Orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses are specialty contacts designed for myopia control in children and young adults. They’re worn overnight and gently reshape the cornea to change how light reflects inside the eye, reducing the need for glasses during the day. They have also been shown to slow myopia progression by about 41–45% in children aged 7–13.
Ortho-k lenses are made from a special material that is comfortable and safe for children to wear overnight.
What Is Myopia?
Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a refraction error that causes distant objects to appear blurry while nearby objects remain clear. It occurs when the eye grows too long or the cornea is too steep, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it.
While myopia is common, the lengthening of the eye increases the risk of developing other eye conditions, like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment. These risks are why it’s crucial to address myopia early and take steps to manage it.
Myopia typically develops during childhood or adolescence. It’s not uncommon for kids to start experiencing blurry vision when looking at distant objects.
If your little one is squinting to see things far away or struggling to read the board at school, schedule an eye exam so their optometrist can determine if myopia is the cause and recommend the best course of action. Myopia is easily corrected with contacts or glasses, but myopia control can help slow it and prevent complications later in your child’s life.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Ortho-K Lenses?
Ortho-k is most effective for slowing myopia in growing eyes. Myopia control cannot reverse myopia in eyes that are fully developed (around age 20). As such, ortho-k for myopia control is best suited for children, especially those with mild to moderate myopia.
However, adults can also experience the benefits of ortho-k. You may be a good candidate if you want to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses during the day and don’t qualify for laser eye surgery.
It’s important to consult with your optometrist to determine if ortho-k lenses are the best option for you or your family.
How Do Ortho-K Lenses Work?
Ortho-k lenses gently reshape the cornea (the clear dome over the front of the eye), temporarily correcting vision. The effects can last throughout the day, providing clear vision without needing glasses or contact lenses.
By reshaping the cornea, ortho-k lenses help maintain the proper shape and size of the eye, preventing it from getting too long. As long as your child wears ortho-k lenses regularly, they can enjoy clear vision during the day and take a step towards slowing down myopia progression.
Possible Risks & Side Effects
Ortho-k lenses are medical devices, but as long as both you and your child are happy with wearing overnight contact use and your child can handle putting in, taking out, and caring for their lenses, then ortho-k is an excellent option for vision correction.
However, with any contact lens, some risks come with ortho-k use, including mild discomfort or eye dryness and an increased risk of eye infections.
It’s important to carefully follow the instructions provided by your optometrist for wearing and caring for any contact lens. Your child’s eye doctor will also monitor their eyes regularly to ensure the lenses aren’t causing any adverse effects.
Tips for Using Ortho-K Lenses
If you are considering ortho-k lenses to help control your child’s myopia, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Follow proper cleaning and care instructions: Make sure to clean and disinfect the lenses as directed by your optometrist to prevent infections and keep the lenses in good condition.
- Stick to the recommended wear schedule: Ortho-k lenses require regular use to maintain their effects on corneal reshaping. Make sure your child wears them as directed by their eye doctor.
- Get regular check-ups: It’s important to get regular check-ups with your eye doctor to monitor the progress of your child’s myopia and ensure the lenses fit correctly.
- Have a backup pair of glasses: While ortho-k lenses can reduce your child’s dependence on glasses or contacts during the day, it’s still important they have a backup pair in case of emergencies.
- Avoid rubbing the eyes: Rubbing the eyes while wearing ortho-k lenses can cause the lenses to shift or move out of place. If your child is rubbing their eyes or expressing discomfort, have them remove the lenses immediately and contact your eye doctor for advice.
- Be patient: It may take some time for your child’s eyes to adjust to ortho-k lenses and the full effects to be seen. Be patient and follow your eye doctor’s instructions for best results.
Find Myopia Control at Vision Care Centre
At Vision Care Centre, we understand the importance of clear vision and the impact it can have on your child’s life. Our optometrists can help you find the best solution for your child’s vision needs. We’ll work with you to determine if ortho-k lenses are the right choice for your family and provide personalized guidance. Contact Vision Care Centre today to learn more about how ortho-k lenses can help you find solutions for myopia control.