Ortho-k Lenses Review:
Why it’s The Best Myopia Cure for Kids, Teens and Adults
Myopia is the most common eye focusing disorder in the world.
Also known as nearsightedness, it is a refractive error wherein the eye does not bend or refract light properly.
How does myopia happen?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), when our eyes focus on images, it relies on the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, and the crystalline lens, a clear structure inside the eye that changes shape so we can focus on objects. Normally, these two parts have a smooth curvature that allows them to bend or refract incoming light.
When the eyeball is elongated or the cornea is too curved, the light entering the eye is not focused clearly. Instead, the “light rays of images” focus in front of the retina, which is light-sensitive, rather than on the retina itself. This is what causes the blurred distance vision.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) estimates that 30 percent of the U.S. population is affected by myopia. The National Eye Institute projects that by year 2030, almost 40 million will be myopic.
Myopia typically first occurs in school-age children and progresses into adulthood.
The aggravating factors can include visual stress, poor eye care habits and health conditions such as diabetes.
How is it treated?
There are different options for myopia cure.
The most common option is the use of prescription glasses. Prescription glasses are glasses with corrective prescription, assigned by an optometrist, built into the lens. They are mostly prescribed to people with refractive errors such as myopia.
What are the advantages of prescription glasses?
For one, prescription glasses, especially the polarized type, can, not only improve vision and enhance depth perception and color contrast, but can also help minimize glare and protect the eyes from harmful UV rays.
Eyeglasses also provide eye protection from other irritants such as dirt, dust, debris and pollen. They are easy to wear, and consequently, also easy to remove. Because it physically blocks the eye, it minimizes hand contact to the eyes, and thus reduces the risk of infection or irritation. They are also, generally, more comfortable for prolonged use.
On the downside, however, wearing eyeglasses can affect peripheral vision.It can also temporarily obstruct or blur vision when they fog up during cold weather or when there is precipitation.
Another common myopia cure option is surgery, particularly LASIK or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.
According to the vision resource website All About Vision, the goal of a LASIK procedure is to reshape the cornea so light entering the eye can properly focus onto the retina, thus allowing the eye to see distant objects clearly.
What are the advantages of LASIK?
If done correctly and with a certified professional, LASIK has a good track record and has been proven to correct vision in most cases. Most patients tend to no longer need corrective lens or eyewear after LASIK. The procedure itself is relatively fast and ‘painless.’ There is little downtime as compared to non-laser surgeries.
It can also offer ‘immediate’ vision improvement. For people long suffering from myopia, the convenience of not having to fumble for glasses in the morning, not having to wear contact lenses before starting the day or doing physical activities (like swimming or biking) without any interference can spell a huge amount of convenience and confidence.
Of course, like any other surgical treatment, LASIK comes with risks and downsides.
If the laser removes too little or too much corneal tissue, improved vision will not be achieved. It may even result in astigmatism. In fact, LASIK cannot guarantee 20/20 vision. The ‘best vision’ is the highest degree of vision achieved while wearing contacts or eye glasses. Reading glasses may still be needed once you reach 40s because of natural age-related loss of near vision (aka presbyopia).
Vision disturbances can also happen post-surgery. These include difficulty seeing at night, seeing glare or halos around bright lights or double vision.
If not done correctly, the process of removing the flap from the front of the eye can cause complications such as infection or excess tears. It is also important to remember that changes done to the cornea during LASIK are irreversible. Cost-wise, it is also quite steep. LASIK can cost at least $2,000 per eye.
For children with myopia, eye drops are also an option. The Singapore National Eye Centre cites low dose atropine for slowing down the progression, with little to no side effects, by 50 to 60 percent over a two-year period. Topical atropine is used to dilate the pupil and relax the eyes’ focusing mechanism.
A fast-growing widely accepted and expertly recommended myopia cure that is recently gaining traction is Orthokeratology or Ortho-k.
What is Ortho-k?
Ortho-k refers to the non-surgical process of using special contact lenses that are designed to reshape the curvature of the eyes while a person is sleeping. Also called cornea reshaping or overnight vision correction, this scientific technology works by changing how light is focused on the retina which is located at the back of the eye. It is a safe and reversible procedure, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002.
When the wearer wakes up, the difference will be immediately experienced—clearer and sharper natural vision, without the need to wear prescription glasses or regular corrective lenses for the rest of the day.
