Do you wear glasses or contact lenses for nearsightedness or myopia? Are you tired of having blurred vision? Are you concerned about the risks involved in surgical correction of myopia such as LASIK or PRK? Or is laser refractive surgery too expensive? Do you think you would enjoy having excellent vision without glasses, daytime contacts or surgery? Orthokeratology might be a good option for you.
Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K as it is commonly known, is an FDA approved method that can reverse myopia or nearsightedness. With the Ortho-K treatment, you wear specially designed highly oxygen permeable contact lenses while sleeping only. In the morning, after removing the lenses, your vision is corrected generally to 20/20 levels or better. The effect lasts all day and occasionally several days depending on your prescription and other factors. The lenses are somewhat like retainers used after braces, and are worn every night to maintain your vision improvement.
Ortho-K has many potential advantages for correcting your vision:
• Ortho-K is FDA-approved as safe and effective for all ages.
• Ortho-K is reversible, unlike surgery.
• Ortho-K allows for clear vision without having to wear contacts during the day.
• If you can’t wear contact lenses because of dry eyes and discomfort, you may still be an Ortho-K candidate.
• Ortho-K may help slow down the gradual worsening of myopia.
• If you have myopia and presbyopia (difficulty seeing close after age 40), Ortho-K has some unique advantages.
Although Orthokeratology has been performed for about 40 years by specialists in their individual practices, there weren’t any big contact lens companies that sought FDA approval for any particular design. That changed about ten years ago and there are a number of lens designs and Ortho-K fitting systems that have undergone rigorous clinical testing and have received FDA approval. Essentially, FDA approval means that these companies and lens designers are able to make certain statements about what has been proven about their lenses and systems related to the type of results that can be expected by patients using their lenses.
Ortho-K is Reversible
Ortho-K is not permanent and the retainer lenses need to be worn every night or mostly every night in order to maintain the improved vision. LASIK, on the other hand is a one-time treatment whose effects are permanent. There are times when people might want to either restore their previous vision, in order to improve reading vision after age forty for example and Ortho-K would allow for this, while after undergoing LASIK for myopia, it is no simple matter to reverse the effect and would require additional surgery.
Sleep in Lenses, See Clearly the Next Day
In the early forms of Ortho-K, vision was improved very gradually with a series of lenses worn during the day in an attempt to improve vision after removal of lenses. The big disadvantage of this older approach is that the treatment lenses and the retainer lenses had to be worn full-time during the day. Modern or advanced forms of Ortho-K allow for overnight treatment with good vision during the day. If you know how to sleep, you may be a candidate for Ortho-K.
People with Dry Eyes May Be Good Candidates for Ortho-K
Most patients with dry eyes are not the best candidates for contact lens wear, though there are some new contact lens materials that improve comfort for dry eye patients. People with dry eyes also face challenges with refractive surgery such as LASIK and PRK. Because Ortho-K involves sleeping in gas permeable lenses, and there is no lens wear during the day, patients with dry eyes are still good candidates for Ortho-K.
Ortho-K May Slow Down the Progression of Myopia
Emerging research is beginning to show that children that undergo Ortho-K treatment experience about 50% less gradual worsening of myopia than children wearing either conventional contact lenses or glasses. This research is being performed in several countries and while Ortho-K has been shown to reduce the worsening of myopia by around 50% on average in children, it still is not known which children will benefit the most from this treatment. Most of the studies suggest that there is greater myopia control for moderate to higher levels of initial myopia. To see if you are a candidate for Ortho-K for vision improvement or for myopia control or to see if you are a candidate for other methods of myopia control, call us today. A good short article by Dr. Walline from The Ohio State University can be found in Contact Lens Spectrum
Ortho-K May Have Some Unique Advantages After Age 40
People under age 40 often think there are no advantages to nearsightedness. Nearsightedness or myopia means in fact that the eyes focus near images better than far images. After age 40, presbyopia causes the eyes to have increasing difficulty focusing near images, thus the need for reading glasses and bifocals. Ortho-K has some potential benefits after age 40 in two different ways. As a reversible technique, it is possible to reverse the treatment a little bit to aid reading, it can be done in one eye or both, and it can be done gradually over the years as the eyes need more help to read. Ortho-K reshapes the cornea in a little bit variable way such that the cornea sometimes has bifocal properties, making near vision a little better than might be predicted when the distance vision is clear. This isn’t as easy to accomplish or predict, but it is a potentially nice feature of Ortho-K.
Call now for a free consultation!
Ortho-K works well for low to moderate levels of myopia or nearsightedness and certain types and amount of astigmatism. To find out if you or your child is a candidate for this treatment please call the office of Dr. Thomas Aller Optometrist, Inc. at (650) 871-1816 and request a free consultation. You may also email him with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.