So what, exactly, is ortho-K?
Orthokeratology, also known as corneal refractive therapy (CRT), gentle vision shaping system (GVSS), or ortho-K for short, is a process utilizing lens retaining molds worn overnight to gently reshape the cornea allowing you to be glasses and contact lens free during the day.
A nice alternative to LASIK or other refractive surgeries, ortho-K is also a method of slowing the rate of progression for kids whose nearsightedness gets worse year after year; perhaps the easiest analogy is to compare it to a retainer, the use of Ortho-K lenses helps hold the eyes in their current state which slows (and potentially stops) any further progression.
Ortho-K is great for:
Swimmers and athletes in need of vision correction
People who work in windy or dusty environments
Anyone that wants to be glasses or contacts free without the risks of LASIK
Kids with progressive myopia
It’s not hard to see the benefits of ortho-K when you think of being at the pool or the lake. If you spend a lot of time outdoors for work or for fun you’ve likely had trouble with wind, dust, and pollen that can make contact lens wear difficult. Perhaps one of the best things about ortho-K is that it is completely reversible, this makes it a great and safe alternative to LASIK and other refractive surgeries.
Ortho-K isn’t a new procedure but it does require a substantial amount of extra training and education, both for the doctors providing it and for the support staff and technicians.
It also requires very exact and precise measurements requiring additional and specialized equipment. Finally, it requires extra time, both to explain the procedure and process and to monitor the progress and continued success of the treatment. For these and other reasons, ortho-K is not offered by most eye doctors.
Originally FDA approved for people of all ages in 2003 for the correction of nearsightedness up to -6.00, newer materials and custom designs are able to correct even higher amounts of nearsightedness and astigmatism.
Research has demonstrated its strong effect on slowing the elongation of the eye and progression of myopia in children although the procedure doesn’t have FDA approval specifically for this reason. The off-label use of ortho-K for myopia control has been well documented as safe and effective and has been utilized for many years by doctors worldwide.
Not everyone is a good candidate though, during your consultation Dr. Shaw will evaluate the health of your eye and ocular surface and take several precise measurements of your eye including high definition imaging and topographical mapping of the cornea to help determine if your eyes will respond to treatment