As a patient with vision problems, you probably heartily embrace the idea of vision correction surgery so you no longer have to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. After having a PRK or Lasik surgery consultation, you may learn you’re not a good candidate for either operation. This is most likely the case if you suffer from thin corneas, untreated cataracts, diabetes, certain autoimmune diseases or a corneal disease called keratoconus.
If this describes your situation, don’t fret – here at Andrew Stone Optometry in Columbia MO, we offer an alternative to vision correction surgery called orthokeratology, or Ortho-K.
What is Ortho-K?
The advanced corneal reshaping technique known as Ortho-K is a non-surgical technique that changes the way your cornea refracts light. To understand Ortho-K, you must first learn how the cornea works.
The cornea is a transparent, spherical bulge that sits over the lens of your eye. In addition to protecting the inner parts of your eye, the cornea refracts or bends incoming light so the lens can focus the light into a clear, sharp image before passing on to the retina, optic nerve and ultimately the brain.
Your cornea can become deformed, causing incorrect light refraction and producing the fuzzy images characteristic of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Glasses and contact lens are curved to “pre-refract” incoming light and compensate for your personal degree of corneal deformation.
Laser surgery corrects the shape of the cornea itself, eliminating most or all of the visual errors that require corrective lenses. If this isn’t an option for your, or you prefer to avoid surgery, you can temporarily correct your vision by wearing Ortho-K lenses while you sleep.
How Does Ortho-K Work?
Our optometrist, Dr. Andrew Stone, maps the shape of your corneas precisely and then fabricates special Ortho-K contact lenses. Unlike standard contacts, you wear these at night, giving them a chance to subtly reshape your corneas as you sleep. Take out the lenses in the morning and enjoy perfect or near-perfect vision for one or two days at a time, or possibly even longer!
As long as you continue to wear your Ortho-K contact lenses at night as needed, you can maintain your clarity of vision with no need to wear glasses or contacts during the day. If you decide to pursue another form of vision correction later on, simply stop wearing the Ortho-K lenses and your corneas will assume their previous shape once again.
Benefits of Ortho-K
If you don’t qualify for Lasik, cringe at the idea of having eye surgery, or want a reversible procedure, Ortho-K could be perfect for you. It frees you from the need to wear corrective lenses during the day, but it doesn’t have the high cost or permanence of surgery.