Orthokeratology (ortho-k) retainers (lenses) are specially designed contact lenses that can reshape the cornea during the night while your child sleeps. This non-surgical procedure provides people with an alternative or supplementation to traditional prescription glasses or contacts by correcting common refractive errors like myopia and astigmatism.
Ortho-k is a valuable tool for children at risk of developing myopia. A visit to your optometrist for a pediatric eye exam can help determine whether ortho-k will suit your child’s eyes.
What Is Ortho-K Used For?
The popularity of ortho-k retainers has increased rapidly in recent years, with many people searching for ways to reduce their dependence on prescription glasses or contacts, improve the quality of their vision, and find a more permanent solution to their refractive errors.
Ortho-k retainers are primarily used for correcting refractive errors like myopia and astigmatism. These lenses gently reshape the curvature of the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, overnight during sleep. This process results in clearer vision during the day, reducing or even eliminating the need for prescription eyewear.
Understanding Myopia Control: Why It Matters
Myopia typically emerges during childhood and can worsen as a person grows older. Children may struggle to communicate their vision problems, so it’s essential to watch for behavioral cues that can indicate myopia, including:
- Being too close to books or screens
- Frequent squinting
- Reading issues at a distance
- Watery eyes
- Complaints of eye strain or headaches
- Tilting the head
- Reading avoidance
While wearing corrective glasses or contact lenses can help manage nearsightedness, the condition can progress and lead to more severe eye problems. This is where myopia control comes in.
Prevents Vision Loss
Unmanaged myopia can lead to severe vision loss and can increase the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment later in life. By controlling myopia, it’s possible to reduce the risk of developing these eye problems and maintain strong vision.
Better Quality of Life
As myopia worsens, daily activities such as reading, driving, or watching television without glasses or contact lenses become increasingly difficult. By controlling myopia, your child can experience fewer visual problems and enjoy better vision to support their hobbies, academic performance, and sports.
Reduces Dependence on Corrective Devices
Myopia control can also reduce your child’s dependence on corrective devices such as glasses or contacts. While these devices can help correct existing myopia, they don’t address the underlying cause of myopia—an overly curved cornea or elongated eyeball.
With myopia control, it’s possible to slow down the condition’s progression and eventually reduce the strength of the prescription required to correct their vision.
How Do Ortho-K Retainers Work?
Ortho-k lenses are designed to be worn overnight while you sleep. They use a unique reverse geometry design that applies slight pressure to the cornea, reshaping it into the proper curvature. This curvature correction reduces or eliminates myopia and astigmatism, resulting in clearer vision the following day.
It’s important to note that ortho-k retainers are not a permanent solution to refractive errors. The effects of ortho-k typically last for a few days, so you’ll need to wear them every night to maintain the benefits.
The Benefits of Ortho-K
There are several benefits to using ortho-k retainers, such as:
- Improved vision: Ortho-k can provide clearer vision during the day, minimizing the need for glasses or contacts.
- Non-surgical treatment: Ortho-k is a noninvasive alternative to laser surgery.
- Convenient: Ortho-k is easy to use and requires no maintenance during the day.
- Freedom from lenses: Ortho-k can reduce the need for glasses or contacts during the day, providing more flexibility and comfort.
- Prevention of further vision deterioration: Ortho-k slows the progression of myopia in children and young adults.
When to Consider Myopia Control
Myopia control is typically recommended for children who have been diagnosed with nearsightedness. The earlier the condition is detected and managed, the better the chances of preventing severe vision problems later in life. Regular eye exams protect your child’s eyesight, even when they’re not complaining of eye or vision problems.
However, myopia control can also be effective in young adults with mild to moderate myopia and experiencing difficulty with corrective devices.
Early Myopia Detection Is Key
If you’re considering ortho-k as an option for managing your child’s myopia, it’s important to consult with your eye doctor, who can evaluate your individual needs and recommend the right treatment. There are alternative treatments or supplementary myopia control options available.
Contact Evolutionary Eye Care to schedule an appointment about ortho-k and other myopia control methods. Let us design a customized treatment plan for your child.