Every year people spends hundreds and thousands of dollars in corrective eye surgeries, expensive procedures and buying visual aids like eye glasses and contact lenses correct visual defects like nearsightedness. For all those individuals who are not satisfied with the expenses of eye-care products and unnecessary struggle in improving the nearsightedness, a better approach is Orthokeratology.
Orthokeratology is not a very old approach but is getting wide acceptance and is available in most parts of United States now. The procedure involves fitting a gas permeable contact lens in the eye by an ophthalmologist or someone who is a specialist in this field. The primary property of this type of lens is effective reshaping of the cornea to ensure a better visual quality even when you are not wearing the lens.
How does Orthokeratology Work?
Myopia (also known as nearsightedness) involves a type of visual field defect in which the cornea is too rigid or steep; therefore when the light rays fall on the surface, optimal convergence is not obtained that result in blurring of vision. The working principle of Orthokeratology involves introduction of a lens that reshape the cornea thereby providing optimal focus and clear image formation. The biggest limiting factor is the reshaping of cornea is not permanent unlike LASIK procedures. This suggests that you don't need visual aid for a day after which you will have to reuse Ortho-k lens to reshape your cornea. Ortho- lenses are ideal for any individual (of any age) as long as they have healthy eyes and require corneal reshaping for a better vision.
How is Orthokeratology Performed?
If you think you may require Ortho-lenses for correction of refractive errors of your eye, you will have to visit your healthcare provider or ophthalmologist you will measure the curvature and dimensions of your cornea. This is performed by the use of a specialized instrument (known as corneal topographer) that allow operator to know the demographic details of your eye.
After obtaining a complete report, your healthcare provider will order a custom-made pair of lens according to the topographic measurements of your eye. It will require a period of minimum 2 weeks to get properly adjusted and used to your Ortho- k lens and changes in the corneal shape.
Like all cosmetic and ophthalmological procedures, use of Orthokeratology also increases the risk of some possible issues or adverse effects. For best results feel free to consult an ophthalmologist to clear any questions or concerns you have regarding the procedure. Normally if you are wearing Ortho- k lenses during daytime, you may experience the irritation or foreign body sensation in the eye with blinking. This problem is minimal if you use the lens at night or before bedtime.
Who are Likely Candidates for Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology is best for individuals who don't have any issue in wearing contact lenses at night or while going to bed. You are a likely candidate for Orthokeratology if:
- You don't want to wear contact lenses or eye glasses during most part of the day.
- If you have dry eye syndrome or similar pathology that may worsen with LASIK or other cosmetic surgeries
- You have significant myopia (for up to -6.00 diopters, you can use corneal refractive therapy lenses and for up to -5.00 diopters you can use overnight ortho-k lenses)
- If you also have astigmatism of up to -1.75 D
- If you are more active in sports or your job/ occupational responsibilities require long working hours in dusty environment (that may potentially be a problem for anyone who is use regular contact lenses).
- If you are an underage or an adolescent and thus not a likely candidate for specialized surgical or refractive correctional procedures like LASIK. However, it is always a better option to discuss with your healthcare provider if Ortho-K is a good choice for you (due to a mild possibility of some problems i under-aged individuals).
The option of wearing Ortho-k glasses overnight has increased the popularity of Orthokeratology since the corneal reshaping is completed when you are still sleeping and once you wake up you can enjoy quality vision without any glasses. Researchers however believe that a perfect candidate for Ortho- K lenses is one who literally has no astigmatism and myopia of no more than -4.00 D.
What Can You Expect from Orthokeratology?
Healthcare providers and researchers usually target a perfect vision (of 20/20) with the use of Ortho- k lenses and refractive visual therapies; however, a vision of up to 20/ 40 is also acceptable (it is noteworthy that a vision of 20/40 is legally accepted by US Government as bare-minimal visual acuity required for driving in US.
In the research studies conducted by officials of US FDA, almost 93% study participants achieved an improvement in the visual acuity of up to 20/ 32 or even better with the use of Paragon CRT lenses. In addition, over 67% of all the study participants have shown a remarkable improvement in the visual acuity of up to 20/20 or better with Paragon CRT lenses. The researchers evaluated the study participants for a period of up to 9 months. In another similar study, the US FDA researchers achieved an improvement in the visual acuity of up to20/40 in 95% of study participants with VST design of Ortho-k lenses and 20/20 acuity in 73% of the study subjects.
Orthokeratology versus LASIK
A lot of people are confused in making as to whether Orthokeratology is a better choice compared to LASIK or vice versa. Technically speaking, Orthokeratology provides you with better options and choices. Even if you are not satisfied with the results, you can always opt for LASIK surgery. However, caution must be maintained by delaying the LASIK for a few months (or as advised by your ophthalmologist) after discontinuing the use of Ortho- K lenses.