Dr. Melanie Clark OD A-B-See Vision Care
Orthokeratology or Ortho-K lenses are custom-designed contact lenses that you wear while sleeping. While having sweet dreams it reshapes the contour of the front of your eye and corrects your nearsighted prescription. These contacts have a correction that allows you to see at night while you are wearing the Ortho-K lenses, and in the morning when the Ortho-K contacts are removed you don’t have to wear traditional contacts or glasses during the day to see clearly.
These contacts are an amazing refractive treatment for nearsighted kids, teens, and adults. They allow patients that may not be a candidate for LASIK or refractive surgeries to be able to go without vision correction during the day. Ortho-K is also great for patients that aren’t comfortable with the idea of permanent refractive surgeries. They are also a terrific option for people with chronic eye allergies or dryness. Some people will say that other soft contact lenses cannot be worn comfortably. Many people will only have dryness when they were soft contact lenses. The soft contacts can lower the number of cells that make a portion of their tears, called goblet cells. Ortho-K lenses have been found not to alter or lower the number of goblet cells a person has, so they don’t have the dryness associated with soft contact lens wear.
For kids and teens, Ortho-K technology will allow us to slow or stop the progression of their nearsighted prescriptions. They don’t have to have higher and higher prescriptions every year. They can also be saved from years of expensive treatments and health care costs due to deteriorating ocular health.
A person will be nearsighted, or myopic if their eye is too long, the clear front curve of the eye called the cornea is too curved or the lens inside the eye is too thick relative to the length of the eye. This causes the light entering the eye to not focus correctly and vision to be blurry far away. Nearsighted individuals will experience blurry distance vision, while near tasks like computer or reading will still be clear. This is the most common type of refractive error and affects nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population, with more recent studies saying nearsightedness could be as high as 42 percent. It’s also rising at an alarming rate with studies saying it could rise to over 50 percent of our population. Nearsightedness is becoming more prevalent because of genetics, lack of time spent outdoors, and more time doing near tasks, such as computer use or reading.
Nearsighted or myopic prescriptions progression in kids, teens, and adults are most commonly caused by the eye growing too long. This growth if not controlled can result in multiple serious vision-threatening health concerns as adults. As the eyes grow, the inner layers of the eye called the retina must stretch to cover the eye. As more stretching occurs, the retina begins to thin more and more. Higher nearsighted retinas are more likely to have retinal tears, holes, and retinal detachments. Individuals with higher nearsighted eyes are also more likely to develop cataracts and glaucoma. How do you get Ortho-K lenses?
Start by having a comprehensive eye exam every year. Most kids and teens will not notice their vision becoming gradually more and more blurry. You will also need to determine if you are a candidate for this refractive treatment. Optometrists that are certified in prescribing Ortho-K lenses need to determine your current nearsighted prescription, corneal topography, and overall eye health. Corneal topography is an instrument used to measure and map the corneas’ curves and contours. Ortho-K lenses are then custom-designed to your individual case. While sleeping in Ortho-K lenses the center of the cornea is flattened and re-designed. This new contouring will take effect within 2 weeks and within 6 weeks you can be fully corrected. By wearing the Ortho-K lenses nightly the cornea will maintain it’s new shape and correction.
If a patient decides to stop this type of refractive treatment, the reshaping of a cornea with Ortho-K lenses is fully reversible. When patients stop wearing the Ortho-K lenses their cornea contour will return to its pre-Ortho-K natural shape and myopic prescription requiring glasses or contact lenses to be worn during the day.
Ortho-K lenses are a truly revolutionary form of vision correction. At A-B-See Vision Care we have the technology and certifications necessary to provide patients of all ages the option to not have to wear vision correction during the day. Most importantly, we will help to ensure that your kids have a clearer future with less nearsighted prescriptions and eye health concerns!