Orthokeratology lenses, also known as Ortho-k lenses, are a type of contact lens that can be worn while sleeping to correct refractive errors and improve vision during the day. However, in recent times, Ortho-k lenses have also been gaining in popularity for their ability to slow down the progression of myopia in children and young adults. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at Ortho-k lenses and their efficacy for myopia control.
What are Ortho-k lenses?
Ortho-k lenses are gas-permeable contact lenses that are worn overnight while you sleep. The lenses gently reshape the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, to correct mainly refractive errors such as nearsightedness and astigmatism. The lenses are then removed in the morning, and the patient can enjoy clear vision during the day without needing glasses or traditional contact lenses.
How do Ortho-k lenses work for myopia control?
Recent studies have shown that Ortho-k lenses can also be effective in slowing down the progression of myopia, especially in children and young adults. Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition where distant objects appear blurry while close objects are clear. It is caused by the elongation of the eye, which can lead to more serious eye conditions later in life, such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment.
Ortho-k lenses work for myopia control by exerting gentle pressure on the cornea that slows down its elongation. It gently reshapes the curvature of the eye to improve vision and reduces the progression of myopia.
Ortho-k lenses have been shown to be effective in controlling the progression of myopia in children. When used for partial or full correction of myopia, it has been shown to slow myopic progression in children by 36-56% as compared to single-vision spectacle or contact-lens-wearing peers. Although it cannot halt myopia progression completely, the inhibitory effect on axial elongation for 2 years has been reported to be from 32% to 63%, as compared to single-vision spectacles and contact lenses.
What are the benefits of using Ortho-k lenses for myopia control?
Ortho-k lenses offer several benefits for myopia control, including:
- Slowing down the progression of myopia, which can reduce the risk of developing serious eye conditions due to high myopia later in life
- No need for glasses or contact lenses during the day, which can be especially beneficial for active children and young adults
- Improved quality of life, with a clear vision all day long and no need for corrective lenses.
What are the risks of using Ortho-k lenses for myopia control?
Ortho-k lenses are safe and have been approved by the FDA for myopia control. However, like all contact lenses, Ortho-k lenses do carry some risks. Some patients may experience discomfort or irritation while wearing the lenses, and there is a small risk of infection. However, these risks are typically low and can be minimized by following proper lens care instructions and scheduling regular eye exams with your Optometrist.
How long does it take to see results with Ortho-K Lenses?
For vision correction, some patients may see an improvement in their vision as soon as the firs night they wear their Ortho-k lenses. However, it can take up to two weeks or more for patients to experience the full effects of Ortho-k treatment, particularly if they have higher prescriptions or more complex eye conditions.
What is the process for getting fitted with Ortho-K lenses?
During your first appointment, our optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether Ortho-k lenses are a good choice for you.
After checking your prescription as well as the health of your eyes, the next step is to undergo a corneal topography, which is a non-invasive procedure that creates a detailed map of the shape of the cornea. This information is used to design custom Ortho-k lenses that are tailored to the unique curvature of the patient's cornea.
Once the lenses have been designed, the patient will need to undergo a fitting appointment to try on their new Ortho-k lenses. During this appointment, the optometrist will evaluate the fit of the lenses and make any necessary adjustments to ensure they are comfortable and effective.
Patients may need to return for follow-up appointments to monitor their progress and adjust the fit of their lenses as needed. It's important for patients to be diligent in wearing their Ortho-k lenses every night and to follow proper lens care instructions to ensure the best results.
Ortho-k lenses are a safe and effective way to correct refractive errors and improve vision. They are also gaining popularity for their ability to slow down the progression of myopia in children and young adults. If you are interested in learning more about Ortho-k lenses for myopia control, do contact us to book an appointment to see if they are right for you or your child! :-)
1. Clinical Trials (2008). Effective of Orthokeratology in Myopia Control. Retrieved from https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT034657483.
2. Hiraoka T. Myopia Control With Orthokeratology: A Review. Eye Contact Lens. 2022;48(3):100-104. doi:10.1097/ICL.0000000000000867