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In the US, myopia, or nearsightedness, is so common that it affects 25% or more of the population over their lifetimes. Hyperopia or farsightedness affects nearly 10%. Glasses, daytime contact lenses, and surgery are all common treatments for myopia and hyperopia, but they are not the answer for everyone. Ortho-K or orthokeratology is becoming an increasingly popular and widely available treatment for these vision disorders.
Ortho-K has been around since the 1960's. In recent years, due to the development of better technology, it has become easier to use, more predictable, and more cost effective for an eye doctor to offer.
Ortho-K is a technique that uses the rigidity of gas permeable contact lenses, combined with a specially designed shape, to gently coax the cornea of the eye into a more efficient shape. These lenses are worn overnight while the patient is sleeping. Over time, this allows the cornea shape to properly focus light through the eye onto the retina, allowing for good vision. This process takes about 30 days, and as little as one set of contact lenses to take full effect. Multiple lenses may be necessary for patients who need a more dramatic change in cornea shape. A change in eyesight is often noticed in as little as one night but should be noticed within a few days. One advantage of Ortho-K treatment is that the change in cornea shape is reversible. When use of the contact lenses is discontinued, the cornea returns to its former shape within 30 to 90 days. This can help patients get a feel for the treatment without committing to anything long-term.
Care must be taken in the initial fitting of the lenses. While scans help the eye doctor to make the initial fitting, the lenses should lightly compress the cornea, not squeeze it. To prevent problems, the eye doctor may ask for additional visits as it is appropriate to the patient. The special geometry of the lenses, the four (or more) curves, known as zones, provide the support and guidance to the corneas, keeping some of it in place, and shifting other parts. The eye doctor monitors these shifts to keep things as comfortable and healthy for the eyes as possible.
St. Johnsbury, Lancaster, and Montpelier Optometrist practice Shippee Family Eyecare offers exceptional service. Our team of optometrists and staff take great pride in providing affordable adult and pediatric comprehensive eye care and treatment options. Ortho-K is one of many service options that we offer. Please feel free to contact one of our office locations at with any questions regarding Ortho-K, our optometrists and optical staff are happy to help.