Near-sightedness, also known as myopia, is the most common eye condition to affect adults, not just in the United States, but in the world. People with myopia find that objects that the further away an object is, the blurrier it appears. Meanwhile, nearby objects can be seen fairly clearly without the need for prescription lenses. It’s not known exactly why people develop myopia, but there is a range of factors that are believed to contribute to it. These include rapid growth of the eyes, spending too much time indoors without enough vitamin D, and spending lots of time staring at screens. Myopia also runs in families, which means if your parents or grandparents are affected, you are more likely to be too.
While wearing glasses or contact lenses to correct myopia isn’t a problem, it can be limiting in some circumstances, for example, when swimming or playing some sports. Myopia is also a progressive condition which means that without treatment it will get worse. People with high myopia are more likely to experience issues with the health of their eyes, including problems like macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Slowing its progression is strongly recommended among experts, and one way of doing this is through a fairly new treatment called orthokeratology, or Ortho-K for short.
What Is Ortho-K?
Ortho-K is a non-invasive, painless, and highly effective treatment that focuses on correcting the shape of your eyes while you sleep. It does this using specially-designed contact lenses, which you place in to your eyes before you go to sleep and remove again the next morning. Unlike other contact lenses, ortho-k lenses are perfectly safe to be worn overnight since they are made from light, breathable material.
While you sleep, the gentle pressure of the contact lenses combined with your natural tear film encourages your eyes to take a more evenly rounded shape, correcting the refractive error causing your myopia. When you take your ortho-k lenses out the next day, your eyes can retain their new shape for a number of hours. This means you’ll be able to see clearly without glasses or contacts during this time. With consistent wear, eventually, patients find that their eyes are able to retain the new shape for an entire day. Not only will they reap the benefit of their myopia being slowed, but they will also enjoy the freedom of seeing clearly without prescription lenses during the day. The changes made to your vision by ortho-k aren’t permanent, and if you stop wearing your lenses your vision will return to normal over the course of the following days.
Am I A Candidate For Ortho-K?
Before you can get started on Ortho-K treatment, you’ll need to have your vision assessed by your provider. They will check that you are a suitable candidate for treatment and that it is likely to be successful. Some of the things they will look at will include:
- The type of refractive eye error you have. While Ortho-K is most often used to correct myopia, it can also be an effective treatment for patients with hyperopia (far-sightedness, which is the complete opposite to myopia) and astigmatism.
- Whether you are affected by presbyopia. Presbyopia is a refractive eye error caused by the loss of elasticity in the natural lens of the eye, making it less able to adapt when you are trying to focus. Fortunately, Ortho-K can also be used to treat some cases of presbyopia.
- Your age. Myopia most often begins to develop in childhood and starting a myopia management program like Ortho-K can be extremely beneficial for getting the condition under control early on. Ortho-K lenses can be used from as young as around 8 years old.
- Your current prescription. Although Ortho-K lenses can be created to suit most prescriptions, this will still need to be assessed.
- Your lifestyle. Ortho-K is particularly valuable for people who participate in sports either on an amateur or professional basis. This is because the lenses can improve your visual clarity without you needing to wear glasses or contact lenses – something which can be difficult in many sporting activities.
If you would like to find out if you are a good candidate for Ortho-K myopia management lenses, our dedicated optical team in New Hyde Park, NY would be happy to help. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.