Non-LASIK Vision Correction
Many adults would like to be able to see clearly but don’t want to take the risks associated with LASIK or other surgical procedures. Many children become more nearsighted each year, and the most common suggestion by doctors is to simply increase the eyeglass prescription. In addition to glasses, contact lenses, and laser vision correction, there is another option. Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is the design and fitting of special lenses that gently reshape the clear front surface of the eye (cornea), while you sleep, so you can see clearly even after you remove the lenses. Ortho-k, like LASIK, reshapes the cornea so light entering the eye is more accurately focused onto the retina, the back of the eye.
Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates medical devices, including contact lenses, in the United States. Ortho-K is approved for both children and adults, and helps people that are nearsighted, farsighted, and astigmatic. It can also help people that have difficulty seeing at near and need bifocals or progressives. These specially designed lenses are worn while sleeping and are removed when you get up. You can then see clearly all day without having to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Ortho-K actually began 50 years ago, in 1962, but many people have still not heard of it. Orthokeratology is like Orthodonture (braces) for the eyes. In the same way that not all dentists become orthodontists, not all eye doctors offer Ortho-K. Some eye doctors who specialize in contact lenses offer this non-surgical alternative to LASIK. It has actually existed longer than LASIK has. The lenses gently reshape the clear front surface of the eye (cornea), so you can see clearly even after you remove the lenses. The changes can be dramatic and most often improve your vision as quickly as the next day after beginning therapy.
Ortho-K holds particular appeal for people who participate in sports or who spend time on computer. It is desirable for people who need clear vision for their job such as policemen and pilots, or for people who work in dusty, dirty environments that can cause problems for regular contact lenses. Many individuals who wear soft contact lenses complain that their eyes feel dry and gritty, especially for those who work on computer. Ortho-K lenses are worn only at night so there is no soft lens in the eye to dry out!
Ortho-K is available for adolescents and teens, who are not eligible for LASIK. The incidence of myopia has been increasing and some suggestions as to why that is occurring include the amount of time children spend with videogames, cell phones, and doing schoolwork. Another factor is genetics, particularly when parents are very nearsighted. If your child’s eyeglass prescription is rapidly getting worse and you want to stop the progression, Ortho-K is particularly effective and has a safety record similar to those of regular contacts.
Dr. S. Moshe Roth, Optometric Physician, practices at Family Eye Care, in Old Bridge. He is Board Certified in Vision Development and Therapy. He sees patients of all ages, for treatment of eye diseases as well as for vision problems. He has prescribed Orthokeratology for over 20 years. Lic# 4635 OM# 27OM0005600. Dr. Roth is a popular speaker with parents and professional groups and may be reached at 1-732-679-2020.