Orthokeratology, also known as ortho-k, is a non-surgical procedure that aims to temporarily improve vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day. It involves wearing special rigid gas-permeable contact lenses while you sleep.
Here's how it works: When you wear these specially designed lenses overnight, they gently reshape the front surface of your cornea—the clear, dome-shaped covering of your eye. This reshaping process corrects any refractive errors you may have, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The lenses work by applying gentle pressure to the cornea, which alters its curvature.
During the day, after you remove the lenses upon waking up, your cornea maintains its new shape, allowing light to focus properly on the retina at the back of your eye. As a result, you experience clearer vision throughout the day without the need for daytime corrective eyewear.
It's important to note that ortho-k is a temporary solution, and the effects typically last for a day or two. To maintain clear vision, you would need to wear the lenses regularly while you sleep. If you stop wearing the lenses, your cornea will gradually return to its original shape, and your vision will revert to its pre-treatment state.
Orthokeratology has been found to have the potential to slow down the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) in some individuals, particularly in children. There are a few proposed explanations for how ortho-k can help in slowing myopia progression:
1. Corneal Reshaping: Ortho-k lenses temporarily reshape the cornea, the front surface of the eye. By flattening the cornea's central area, ortho-k lenses aim to reduce the focusing power of the eye, which can help in controlling the elongation of the eyeball associated with myopia progression.
2. Peripheral Defocus: Myopia is often associated with excessive focusing on near objects and inadequate peripheral defocus. Ortho-k lenses have been designed to provide a specific peripheral defocus pattern, which means that light entering the peripheral areas of the retina is intentionally focused in a way that helps slow down the eye's elongation.
3. Retinal Stimulation: Some researchers suggest that ortho-k lenses, by altering the light distribution on the retina, may stimulate certain parts of the retina differently, influencing the eye's growth and potentially reducing the progression of myopia.
It's important to note that the effectiveness of ortho-k in slowing myopia progression can vary among individuals. Factors such as age, initial degree of myopia, and compliance with lens wear play a role in the outcomes. Regular monitoring and follow-up with an eye care professional are essential to assess the effectiveness of ortho-k in your specific case.
It's also worth mentioning that while ortho-k can help slow down myopia progression, it does not cure myopia or permanently reverse it. The treatment is typically ongoing, and if discontinued, myopia may continue to progress as it would without ortho-k.
If you are interested in exploring ortho-k for myopia control, we recommend consulting with a myopia control professional who can evaluate your suitability and provide personalized guidance based on your individual circumstances.