5 Facts About Ortho-K You Probably Didn’t Know About

5 Facts About Ortho-K You Probably Didn’t Know About

Orthokeratology, or ortho-K, is the procedure of adjusting the cornea with special contact lenses. Ortho-K contact lenses are designed to be worn overnight instead of during the day.

While the patient sleeps, the lenses progressively and delicately reshape the eye’s surface. When the patient awakens and removes the contact lenses, they should be able to see plainly without needing spectacles or other contact lenses.

Myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are treated with Ortho-K and, in some cases, even eliminated. It is suitable for all ages. In fact, this is one of the most effective treatments available today for reducing myopia progression in children.

Here are 5 facts about ortho-K that you may not know.

1. Ortho-K is not as novel as you may believe.

Ortho-K is frequently referred to as a recent or even brand-new development in optometry. However, the technique originated from scientific discoveries made in the 1940s. During this era, eye specialists realised that glass contact lenses could subtly alter the shape of the eye.

Further developments occurred in the 1960s and 1980s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the procedure truly gained momentum. Several technological advances in the 1990s increased the viability of ortho-K, including computerised corneal topography software for mapping the eye’s surface and advancements in oxygen-permeable contact lenses, allowing ortho-K to now deliver overnight results.

2. The effect of ortho-K lenses can last longer than a day.

The vision-clearing effects of ortho-K contact lenses typically last up to two days. During this time, the patient will be largely or completely free of the vision problems that previously afflicted them. However, remember that the ortho-K effect is temporary, particularly at the beginning of treatment. For optimal results, patients should sleep with their contact lenses every night. Ortho-K lenses can also be worn during the day, but because they reshape the cornea, they are less comfortable than other form of contacts for daytime wear.

3. The corneal reshaping that occurs while donning ortho-K lenses is caused by hydraulic factors.

Some patients believe corneal reshaping will be unpleasant because they believe ortho-K lenses perform their function by “squeezing” or “squishing” the eye. However, the actual reshaping is made possible by hydraulic forces.

The lens creates a variable-thickness fissure or fluid vault over the eye. As a result, some areas of the cornea become dehydrated and thinner due to variations in thickness, while other areas absorb more fluid and become thicker. Through this procedure, the shape of the eye resembles that of the lens, effectively correcting temporary curvature issues.

4. Children are excellent candidates for ortho-K.

Nearly everyone with myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism is an excellent candidate for ortho-K treatment. However, children and young adults are ideal candidates, as they are not typically excellent candidates for LASIK or refractive surgery. Children who want or need to be spectacle-free — athletes in particular — can achieve excellent results by donning ortho-K lenses every night.

5. Insurance policies do not cover ortho-K.

Ortho-K is considered an “elective procedure,” so it is typically not covered by vision insurance. However, for most patients needing corrective lenses, the cost of ortho-K lenses is a modest price to pay for all-day clear vision.

Jim K. Turner