What is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology, or ortho-k, is a non-surgical way to correct vision problems while you sleep. The ortho-k lenses reshape your cornea, similar to how braces work for your teeth.
Because ortho-k is surgery-free, it’s an option for people who:
- Can’t have or don’t want laser eye surgery
- Don’t want to wear glasses or contacts during the day
It’s also an option for myopia control, or reducing the progression of myopia, in children and adults.
How Does Ortho-K Work?
The ortho-k contact lenses are worn overnight and work while you sleep. While you’re asleep, the rigid, gas permeable lenses gently change the shape of your cornea. By reshaping your cornea, ortho-k lenses can change how light enters your eyes and correct vision problems.
Ortho-k lenses are custom fit to your eyes to address your vision concerns. With regular wear, you won’t need to wear glasses or contacts to correct your vision during the day.
Is Ortho-K Permanent?
Ortho-k does not permanently correct your vision. Because ortho-k is temporary, the lenses need to be worn every night to maintain clear vision during the day.
What Vision Problems Can Ortho-K Work for?
Ortho-k was originally developed to treat myopia, but can also treat a variety of vision problems, including:
- Myopia control
- General myopia (nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
If you’re wondering whether ortho-k will work for you, it’s best to book an eye exam with your optometrist to discuss your options.
Who Can Get Ortho-K?
Ortho-k can be used to correct a variety of vision problems, although it is mainly used for myopia (nearsightedness). Both children and adults can be candidates for ortho-k. Ortho-k is often recommended for children as a method of myopia control.
Children’s vision changes throughout childhood, and sometimes into early adulthood, making treatments like LASIK not an option. Unlike LASIK or other laser eye surgeries, ortho-k is a treatment option for patients with unstable vision (like most children).
What Are the Benefits of Ortho-K?
The main advantages of ortho-k are quick results while being non-invasive. Some patients wake up with clearer vision after just one night of wearing ortho-k lenses. Compared to other vision correction options like LASIK, ortho-k is a surgery-free alternative with minimal side effects and hassle.
What Are the Risks of Ortho-K?
The risks of ortho-k are similar to those of standard contact lenses. Some risks and side effects can include:
- Watery eyes
- Corneal abrasions (scratches)
To reduce the risk of complications, make sure you’re following proper contact lens hygiene and instructions from your optometrist.
What is the Difference between Ortho-K, CRT, & VST?
CRT and VST are 2 brands of ortho-k lenses. Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) was introduced in April 2002 by Paragon Z. Vision Shaping Treatment (VST), was introduced in December 2004 by Bausch and Lomb.
Both are FDA-approved, and the main difference is whether or not your optometrist carries a certain brand. If you’re interested in ortho-k, speak to your optometrist about your treatment options.