January 31, 2021
Ortho-K (orthokeratology) is a nonsurgical eye treatment that uses specially designed contact lenses to reshape the eye’s curvature. The lenses are gas permeable to allow your eyes to continue breathing. You wear the lenses in the night, while sleeping, and not during the day.
Ortho-K lenses target the cornea. The cornea is the clear part of your eye covering the pupil and the iris. Its shape is critical to the functioning of your eyes. If the cornea maintains a sharp optical focus and bends the light when it enters the eye, images are reflected onto the retina properly. Inconsistencies in bending the light cause the images to be blurry. An irregular cornea is responsible for refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism.
Unlike regular soft contact lenses, ortho-K lenses are rigid. The hardness allows them to exert pressure on your cornea to reshape it.
Throughout the night, the lens mold shapes the eye’s outer surface in readiness for the next day. In the morning, you take the lenses out, and your eyes can focus the light into the retina the right way. The next day your eyes function well, most times, without needing to wear glasses or contact lenses for the entire day. At night, as you get into bed, you slip on the ortho-K contact lenses and start the molding process all over again.
Some people assume that wearing ortho-K lenses is painful because they are hard and compress the cornea. They fear that in pressing the cornea, the lenses will squeeze or squish their eyes. But, this is not the case.
The reshaping works based on hydraulic forces. The lens and the tears form a vault covering the uneven cornea. The resulting variation of the thickness of the vault dehydrates some parts, making them thinner. It also hydrates the dry parts with more fluid, thickening them. After reducing and thinning some parts, the surface of your eye becomes smooth. Your cornea takes on the shape of the lenses, correcting any eye curvature problems, albeit temporarily.
Ortho-K lenses help to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
The outcome of wearing ortho-K lenses is temporary and reversible. It may last only a few hours, say 8 hours, and with continued use, they could last up to 2 days. For this period, you walk and work without any glasses or contact lenses. For the results to last longer, you are encouraged to wear your ortho-K contact lenses every night. Some people also put them on during the day, but you will find that this is rather uncomfortable. Only regular soft contact lenses are suited for wearing during the day.
Ortho-K lenses make an excellent choice for children, athletes, and people who want to avoid surgery. Athletes make vigorous movements all the time, and glasses or contact lenses would get in their way. Children, too, may find glasses or soft contacts inconvenient. Soft contact lenses tend to shift in the eye and need repositioning all the time. Persons who want to avoid an invasive procedure can take up ortho-K and opt out of surgery. They may postpone surgery until they find a suitable alternative corrective procedure.
Find out more about ortho-K lenses, contact Family Vision Care Associates in White Plains, New York at 914-359-3300 to request an appointment.