Corneal refractive therapy or orthokeratology is a non-surgical process that reshapes your cornea through the use of contact lenses. While not a fit for every patient, many can benefit from CRT to help improve their vision to 20/20 with the simple use of contact lenses. Many patients opt for this treatment as an alternative to surgical options like LASIK. If you’re considering orthokeratology, here’s what you need to know.
What Is Orthokeratology?
Sometimes referred to as Ortho-k, these types of lenses are used for two reasons, 1) To improve refractive errors like nearsightedness, astigmatism, etc., and 2) To slow childhood myopia. If these types of lenses are prescribed by your optometrist, they work by temporarily altering the cornea to reshape them.
When light comes through the eye, the cornea’s shape directs the light to the proper place on the back of the eyeball, called the retina. Slight discrepancies in the shape of the cornea can cause vision deficiencies, including bulging and misshapen surface. Orthokeratology lenses actually reshape the eye to bring it back to its optimal curvature and provide clear vision.
How Does Orthokeratology Work?
For most patients, these orthokeratology lenses are worn at night to provide consistent and stable vision during the day. Depending on the severity of the condition, some individuals don’t need to wear them every single night. While heralded as temporary, the lenses can begin to make a real difference in a patient’s vision in four weeks or less. Depending on the prescription, some can begin to see a difference immediately.
As the curvature of the cornea is reshaped, the individual will begin to see clearly during the day without the use of a lens or pair of glasses. While the lenses are gentle on the eye, there may be some discomfort at the beginning of use as the eyes adjust.
Generally, Ortho-K is a safe and reversible procedure. In fact, it’s been approved by the FDA since 2002 and carries no greater risk than your standard contact lens. There are small risks, like infection, if the lenses are not properly disinfected or treated as recommended by the optometrist. But this is the same sort of risk as not taking care of regular contact lenses.
If you’re interested in correcting these vision deficiencies, consult a trusted optometrist who is experienced in advanced optometry techniques. When you begin treatment, the medical professional will do a host of tests, including mapping the cornea and checking for health indicators of the eye. Trained professionals will use this data to identify if you are a candidate for the lenses and will instruct you on the proper course of treatment for your individual vision needs. In addition, it’s important to find a provider that you’re comfortable with because the treatment will require follow up and progress visits. Eyelux Optometry in San Diego focuses on full eye health and well-being with professional eye exams, digital retinal imaging, and compassionate care. In fact, many other optometrists in San Diego refer their patients to Eyelux Optometry for complex vision issues like Keratoconus or simple treatments like orthokeratology. Learn more with a guide to corneal refractive therapy and consult Eyelux Optometry today for your vision needs.