Orthokeratology: Things You Must Know About the Procedure

ortho-k technique

A non-surgical treatment method where myopia patients are required to wear specially-designed rigid gas permeable contact lenses on an overnight basis to reshape the cornea and for treating their nearsightedness or eye condition befits the description of Orthokeratology.

As a result of this treatment method, the vision of the patients improves, and they are not required to wear contact lenses or eyeglasses on the subsequent day.

If you opt for this procedure, the doctors will advise on wearing the contact lenses before sleeping. The following morning, the lenses can be removed. As a result, you are able to see clearly the next day. Athletes may benefit from this technology as they need to not wear contact lenses or eyeglasses when playing sports.

How Ortho- K was developed?

ortho-k technique

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During the 1960s, research on this latest eye treatment method is deemed to have started. The doctors perceived that through wearing contact lenses, the shape of the cornea was altered. Moreover, they found that if the cornea was flattened, then myopia could be reduced.

They noticed that after removing the contact lenses, the patients were able to see clearly throughout the day. However, the next day, their vision would return to the normal state and they were required to wear the lenses again. Over a period of time, the Orthokeratology procedure was developed.

Earlier, the treatment was administered to the patients for 12-18 months to correct their vision. But, at present and due to advanced technological methods, the treatment period is reduced to 1 week.

The Ortho K Technique

ortho-k technique

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During the Ortho K procedure, at first, the doctors will gauge the extent of the patient’s astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness. Here, they measure the refraction of your eye. Next, a corneal topographer is used to determine the outline of the eye’s frontal surface.

After obtaining the digital map of your eye, the doctors will ascertain the ideal shape of your cornea. Thereafter, the doctors will specially manufacture contact lenses as per your specifications. Then, the patients will be advised to wear the contact lenses for 8 hours in a day. Until the cornea is reshaped, and the vision of the patient improves, the patients have to continue wearing the contact lenses for the stipulated duration per day.

In some cases, the doctors will chart out a wearing schedule for you to wear lenses when asleep. Over time, the number of hours that you have to wear the contact lenses is reduced, depending on your condition.

Who can avail the Ortho-K treatment?

Orthokeratology is suited for the following sets of patients:

  • Myopia patients who have lesser than – 4.00 diopters
  • Astigmatism patients having less than -1.50 diopters

The only criterion is that your eyes should be healthy. Nonetheless, the procedure is not suitable for all people and you must consult your doctor to ascertain whether you can avail the treatment or not.

The Related Risks of Ortho-K

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There are several risks that are associated with Orthokeratology. The patients may suffer from pink eye infections (for which pink eye remedies are there), eye irritation, and other discomforting sensations.

But, the risks of the procedure can be lowered, if you wear the contact lenses correctly. Also, as the lenses are worn only during the night, you may not experience comfort issues. More importantly, the patients have to follow the hygiene measures, under which the lenses have to be cleaned properly.

Ortho-K Vs Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT)

ortho-k technique

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In addition to Orthokeratology, the doctors have developed a new program called as Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT). The difference between both these procedures is that CRT is more specialized in design as compared to Ortho K.

Under the CRT procedure, specially-designed contact lenses have to be worn by the patients at night time. Consequently, the next day, they enjoy the benefits of improved vision. Astigmatism up to -1.75 diopters and myopia up to -6.00 diopters can be corrected via CRT. As per the patient’s condition, they will see improvement in the subsequent days. In some cases, the patients are treated within 7 days and others may take longer if greater correction is needed.