What Eye Conditions Can Ortho-K Treat?

Orthokeratology, more commonly referred to as Ortho-K, is an innovative treatment for certain eye conditions that is gaining popularity worldwide. Ortho-K is a non-surgical treatment that utilizes specially designed contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea and improve vision. Understanding what Ortho-K is, how it works, the eye conditions it addresses, and its benefits are crucial in deciding whether it’s the right treatment for you.


How Ortho-K Works


Ortho-K works by utilizing specially designed, rigid gas permeable contact lenses that you wear overnight. The lenses apply a controlled amount of pressure to the cornea, the clear front surface of your eye, gently reshaping it while you sleep. The reshaped cornea allows light to be focused correctly on the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

The Ortho-K process begins with a comprehensive eye examination and corneal topography, a procedure that maps the surface of the cornea. Your eye doctor uses this information to design a customized pair of Ortho-K lenses for your eyes. Once the lenses are ready, you'll be instructed on how to insert, remove, and care for them.

It's important to note that the effects of Ortho-K are not permanent. If you stop wearing the Ortho-K lenses, your cornea will gradually return to its original shape, and your refractive error will return. Therefore, consistent use of the Ortho-K lenses is necessary to maintain clear vision.


Eye Conditions Addressed by Ortho-K


Ortho-K is often used to correct refractive errors, the most common eye conditions that cause blurry vision. These errors occur when the shape of your eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye.

The most commonly treated condition with Ortho-K is myopia, or nearsightedness. Myopia occurs when your eye is too long or the cornea is too steep, causing light to focus in front of the retina. This results in blurred distance vision. Ortho-K lenses reshape the cornea, allowing light to focus directly on the retina, thus sharpening distance vision.

Ortho-K can also be effective in treating hyperopia or farsightedness. This condition occurs when your eye is too short or the cornea is too flat, causing light to focus behind the retina. With Ortho-K, the cornea is reshaped to allow light to focus directly on the retina, improving near vision.

Astigmatism, a condition caused by an irregularly shaped cornea or lens, can also be corrected by Ortho-K. The lenses work by smoothing out the irregularities on the cornea, providing clearer vision.

Lastly, Ortho-K has been used for presbyopia, an age-related condition where the eye's lens stiffens, making it difficult to focus on close objects. The treatment can create a multifocal effect, allowing for improved near and distance vision.

Advantages of Ortho-K Treatment


There are several benefits to Ortho-K treatment. First, it provides clear vision without the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses. This can be especially beneficial for those who participate in sports or work in environments where glasses or contact lenses may be inconvenient or unsafe.

Another significant benefit of Ortho-K is its role in myopia control. Several studies have shown that Ortho-K can slow down the progression of myopia in children, reducing the risk of developing high myopia and associated complications later in life.

Is Ortho-K Right for You?


Deciding whether Ortho-K is right for you is a personal decision that should be made after thorough research and consultation with your eye doctor. The treatment offers clear vision without the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses, is non-surgical and reversible, and can slow down the progression of myopia in children.

To learn more on Ortho-K, or to determine if they are right for you, visit Eye Care Center in our Fridley, Maplewood, or Maple Grove, Minnesota offices. Call (763) 308-8440, (651) 777-3555, or (763) 420-6981 to schedule an appointment today.

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