Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is the most common refractive eye condition in the world. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 40% of the population has myopia, and the number of people experiencing this condition is expected to rise over the coming decade. Nearsightedness occurs due to a problem with the way that light refracts when it enters the eye. Instead of hitting the retina directly, which is the area of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye which is responsible for turning the light into a message which is sent up the optic nerve to the brain, instead the light is refracted in front of it. This means that while we can see nearby objects clearly, those which are further away appear blurred and difficult to focus on.
Most people have heard of using glasses or contact lenses to temporarily correct your vision during the day so that you can see clearly. However, these options are not necessarily suitable for everyone. Glasses can change your appearance, you must remember to take them with you when you go anywhere and they can be impossible to wear in certain situations, such as when playing in some sports or swimming. Meanwhile, contact lenses don’t work for everyone either. They are more expensive than glasses, can be tricky to handle and require specific care to keep them clean and healthy. Patients with eye allergies can find them particularly difficult to wear.
Laser vision correction is a good option for people who want to permanently correct their refractive error and see clearly without nearsightedness, but again, this solution isn’t suitable or wanted by every patient. Fortunately, there is a new alternative to all of the above treatments for nearsightedness – orthokeratology, or ortho-k.
Orthokeratology, or ortho-k, is the name of an innovative new technique that is increasingly being used to correct nearsightedness. The treatment technique also goes by a number of other names, including corneal refractive therapy (CRT), overnight vision correction (OVC), or gentle vision shaping system (GVSS).
Ortho-k works by using bespoke gas-permeable contact lenses that are worn overnight, gently, and temporarily reshaping the cornea while you sleep. These lenses are slightly more rigid than most soft contacts, which helps the cornea to adapt and retain the new shape. Meanwhile, their gas-permeable nature ensures that sufficient oxygen reaches your eyes to keep them healthy and comfortable. Simply pop the lenses in before bed, enjoy a restful night of sleep, then remove them again the next morning and go about your day. Your cornea will retain the new shape long enough for you to see clearly all day without wearing glasses or contact lenses.
The effects of ortho-k are temporary. Initially, you will need to wear your lenses every night in order to see clearly the next day, but after a few weeks of this, you may only need to wear your ortho-k lenses every other night for your cornea to retain their new shape. However, rest assured that if you stop wearing your lenses, your corneal shape will revert back to normal within a few days, and you will become fully reliant on prescription eyewear again.
Some of the main advantages of choosing ortho-k include:
No need to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day.
Your bespoke lenses are worn overnight, meaning that they are less affected by allergies.
Your lenses are bespoke, created to your individual needs, ensuring that you achieve the clearest vision possible.
Lenses are gas-permeable which helps keep your eyes healthy and comfortable.
No need to remember to take glasses with you during the day.
You can participate in activities that are typically compromised by wearing glasses or contact lenses.
Ortho-k is suitable for the vast majority of patients, including children as young as 8 or 9 years old.
The treatment is non-surgical and not at all painful or uncomfortable.
You can reverse the effects of the treatment at any time.
If you would like to find out more about ortho-k or to schedule an appointment to discuss your suitability for this treatment, please contact our family eye care center in Las Vegas, NV today.