Presbyopia is a condition that leads to progressive loss of the eye’s ability to focus on nearby objects because of the hardening of the eye’s lens. According to a recent study, presbyopia affects 80% of people over 40, and it can cause blurred vision, eyestrain, and headaches.
What Is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology is a non-surgical treatment that uses gas-permeable contact lenses. Wearing these lenses overnight reshapes the cornea, allowing light to focus correctly on the retina and thus improve vision.
Ortho K Contact Lenses Explained (what is Orthokeratology)
As an FDA-approved treatment since 2002, orthokeratology is safe and effective for patients of all ages.
How Does Orthokeratology Work for Presbyopia?
Orthokeratology contact lenses take advantage of the cornea’s plasticity, specifically the epithelial layer. By regulating the degree of corneal molding, these lenses can bring the eye into focus and mitigate the eye’s refractive error.
The effects of Orthokeratology contact lenses are noticeable after one night of overnight use. Refractive stability typically happens within 1 to 2 weeks. However, once the lens is no longer worn, the eye’s refractive state regresses to its original level.
This multifocal approach can reduce the need for reading glasses or bifocals and improve visual acuity for daily activities, making it an appealing option for those with presbyopia who lead active lifestyles.
What Are The Benefits of Orthokeratology?
It is important to note that Ortho-K offers many advantages for patients with presbyopia, including:
Improved Visual Acuity: Ortho-K lenses aim to reshape the cornea, improving noticeable visual acuity in presbyopia patients.
Non-Surgical: Ortho-K is a non-surgical treatment option. There is no need for invasive procedures or incisions. Patients who are uncomfortable with the idea of surgery may find this appealing.
Convenient: Patients wear Ortho-k lenses at night for comfortable, clear vision without glasses or contacts throughout the day.
Cost-Effective: Orthokeratology can be cost-effective compared to other vision correction procedures like LASIK.
Busting Popular Orthokeratology Myths
Infection is almost inevitable: Proper care of the lenses reduces the risk of infection. Regular wear of standard soft contact lenses carries a similar risk to Ortho-K lenses.
Fittings are complicated: Getting a good fit for special contact lenses is no problem, with a success rate of 75% or more for first-time wearers. While the process may take longer than traditional contact lenses, it is safe and effective.
It is a waste of time: While orthokeratology’s changes are temporary, the appeal of clear daytime vision without surgery benefits many people by improving their visual acuity with minimal effort.
Corneal tissue gets squished: There might be a misconception that placing lenses over the eyes to flatten the cornea could harm the eye by pushing the epithelial cells to the outer edges. In reality, the process works with the natural fluids in the eye to reshape the cornea. This reshaping occurs because the top portion of the cornea above the pupil is thinner than its surrounding areas. It is important to note that this process is temporary, and discontinuing the use of the lenses will cause the cornea to return to its original shape.
Orthokeratology treatment is a safe and effective option for adults with presbyopia who wish to correct their vision without surgery or using traditional corrective lenses. It offers a range of benefits, such as improved visual acuity and comfort and the convenience of not wearing glasses or contact lenses during the day.
If you are experiencing persistent symptoms of presbyopia, book an appointment with your Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc optometrist in Southwest Houston for further evaluation and treatment options.