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How Safe are Ortho-k Lenses?

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Thinking about orthokeratology in NYC? Learn more from our eye care experts

When orthokeratology, better known as ortho-k, was first introduced in the 1960s, the technique wasn’t regarded as highly successful. However, science has advanced by leaps and bounds since then – and the safety and efficacy of ortho-k has improved significantly. Unfortunately, many misconceptions that date back to the early days of orthokeratology are still circulating. Our eye care professionals are here to set the story straight with the facts about ortho-k in NYC.

What is orthokeratology?

Ortho-k is a method of vision correction that temporarily corrects myopia or astigmatism in adults or slows the progression of myopia in children. It involves wearing specialized, gas-permeable contact lenses while you sleep.

As you doze, the ortho-k lenses reshape your cornea, which is the clear part of your eye over your pupil. The cornea is responsible for refracting light back on to the retina, and an irregular cornea leads to blurry or double vision. Ortho-k treatment gently molds your cornea into a regular shape, and when you remove the lenses in the morning, your vision will be much sharper – eliminating the need to wear prescription glasses or contact lenses for nearsightedness.

Who gets orthokeratology?

In general, ortho-k is recommended for:

  • Patients who are not good candidates for LASIK
  • People who want vision correction for myopia, without eyeglasses or daytime contact lenses
  • Sufferers of dry eye and/or allergies who have trouble wearing regular contact lenses
  • Children and adults who are extremely active in sports
  • Children whose parents are interested in slowing their myopia progression

Are ortho-k fittings very complicated?

We regularly perform comprehensive fittings for orthokeratology in New York City. While the sessions may take longer than a regular contact lens fitting, the process is relatively simple and has a high success rate after the first attempt. In fact, by using advanced wavefront technology, we can map your eye’s corneal surface precisely and efficiently, ensuring a custom-tailored design that is safe and effective.

Is it safe to reshape the cornea with orthokeratology?

The FDA has declared that ortho-k lenses are safe for use by people of many ages, including young children and adults – as long as the specialized contact lenses are made from certain highly gas-permeable materials. The risks of ortho-k are very similar to the risks of wearing any type of contact lenses.

There is an old myth that ortho-k works by squishing your eyes. But presently, the modern, advanced ortho-k process is designed to use hydraulic forces and the eye’s natural fluids beneath the contact lenses – and not on the application of pressure to the cornea (which is what was done way back in the 1960s). Now, when you choose our optometry practice for orthokeratology in NYC, we optimize your eye safety by using the most advanced techniques possible.

What risks are associated with ortho-k?

Every year, about 1 million Americans visit their eye doctor for treatment for an eye infection. Wearing ortho-k lenses has been linked to an increased risk of bacterial and microbial eye infections. The primary cause of these infections is inadequate hygiene. In other words, a majority of eye infections from ortho-k occur because the wearer didn’t wash his or her hands properly or disinfect the contact lenses correctly. If you’re interested in ortho-k in NYC, we can’t stress enough how critical it is to keep your hands and contact lenses clean!

How do I know if orthokeratology is right for me?

This question can only be answered after a comprehensive eye exam performed by a qualified eye doctor. No treatment is right for every individual, and you need a professional evaluation to assess your candidacy for orthokeratology. Contact our eye care center to book a consultation for orthokeratology in NYC.