as orthokeratology could be the miracle they need to see clearly—and it can quite literally happen overnight. What is this procedure, how does it work, and is it right for you? Keep reading to learn more, and speak to an eye doctor in Orlando, FL, if you have further questions about this procedure.
Orthokeratology, also referred to as Ortho-k, is a type of reversible vision correction using specially designed contact lenses that temporarily reshape the cornea. Vision troubles like myopia, also known as nearsightedness, are caused by slight imperfections in the cornea that lead to an inability to properly focus the light that is entering the eye. Reshaping and correcting these imperfections can effectively “cure” myopia.
Of course, there are other treatments for myopia, such as permanent surgeries or wearing glasses or myopia control contact lenses in Orlando, FL. However, Ortho-k offers a middle-ground treatment—it’s reversible, surgery-free, and allows patients to leave their contacts and glasses behind.
Ortho-k treatment begins by meeting with an ophthalmologist, who will map and measure the surface of your cornea to design a lens that is customized to your eye’s shape. This is more complex than simply getting a prescription for contact lenses in Orlando, and uses a special device called a corneal topographer.
With a detailed map of your cornea, the ophthalmologist can provide you with hard lenses that you will wear at night. They are rigid, but permeable enough to allow oxygen into the eyes to ensure they stay healthy. These lenses flatten the center of the cornea, which changes how light is focused when entering the eye. So, while you do still have to put in lenses as you would with prescription contacts, Ortho-k lenses are removed when you wake up, so you can go throughout your day without the regular hassles of wearing contacts, like dry eyes or losing a contact.
If you’re considering orthokeratology, you likely have questions about the kinds of results you can expect. When you first begin using your Ortho-k lenses, you might not notice an immediate difference. It can take two weeks or more to attain maximum vision correction from reshaping your corneas on a nightly basis; it’s a gradual process, similar to realigning your teeth with braces, though these need only be worn at night. In clinical studies, most Ortho-k patients achieved 20/40 vision or better.
Once you have achieved the maximum results, you will switch to a “retainer lens.” Again, this is similar to the retainer you would wear after having braces removed; the retainer lenses help to maintain the new corneal shape so that you can maintain your new visual acuity.
The best way to determine if Ortho-k is the right vision correction option for you is to speak to your optometrist. Details pertaining to your current prescription and overall eye health will be relevant in determining whether or not this is the best treatment choice. However, the best candidates for orthokeratology are typically children between 8 and 12 years old who have progressive (or worsening) myopia. In these cases, Ortho-k has shown promising results in not only improving current vision, but stopping the progression of their nearsightedness.
If you have questions about Ortho-k and whether or not you or your child may be a candidate, we invite you to reach out to Bay Hill Eye Care today. We pride ourselves on offering the latest treatments and the highest level of eye care in Orlando, FL, including offering promising procedures like Ortho-k to our patients. Call now to schedule an appointment.