How Does Ortho-K Work?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, January 5, 2021

Ortho-k contact lenses gently reshape the focus of the eye to improve vision and control myopia progression. 

Nearly 30 percent of Americans suffer from myopia. 

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness and shortsightedness, is a refractive error that affects the ability to see distant images clearly.

Myopia occurs when light enters the eye and focuses in front of the retina, rather than directly on the retina.

If your child has myopia, contact an eye doctor near you, who can discuss the best options for myopia management.

SEE RELATED: Why Do Adults Choose Ortho-K?

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How does ortho-k correct vision?

Ortho-k lenses are designed to float on top of the eye’s tear film and apply gentle water-based (hydraulic) pressure to the front layer of the cornea, called the epithelium. 

The hydraulic pressure causes the cells of the epithelium to move from the center of the cornea to the periphery. This migration of corneal cells leads to a temporary reshaping of the cornea and correction of the refractive error.

Overnight vision correction

Ortho-k lenses are gas-permeable contact lenses that are designed to be worn overnight and removed in the morning.  After the ortho-k lenses are removed, improved vision is generally noticed for 24 to 72 hours.

Your eye doctor will inform you how often you will need to wear your ortho-k lenses— some patients require nightly wear, while others may only need to wear them every other night.

How does ortho-k control myopia progression?

Ortho-k has been proven to reduce the rate of myopia progression in children by up to 50 percent.

Conventional methods to correct myopia and improve distance vision include eyeglasses and contact lenses— though over time, many patients experience a gradual increase in their optical prescriptions with these traditional methods.

Studies show that although distance-only glasses and contact lenses improve vision clarity, they focus light onto the retina in a way that can actually increase the axial length of the eye— the primary cause of myopia progression.

In contrast, by reshaping the cornea for vision correction, ortho-k can help to reduce the rate of myopia progression.

As a result of its safety, efficacy, and convenience, ortho-k has become one of the most recommended methods for myopia management and vision correction.

LEARN MORE:  Guide to Myopia Management

Schedule an appointment with an optometrist to learn more about ortho-k and if you or your child can benefit from these lenses.