Otherwise known as corneal reshaping or corneal refractive therapy (CRT), orthokeratology allows people with mild to moderate nearsightedness to achieve 20/20 vision without needing to wear corrective lenses during the day. This makes it a great choice for people who don’t want the hassle of glasses or contact lenses and plan on having laser vision correction in the future for permanent results.

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What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology, ortho-k for short, is a non-surgical method used to treat nearsightedness (myopia). Ortho-k lenses are rigid, gas-permeable lenses that are worn overnight to physically correct the curvature of the cornea resulting in light focusing onto the retina.

This allows patients to see clearly without using glasses or contacts during the day. It is also used to slow down the progression of nearsightedness, which puts patients at a higher risk for developing eye disease in the future.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is an elongation of the eye that causes objects that are farther away to appear blurry. Some other signs of myopia are frequent squinting or blinking, headaches, sitting closer to the television or computer, and holding books or tablets very close when reading.

“ She is the best doctor I have ever seen. She has the confidence what she does, she listens, explains everything with details. I have been seen her last three years or so never been disappointed. ”

How Does Ortho-K Work?

Ortho-k lenses are custom-made for patients using high-definition scans of the eye. They are designed to physically press against the elongation and distortion of the cornea, pushing it into the correct shape for effective vision correction.

How Quickly Does Ortho-K Produce Results?

Depending on the amount of vision correction needed, people who use ortho-k lenses experience dramatic results in about a week or two. Those with greater distortion and higher prescriptions take longer to experience results compared to those with only slightly myopic corneal shapes.

Is my Child A Candidate for Orthokeratology?

The best candidates for orthokeratology are children age 8-12 with progressive myopia. However, there are no age restrictions. It is a highly successful option for most teenagers and adults below the age of 40.

Orthokeratology can treat prescriptions up to -6.00 with low to moderate astigmatism. It is a great option for children that play sports as they do not have to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day.

Orthokeratology Appointments in Falls Church, VA

If you’re looking for non-surgical vision correction in Northern Virginia, orthokeratology may be the right procedure for you or your child. To learn how this procedure can help you get the vision correction you need without needing bulky glasses or irritating contact lenses during the day, contact Virginia ophthalmologist Dr. Anh Nguyen and schedule a consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the rigid gas permeable lenses hurt?

The lenses can be uncomfortable initially as they are made up of a hard plastic. However, after about a week of wear, your eyes will adjust to them. Using a gel or artificial tear drop before insertion can help improve comfort.

How long does it take ortho-k lenses to work?

It takes about one week of wear for low to moderate prescriptions and about two to three weeks for higher prescriptions. If you stop wearing the lenses every night, your eyesight will return back to baseline. Some patients may need to wear a soft contact lens temporarily during the day for the first week or two to ensure vision is not myopic.

Is ortho-k permanent?

No, much like a retainer, it only works for as long as you continue treatment. If you stop wearing the lenses, your eyes will return to baseline in about 72 hours. This is a great option for kids who are not Lasik candidates to keep their prescription stable until they are at an eligible age for Lasik.

Are there any risks to using an ortho-k lens?

The risk of ortho-k lenses is similar to any contact lens. However, it has a lower infection rate in comparison to soft contact lenses. It is a highly effective, non-invasive, non-surgical, and reversible method to halt the progression of myopia.

What are the downsides of orthokeratology?

While ortho-k is associated with many benefits, it also has some downsides. As with any contact lenses, there is the risk of infection. This is more common in children and teens who are less likely to maintain good contact lens hygiene, so it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions on how to put in and take out the lenses.

Can you wear Ortho-K for 12 hours?

Generally, ortho-k lenses can be worn anywhere from 6-12 hours at night to reshape the front surface of the eye.

Is ortho-k cheaper than LASIK?

Yes, the cost of ortho-k is often less than that of LASIK. However, be sure to consult with your ophthalmologist regarding pricing.

Do you have to wear Ortho-K for the rest of your life?

No, ortho-k lenses are typically worn from adolescence until the mid-20s. However, they can be worn at any age.

Can you sleep with Ortho-K lenses?

Yes, you actually should sleep with your ortho-k lenses in your eyes every night in order to get the full effect of reshaping the cornea.

What happens if you dont wear Ortho-K for one day?

If an individual does not wear their ortho-k lenses for one night, their vision may be blurry for the next day. If one were to stop wearing their lenses at night altogether, their eyes would eventually go back to their original shape and their refractive error would return.

What happens if you wear ortho-k for too long?

If ortho-k lenses are worn for too long, dry eye symptoms may develop due to long-term use of ortho-k lenses. Because of this, extended day wear is not recommended.

Why are my eyes blurry after wearing ortho-k?

Blurred vision during the first week of wearing ortho-k lenses may occur. If this blurry vision does not resolve within 2 weeks, it is recommended that you take note of any changes in your vision and report to your ophthalmologist.

What is the most common complication of orthokeratology?

As with any form of contact lenses, ortho-k can cause some possible complications. These may include induced astigmatism, a scratch on the cornea, and possibly an eye infection. You should watch out for the signs that your doctor discusses with you at your appointment.

What prescription is too high for ortho-k?

Generally, ortho-k can correct upwards of -6.00 diopters (D) of myopia. If you are interested in discussing ortho-k as an option for you, please contact Anh Nguyen Ophthalmology today.


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