Orthokeratology: A Comprehensive Guide to Overnight Vision Correction with Ortho-K

Orthokeratology: A Non-Surgical Approach to Clear Vision

What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology (ortho-k), also known as corneal refractive therapy, CRT, overnight vision correction, gentle vision shaping system, GVSS, or vision shaping treatment, VST, is a non-surgical vision correction option that eliminates the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses. By wearing specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses overnight, patients can experience clear vision throughout the day. Notably, in 2002, Paragon CRT® Orthokeratology Lenses became the first ortho-k lenses approved by the FDA, with no age restrictions, further establishing ortho-k’s safety and efficacy for both children and adults. 

The Science of Corneal Reshaping 

Ortho-k lenses, also referred to as corneal retainers, gently reshape the cornea (the front surface of the eye) while the patient sleeps. This reshaping corrects refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. It can even be used in presbyopia to reduce the need for reading glass. The effects are temporary, and the cornea gradually returns to its original shape if lens wear is discontinued.

Advantages Over Traditional Vision Correction 

This innovative approach provides numerous benefits compared to traditional vision correction methods. Patients enjoy clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses during waking hours, making ortho-k particularly advantageous for those with active lifestyles or those participating in sports. It is especially beneficial for those who swim, surf, or partake in other water sports and those who are involved in combat sports or martial arts. Additionally, ortho-k is a non-invasive procedure, making it a safe alternative for individuals who are not candidates for surgical vision correction or who prefer to avoid surgery. The reversibility of the corneal reshaping effects offers flexibility and peace of mind. Additionally, Orthokeratology has been FDA approved since 2002. Paragon CRT (Corneal Refractive Therapy) Orthokeratology Lenses became the first ortho-k lenses approved by the FDA, with no age restrictions, further establishing ortho-k’s safety and efficacy for both children and adults. 

Orthokeratology and Myopia Control in Children

When it comes to orthokeratology and myopia control for children during ocular development, ortho-k has been shown to slow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness). Research suggests that the gentle reshaping of the cornea not only corrects existing myopia but also helps to control the elongation of the eye, a key factor in myopia progression. This makes ortho-k an attractive option for parents seeking to manage their child’s myopia and reduce their need for stronger prescriptions, which can improve and expand candidacy for refractive surgery later in life. 

Additionally, by slowing myopia progression, ortho-k may help prevent certain eye diseases associated with a longer eye, such as retinal detachments and myopic maculopathy. An advantage of ortho-k for children is that the lenses are worn only overnight, giving parents complete control of the process. Children can enjoy clear vision during the day without the worry of breaking glasses or losing contact lenses during school or other activities. This preview of a glasses and contact lens-free lifestyle can be particularly appealing for parents who want their children to consider LASIK or other refractive surgeries in the future.

Orthokeratology for Adults 

While often associated with children, ortho-k is also a suitable option for adults seeking an alternative to glasses, daytime contacts, or refractive surgery. It can be particularly beneficial for adults with active lifestyles or professions that require clear vision without the inconvenience of eyewear. Adults with mild to moderate myopia, astigmatism, or even early presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) may find ortho-k to be a convenient and effective solution.

The Ortho-k Process: Personalized and Precise 

The ortho-k process begins with a comprehensive eye examination to assess candidacy and ensure eye health. Precise corneal measurements are taken to create custom-designed lenses for optimal fit and vision correction. Patients are thoroughly instructed on lens application, removal, and care. Regular follow-up visits are scheduled to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments.

Ortho-k Lens Replacement and Maintenance 

The lifespan of ortho-k lenses can vary depending on individual factors and lens care. Typically, lenses are replaced annually to ensure optimal vision correction and eye health. Regular check-ups with your eye care professional will determine the appropriate replacement schedule for your specific needs. Proper lens care, including cleaning and disinfection, is crucial to maintain lens hygiene and maximize their lifespan.

Selecting an Ortho-k Expert 

Choosing the right eye care professional is essential for a successful ortho-k experience. Look for an optometrist or ophthalmologist who specializes in ortho-k and has extensive experience. The FIAOMC (Fellow of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control) designation indicates a high level of expertise and commitment to the field. FIAOMC-certified practitioners are recognized for their advanced knowledge and skills in ortho-k, ensuring you receive the best possible care. Our doctors at CLEI have earned the FIAOMC (Fellow of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control) designation, a testament to their advanced knowledge and skills in ortho-k. This expertise, combined with our extensive experience in refractive surgery, makes CLEI the top choice for ortho-k treatment. By choosing CLEI, patients not only receive exceptional ortho-k care but also establish a long-term relationship with a practice that can seamlessly transition them to permanent vision correction procedures like LASIK when they are ready, ensuring optimal outcomes.

Ideal Candidates for Ortho-k 

Ortho-k is a viable option for a wide range of patients, including those with mild to moderate myopia, astigmatism, hyperopia (in some cases), active lifestyles, intolerance to daytime contact lenses, or a desire for a non-surgical vision correction option. To determine if ortho-k is a suitable option for your vision correction needs, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our experienced eye care professionals. We will conduct a thorough evaluation of your eyes, discuss your lifestyle and preferences, and answer any questions you may have.

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