Orthokeratology (ortho-K) lenses, also known as overnight contact lenses or corneal reshaping lenses, are a revolutionary alternative to surgery that can correct various eye disorders and refractive errors. These lenses are designed to be worn during sleep, gently reshaping the cornea to improve vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day.
Ortho-K lenses work by using the principles of corneal reshaping to correct refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and even presbyopia (age-related vision loss). They are made of rigid gas-permeable material, allowing oxygen to reach the eye while wearing them overnight.
The process of using ortho-K lenses involves precise measurements and fitting by an eye care professional. The first step is a comprehensive eye examination to assess the patient’s eye health and determine the suitability for ortho-K treatment. Once the fitting process begins, the optometrist uses specialized instruments to map the cornea’s shape and prescribe lenses specific to the individual’s eyes.
Each lens is tailor-made to fit the curvature of the patient’s cornea. These lenses are designed to gently reshape the cornea while the patient sleeps. The precise fitting ensures that the lenses provide the right amount of pressure to reshape the cornea without causing discomfort.
The cornea is responsible for approximately two-thirds of the eye’s focusing power. By reshaping the cornea, ortho-K lenses change the way light enters the eye, improving its focusing ability. This allows patients to have clear vision during the day without the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
One of the primary advantages of ortho-K lenses is that they offer temporary vision correction. This means that if the patient decides to discontinue ortho-K treatment, their cornea will return to its original shape, and their original prescription will return. This feature makes ortho-K lenses an excellent option for patients who want to explore non-permanent vision correction methods without committing to long-term treatment.
Ortho-K lenses are especially popular among people who engage in sports or other physical activities where wearing glasses or conventional contact lenses is impractical or uncomfortable. They provide them with clear vision while participating in their activities without the need for external eyewear.
Moreover, ortho-K lenses are considered a safe and effective method for slowing down the progression of myopia in children and teenagers. Studies have shown that ortho-K lenses can significantly reduce the progression of myopia by gently reshaping the cornea. This not only offers clear vision during the day but also reduces the risk of developing high myopia, which is associated with an increased risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma and retinal detachment.
It is important to note that like any medical treatment, ortho-K lenses do have some potential risks and side effects. The most common side effects include dry eyes, glare, halos, and reduced night vision. However, these side effects typically resolve within a few weeks as the eyes adjust to the treatment.
In conclusion, ortho-K lenses offer a unique and non-surgical way to correct various vision disorders. By gently reshaping the cornea, these lenses provide clear vision without the need for glasses or traditional contact lenses during the day. They are especially beneficial for individuals involved in sports or physical activities and can also slow down the progression of myopia in children and teenagers. However, it is crucial to consult with an eye care professional to determine the suitability and safety of ortho-K treatment.