What Is Orthokeratology?

If you have poor vision, then you might benefit from the use of orthokeratology or ortho-k. This treatment involves using special contact lenses that can reshape your eye’s cornea. This will improve your vision. You can think of it as orthodontics for your eyes. The treatment is often likened to getting braces. Many patients use ortho-k treatment during the night so the surface of the eye will be reshaped during sleep. The improvements can go away, but you can maintain them by wearing the lenses as you are directed. You can think of it as retainers after braces.

What Is Ortho-K Used For?

Most patients will have ortho-k for near-sightedness. This is a vision problem that you can also correct through regular contacts, eyeglasses, or surgery. However, ortho-k is surgery-free and will help people leave glasses behind. That way, they will not need to wear contact lenses all day.

Sometimes, your eye doctor may recommend ortho-k for your child’s vision. A child’s vision can continue to change, even into adulthood and into their 20s. Having surgery to correct their vision is not recommended until the eyes have stopped changing. The treatment can, in some cases, slow down myopia in your child.

How Ortho-K Works

Your cornea is a sort of window in the front of your eye. It works to focus light on your retina. The cornea is responsible for your eyes’ ability to focus on objects. Your eye doctor will map your cornea using a special tool. Then, a lens will be designed for your eye. The eye doctor will reflect light off the surface of your eye to create the map. This is a quick and painless procedure.

The ortho-k will work to flatten the center of your cornea. This will change the way that the light is bent as it enters your eye. Many ortho-k lenses are worn only at night and then removed during the day. Each lens is rigid so that it can reshape your eye. However, it also allows oxygen to enter your eye. That way, it will stay healthy.

Once your ortho-k lens is removed, your cornea will be flat for a while. This corrects your vision, so you do not need to have glasses. However, if you go long enough without wearing the special lenses, then your eyes will return to their original shape. Then the refractive error will come back. Wearing the lenses as directed will help you keep your eyes the way they are supposed to be.

It can take up to two weeks or even longer before you are seeing the maximum results that ortho-k offers. However, some people can experience a significant improvement in just a few days. In some clinical studies, many patients got to 20/40 vision or even better. You might need a temporary set of lenses until you have reached the right prescription.

For more information on ortho-k and to learn if it is right for you, please contact TMS Eyecare in Wichita, Kansas.