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Laying down with eyes closed

Orthokeratology: Corrective Vision Therapy While You Sleep

Have you heard of orthokeratology? It’s a fascinating regime that has been in place since the 1970s to correct refractive errors using custom-designed lenses that are worn during sleep. FYidoctors has put together a review of this treatment plan, how this form of vision therapy works, eligibility requirements, and its long-term success.

Also known as ortho-k, the specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) while you sleep at night so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up. The process can correct vision complications such as nearsightedness. Most often, ortho-k is used to treat youngsters to control the progression of childhood myopia.

A temporary solution

Myopia up to -6.00 diopters can be corrected, but every person is unique and treatment will vary from case to case. Results last for one or two days, but for optimal long-term results it is generally recommended to wear the ortho-k lenses nightly. Higher prescriptions may take two weeks or longer for maximum correction.

You can discontinue wearing the special lenses at any time. But, you’ll need to revert to wearing glasses or contacts once your myopia returns to its original state.

Who should undergo ortho-k?

Those with mild to moderate myopia can be considered candidates. Contact sports players, those who work in dusty environments that can pose problems for contact lens wear, and applicants disqualified from laser eye surgery may benefit most from ortho-k treatment.

Results you’ll see

Eye care practitioners aim to correct your vision to 20/20. They do so by measuring the curvatures of your corneas using a corneal topographer instrument to map the surface off your eye. Custom ortho-k lenses will be made for you, and you will be fitted again by an eye doctor to ensure the perfect size. A series of temporary lenses may be required for you to see properly until the desired prescription is reached. In most cases, up to three pairs of lenses are required to achieve the best vision correction effect.

When you start wearing ortho-k lenses, you will most likely notice the lenses on your eyes until you fall asleep. With time, the lenses typically become more comfortable.

History in the making

Not all eye doctors endorse ortho-k, and prices are fees are determined based on the follow up care and number of lenses required. Initially introduced in the 1970s, the technology is regaining popularity because of the availability of modern high-oxygen permeability lenses now available.

Complications can include severe infections caused by organisms building up in the lenses of these rigid gas-permeable contact lenses, so be sure to talk to your eye doctor to find out what the best recommendations are for you.

If you have questions about whether ortho-k can work for you, make an appointment with your local Visique optometrist to learn more.