What is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is a non-invasive method of reshaping the cornea overnight with specialty gas permeable contact lenses to provide quality vision without glasses or contact lenses throughout the day. The process is reversible and a safer alternative to LASIK.
Myopia (near-sighted) is becoming more prevalent throughout the world. There is active research in this field to find the cause of myopia; unfortunately, the exact mechanisms that cause myopia is not completely understood. However, multiple studies investigating the use of ortho-k suggest that this modality is an effective method of myopia control in children. The results of these studies have shown a statistically significant decrease in progression of myopia [1,2,3,4,5,6]
How does Orthokeratology work?
Orthokeratology is an FDA approved procedure to reshape the corneas of myopic eyes. Myopia is a condition that focuses the light in front of the retina which causes blurry vision. These specialized lenses use positive and negative pressure to manipulate the tear layer between the lens and cornea to flatten the cornea. This reshaping refocuses the light onto the retina which provides clear vision.
Ortho-k lenses will reshape the cornea like how braces will align teeth; therefore, continued use of the lenses is necessary to act like retainers that will keep the cornea the desired shape for good vision. The above picture is a chronological topography of a cornea going through orthokeratology treatment. The central cornea (yellow) is steep (1), begins to flatten (2), and is finally at the desired shape(blue) for appropriate vision (3).