Ortho-k lenses are tailor fit to the wearer’s eyes, and are gas permeable because they are meant to be worn overnight.
How are Ortho-k lenses made?
First, the eye of the patient is first mapped using an instrument called a topographer. This allows the doctor to create lens that match the eye’s unique shape and address its unique problems. The actual lenses are made from an “advanced highly oxygen permeable” material so that it is safe to wear at night, allowing the eyes to breathe overnight. Each lens has several specialized curves and a tear film underneath that continuously flows across the corneal surface. These components are responsible for reshaping the cornea.
Who can be fitted with Ortho-k lenses?
Before undergoing Ortho-k, the doctor will perform some tests to determine if you are qualified for this treatment option. Essentially, the goal of the test is to assess the health of your eyes.
The British Contact Lens Association cited the European Academy of Orthokeratology in saying that Ortho-k “works best for people who have up to about -6.00D of myopia with no more than -1.75D of astigmatism.”
Generally, Ortho-k is safe for people of all ages with healthy eyes. It is a great alternative for myopic children who are too young for LASIK or who want to escape the inconveniences of regular lenses or prescription glasses.
What are the advantages of Ortho-k?
For starters, it eliminates the need to wear prescription glasses or regular contact lenses during the day, thus making it easier to do some activities such as water or contact sports. As such, it addresses some of the disadvantages of using prescription glasses or regular lenses, such as fogging during cold weather or irritation and dry eyes caused by lenses. In comparison to laser eye surgery, Ortho-k is less invasive and reversible.
Ortho-k is modifiable as the eyes change and progress, and it is relatively pain-free and safe, particularly for children.
Some studies even show that, when properly used and constantly monitored by a professional, it can arrest the progression of myopia.
Some Ortho-k lenses side effects may include minor infections, but these are easily and quickly addressed by antibiotic drops and greatly reduced by careful cleaning and proper disinfecting. First time wearers may also initially find it challenging to adjust to using Ortho-k lenses. The results will definitely vary for each patient, and for some, the desired results may be longer than expected. This is why, with Ortho-k, regular consultation and strict compliance are key aspects to achieving the desired results.
How much do Ortho-k lenses cost?
All About Vision notes that the cost can vary significantly, depending on the doctor’s level of expertise, time required from consultation to creation of lenses and the actual cost of the lenses. The location of the clinic can also affect the cost of the procedure. Generally, in the U.S., Ortho-k lenses cost from $1,000 to $2,000 for both yes. More specialized or difficult cases can cost twice as much.
Additional costs for lenses replacement, lens care solutions and follow-up exams should also be factored in.
What are they saying about Ortho-k?
It is easy to see why more parents are choosing Ortho-k lenses for their nearsighted children.
Ortho-k lenses reviews have been generally positive. In the Review of Optometry website, a two-year study called Corneal Reshaping and Yearly Observation of Myopia (CRAYON) found that myopes who were fitted with Ortho-k lenses “experienced significantly less annual change in axial length and vitreous chamber depth than patients fitted with soft contact lenses. These results confirmed data from previous studies by showing that Ortho-k lenses slow the progression of corneal changes in myopic patients.”
MyopiaPrevention.org further notes that Ortho-k lenses have been “shown to slow myopic progression the most” among all myopia optical solutions that were studied in the controlled clinical trials which reported that Ortho-k slowed myopia by at least 55 percent.
What’s a safe and reliable brand of Ortho-k lenses?
Invisalens is an eye care brand developed by Arizona’s Vision chief eye care specialist and one of the state’s most trusted eye professionals Dr. Mark Page. It is a known and trusted brand of custom designed eye retainers that are proven safe and effective for managing myopia in the long-term, especially among children.
Myopia prevention is paramount because if unchecked, myopia can cause further and worse eye complications such as retinal detachment, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Invisalens was designed to help parents of myopic children fight the progressively debilitating effects of myopia which can affect their academic performance, extra-curricular interests such as sports, and their overall passion for life. It aims to empower parents, kids and families in the fight against myopia which continues to be a threat to the vision of many young people around the world.
Ortho-k is testament to the benefits of advancements in medical technology. Today, people with myopia can look forward to treatment options that are accessible, safe, effective and long-lasting. Read up, research and consult with a certified eye care professional to find out more about how Ortho-k lenses can help restore clear distance vision.
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