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Are Ortho-K Lenses Safe

Ortho-K and Eye Safety | Are Ortho-K Lenses Safe For You

In recent years, Orthokeratology, commonly known as Ortho-K, has gained popularity as a non-surgical alternative for vision correction. This revolutionary treatment involves the use of specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses worn overnight to reshape the cornea and provide clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses. But with any new technology, safety concerns arise. Are Ortho-K lenses safe? Let’s delve into the facts and explore the safety and efficacy of this cutting-edge treatment.

History of Ortho-K

Ortho-K lenses have been successfully used for nearly three decades, primarily to correct myopia (nearsightedness). The process involves wearing the lenses overnight, allowing the lenses to gently reshape the cornea to refocus light properly onto the retina, resulting in clear vision during the day. This temporary corneal reshaping effect can last up to 48 hours, and therefore, many individuals only need to wear the lenses every other night to maintain optimal visual acuity.

One of the most important factors in assessing the safety of any medical intervention is to understand the potential risks and common side effects. With Ortho-K lenses, it is essential to consider the potential risks associated with wearing contact lenses overnight, the corneal reshaping process, and the hygiene practices involved.

Risk of Infection

Firstly, wearing contact lenses overnight can increase the risk of eye infections. However, the gas permeability of Ortho-K lenses allows for better oxygen flow to the cornea compared to traditional contact lenses. This increased oxygen permeability reduces the risk of corneal infections associated with extended wear contact lenses. Additionally, strict hygiene practices, such as proper lens cleaning and disinfection, can further minimize the risk of infections.

Cornea Damage Risk

Secondly, the corneal reshaping process itself might pose some risks. The cornea is a delicate structure, and any procedure involving manipulation or reshaping can carry risks. However, extensive research and clinical studies have shown that Ortho-K lenses are generally safe when prescribed and fitted by a qualified eye care professional. These professionals undergo specialized training and have expertise in the fitting and monitoring of Ortho-K lenses to ensure optimal safety and efficacy.

How to Mitigate Risk When Using Ortho-K

Studies have demonstrated that the risk of serious complications with Ortho-K lenses, such as corneal ulcer or neovascularization, is extremely low. However, it is important to note that minor side effects such as blurred vision, halos, glare, mild discomfort, or dry eyes may occur initially but typically resolve within a few weeks as the eyes adjust to the lenses. Regular check-ups with an eye care professional during the adaptation period are crucial to monitor the progress and address any concerns.

Moreover, the age of the wearer is an important factor to consider when evaluating the safety of Ortho-K lenses. The FDA has approved Ortho-K lenses for individuals aged 8 and above. However, it is critical to understand that children and adolescents are more susceptible to infections due to their developing immune systems and higher likelihood of poor hygiene practices. Therefore, it is crucial for parents to ensure that their children follow strict hygiene protocols when using Ortho-K lenses and adhere to regular check-ups.

What To Do After Noticing Issues

Additionally, it is worth noting that Ortho-K is reversible. If any discomfort, complications, or dissatisfaction arise, simply discontinuing lens wear will allow the cornea to return to its original shape within a few weeks. This reversibility further adds to the safety profile of Ortho-K lenses.

While Ortho-K is generally safe and effective, it is essential to remember that individual factors and pre-existing eye conditions can impact safety. Individuals with underlying ocular health issues, severe dry eye, or a history of corneal diseases might not be suitable candidates for Ortho-K lenses. Proper evaluation and thorough discussion with a qualified eye care professional are crucial to determine if Ortho-K is the right option for each individual.

How Michigan Contact Lens Can Help With Your Ortho-K Fitting

In conclusion, Ortho-K lenses have demonstrated a high level of safety when prescribed and fitted by Dr. Shira Kresch at Michigan Contact Lens. The risk of serious complications is extremely low, and any potential minor side effects tend to resolve as the eyes adapt to the lenses. Strict hygiene practices and regular check-ups are essential to ensure optimal safety and efficacy. Although not suitable for everyone, Ortho-K lenses offer a non-surgical alternative for vision correction, providing clear and unaided vision during the day. By understanding the potential risks, benefits, and suitability for each individual, Ortho-K lenses can be a safe and effective option for many individuals seeking freedom from glasses or daytime contact lenses.

Michigan Contact Lens Specialists

If you’re in need of a specialty contact lens or have been having a hard time getting fitted with soft contact lenses, call MCL today!