Dr. Zargar Eyecare
86 Major MacKenzie Dr W Richmond Hill ON L4C3S2 (905) 883-8182
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The Pros & Cons of Ortho-k


The Pros & Cons of Ortho-k

Girl with hazel eyes holding contact lens with finger while looking at camera

Have you grown tired of wearing contact lenses or eyeglasses every day — week in, week out? Ortho-k might be the solution that works best for you. Ortho-k is a treatment procedure for myopia that uses special contact lenses to temporarily change the curvature and shape of your cornea. If you are curious about what ortho-k treatment can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact Zargar Eye Care to book an appointment for more information.

What is Ortho-k?

Ortho-k, or orthokeratology, is a treatment method that utilizes special contact lenses to correct and mitigate myopia. These contact lenses are specially designed and fitted to temporarily reshape the cornea to improve vision. The cornea is a clear, convex window in the front of your eye made from flexible tissue that focuses light onto the retina.

The majority of ortho-k contact lenses are to be worn at night while you sleep, meaning they won’t impede your vision in any way during the day. The results of ortho-k treatment can be reversible and the cornea can go back to its regular shape if the procedure is not followed diligently. The special contact lenses involved in this treatment need to be worn on a consistent schedule to achieve the desired results.

Ortho-k is an unobtrusive and non-surgical way to eliminate the need to wear glasses or contact lenses during daily life to counteract the effects of myopia. Myopia can also be treated with things like prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, LASIK surgery, and PRK surgery. 

What Are Rigid Gase Permeable Lenses?

Ortho-k uses special rigid gas-permeable lenses (RGP lenses) that temporarily change the curvature and shape of your cornea while you sleep. This helps mitigate the effects of myopia and allows you to gain clearer vision while you’re awake.

Some unique qualities of RGP lenses are:

  • They can provide vision correction for many different types of people with varying vision problems. These contact lenses might be most effective for you if you’ve tried soft contact lenses and they have not achieved the results you wanted, or if you have issues with your eyes drying out frequently.
  • They are more durable than soft contact lenses;  RGP lenses are usable and effective for a longer period of time on average when compared to soft contacts. RGP lenses also allow more oxygen to reach the cornea. 
  • Some types of RGP lenses can be worn for a week or even 30 days — they still need to be cleaned in regular intervals, though.

Adjusting to RGP lenses can take some time — a few days up to a few weeks is usually the range people become accustomed to wearing these special lenses. 

The Ortho-k Process

To begin your ortho-k treatment, your eye doctor will map and measure the surface of your cornea using a tool called a corneal topographer. This piece of equipment will allow your doctor to create and design a lens specifically for your eye. Once the corneal topographer creates the cornea map by reflecting light off of the surface of your eye, your eye doctor will be able to create your special RGP lens by having access to the intricate details of your cornea’s shape and curves.

The special RGP lenses used in ortho-k work by flattening the center of the cornea which changes how light is refracted as it enters the eye. As mentioned before, ortho-k lenses are typically only worn at night during sleep and are to be removed during the day. The special lenses used in ortho-k allow your eyes to be able to breathe at night and remain healthy while still retaining a rigid structure that is stiff enough to temporarily change the shape of your cornea.

When you remove your RGP lenses, your cornea will stay flat for a while and your vision will be corrected temporarily without the need to use any eyewear, prosthetic devices, or contact lenses. If you begin to slack on your consistency of wearing your ortho-k lenses, then your eyes will slowly revert to their myopic state.

Girl putting on ortho-k lenses while looking at self in mirror

Pros of Ortho-k

Some of the benefits of using ortho-k include:

  • You do not need to wear any eyeglasses or contact lenses during the day for vision correction.
  • RGP lenses are breathable, meaning that your eyes can get the oxygen they need while wearing these lenses.
  • No surgery is required to obtain optimal results from ortho-k.
  • RGP lenses last for a long time if you take care of them properly.

Cons of Ortho-k

While undergoing ortho-k treatment, keep in mind that:

  • Results from ortho-k are not permanent — you will have to remain diligent in maintaining a consistent routine of wearing your ortho-k lenses to achieve any results.
  • RGP lenses can be expensive compared to other solutions that also mitigate the effects of myopia.
  • It can take quite a while to adjust to wearing ortho-k lenses when you first start wearing them.
  • The fully encompassing ortho-k treatment can be expensive compared to other treatment methods — especially for a solution that is not permanent.
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