Learn About the Short and Long-term Benefits of Ortho-K
Ortho-k offers a convenient, effective way to correct your nearsightedness, reduce your need for eyeglasses or daytime contact lenses, and slow the progression of myopia in kids – all without surgery! Does this interest you? To find out if you or your child is a good candidate for ortho-k vision shaping, contact our eye doctors in Round Rock, TX. We are qualified and experienced with this revolutionary method of vision correction and look forward to sharing the benefits with you!
What is Ortho-K?
Orthokeratology refers to the fitting of specialized rigid gas permeable contact lenses that are worn overnight. As you sleep, these contacts mold your cornea – thereby correcting refractive error. This allows you to see crisp and clear when you remove the lenses the next day.
Many of our Round Rock patients love the convenience and comfort of seeing clearly with no eyewear in the way. This is especially advantageous for people who lead an active lifestyle or work in dusty and dry environments.
Does Ortho-K work for everyone?
They are most effective with patients who have mild to moderate myopia (nearsightedness), with diopters up to -6.00. Sometimes, mild degrees of astigmatism, presbyopia, and hyperopia can also be treated.
What are the typical results of Ortho-K?
In general, patients experience vision of 20/40 or better, without wearing eyeglasses or contacts during the day. In some FDA clinical studies, many patients benefitted from 20/20 vision (or better!) after nine months of wearing ortho-k. This improvement is temporary and typically lasts a few days, which is why you’ll need to wear the lenses nightly.
Some people experience sharp vision after only a day or two of wearing ortho-k overnight. Yet for higher prescriptions, it can take a few weeks to notice the maximum effects.
What happens when I stop wearing Ortho-K lenses?
You can stop wearing ortho-k lenses at any time – just be aware that because the effects are temporary, your nearsightedness will return shortly.
How can kids benefit from Ortho-K?
In addition to the convenience – no more eyeglasses slipping down their nose when playing sports! – ortho-k can also be used for myopia control in children, which has lasting effects and long-term health benefits.
Children with nearsightedness often find that their vision deteriorates regularly and rapidly, with a new prescription needed at every annual eye exam. The average rate of decline is .5 diopters per year, which means that a child who has -3.00 at eight years old could reach a -8.00 by 10 years of age. Not only does this powerful prescription necessitate bulky and expensive eyewear, but it is also associated with increased eye health risks, such as glaucoma and cataracts. Fortunately, ortho-k is an effective method for myopia control, which reduces the risk of dangerous eye diseases.
To explain simply – as kids grow, so do their eyeballs. With myopia, the eyeball is elongated; as the eyeball elongates further, nearsightedness gets worse. When worn nightly, ortho-k lenses act as a brace that maintains the flat corneal shape, thereby preventing it from elongating further. Not only will these kids enjoy clear vision during the day, but when ortho-k is worn for years - the effects of myopia control are lasting, even after your child stops wearing the lenses.
How does myopia control work after my child stops wearing Ortho-K?
Let’s say your child wears ortho-k lenses from age eight and then stops at age 16. In this case, his eyes will return to their original shape at eight years old – with the diopters from when ortho-k was started. So instead of the severe myopia prescription that natural growth may have caused by age 16, he will only need the milder vision prescription that he started with when younger.
What if I stop wearing Ortho-K and want LASIK instead?
Orthokeratology is reversible. That means you can stop anytime and decide to have laser surgery instead. Yet you will need to stop wearing ortho-k lenses and wait a period of time, possibly a few months, until you can undergo LASIK. This gives your corneas enough time to revert to their original, pre-ortho-k shape.