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Orthokeratology Side Effects

Most Ortho-K Side Effects are Minor and Can be Avoided by Following Instructions from Your Optometrist

Are you considering orthokeratology to improve your vision? It is an increasingly popular procedure in vision-shaping treatment, but have you considered the side effects of orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology has both short-term and long-term implications for eye health. Before exploring the potential orthokeratology side effects, it is crucial to understand the short-term and long-term impacts on eye health.

What potential risks are associated with orthokeratology and what should one consider before undergoing this type of procedure?

Overview of Orthokeratology

Orthokeratology (and corneal reshaping therapy) is a non-surgical procedure to correct nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism.

The process involves wearing specially designed rigid gas-permeable contact lenses while sleeping that gently reshape the cornea’s curvature over time. By wearing this special rigid gas-permeable contact lens while sleeping, the cornea’s curvature can be altered over time, which may result in no longer needing to wear eyeglasses or contacts during waking hours.

Ortho-K lenses Provide Better Vision by Reshaping Your Eyes at Night While You’re Asleep

What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology is an FDA-approved method of vision correction and myopia control that uses specialized contact lens wear or retainer lens to temporarily change the shape of your cornea overnight while you sleep. Also according to the Food and Drug Administration requirements, all eye care professionals must be properly trained and certified prior to using overnight orthokeratology lenses in their practice.

In an eye exam, some popular methods for non-invasive procedures are ortho K, paragon CRT and corneal refractive therapy. These procedures help in vision-shaping during nighttime and while sleeping.

By reshaping the cornea overnight, orthokeratology can reduce refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, allowing you to enjoy clear vision without wearing glasses or contacts during daytime activities.

Benefits of Orthokeratology

One significant benefit of orthokeratology is improved visual acuity with no need for corrective eyewear during daily activities. Most popular with retainer lenses, ortho k lenses, paragon CRT, and corneal refractive therapy, the procedure is like getting a pair of “invisible” glasses.

Reversibility is a key feature of ortho-k; if you choose to end the treatment, your eyes will return to their original condition within usually just a few days. It does not involve surgery, so fewer risks are associated with this type of vision correction than laser eye surgery procedures such as LASIK and PRK, which require more invasive techniques.

Using an ortho k lens, or paragon CRT has been proven effective at slowing down myopia progression in children at risk for developing severe levels later in life. The severity may be due to genetic factors or environmental influences like extended screen time use without adequate breaks throughout the day.

Orthokeratology is a promising alternative to glasses and contact lens wear in eye exams, but it carries risks. Consequently, it is essential to be aware of the potential adverse effects of orthokeratology to decide whether this treatment solution suits you.

Common Side Effects of Orthokeratology

Although orthokeratology offers numerous advantages to those with nearsightedness and astigmatism, it may also cause certain adverse effects. Potential risks linked to orthokeratology may include eye irritation, dryness, blurred vision and even corneal infection or scarring.

Eye Irritation and Discomfort:

One of the most common orthokeratology side effects is eye irritation or discomfort. It can range from mild redness to more severe pain or itching in the treated area. It is important to note that this type of discomfort in using ortho k lenses usually subsides within a few days after the treatment has been completed.

If there is any ongoing soreness or puffiness in the eyes after orthokeratology, getting medical help quickly for an eye exam is recommended.

Dry Eyes and Blurred Vision

Other possible orthokeratology side effects are dry eyes and blurred vision. It is due to temporary changes in tear production during the healing process following treatment.

To minimize this risk, the patients must follow their doctor’s instructions carefully when using lubricating drops in retainer lenses or ortho k lenses. Usually, the lubricating drops should be applied before bedtime each night and for several weeks following their procedure.

Moreover, arranging frequent visits with an eye doctor during this period is essential to address any dryness-related problems quickly if needed.

To reduce the risk of developing a corneal infection or scarring while undergoing Ortho-K therapy or corneal refractive therapy, the patient must adhere strictly to all pre-treatment guidelines set forth by the eye doctor, such as avoiding contact lens wear for at least two weeks prior.

Long-Term Side Effects of Orthokeratology

Though it can be advantageous, this technique may bring possible adverse effects. Here are the following long-term orthokeratology side effects on eye health in more detail.

Long-term outcomes of orthokeratology may involve very minor alterations in the cornea’s curvature and myopia control, potentially impacting vision acuity eventually.

The reshaping of the cornea caused by retainer lenses or ortho k lenses may cause lasting – although minor – alterations to its curvature. Sometimes, these changes can be severe enough to require further vision correction treatments such as laser eye surgery or glasses.

Other potential risks linked to orthokeratology are similar to the side effects that a patient may experience wearing traditional contact lenses. This may include a decline in visual sharpness due to extended use of lens wear.

If not fitted properly and monitored regularly by an experienced professional, there is a risk that patients could experience blurred vision or other problems related to their eyesight after extended periods of wearing contacts for orthokeratology purposes.

How to Minimize the Risk of Side Effects from Orthokeratology

When minimizing the risk of orthokeratology side effects, following your doctor’s instructions carefully is paramount.

  1. Ensure you understand exactly what they tell you and follow their advice precisely. Be sure to ask questions if something needs to be clarified or if there is any doubt in your mind.
  2. Ensure the procedure is carried out with minimal hitches and problems by questioning anything unclear.
  3. Monitoring your vision regularly after undergoing orthokeratology can also be beneficial in identifying any potential issues early on.
  4. Have regular check-ups with an eye doctor to make sure all is going as expected and that no negative results have resulted from the orthokeratology.
  5. If vision changes occur after using ortho k lenses, such as blurred vision or dry eyes, seek medical attention immediately for further evaluation and treatment if necessary.
  6. If any unexpected signs or symptoms appear during or after orthokeratology, it is essential to seek medical help promptly for the eye exam. Correct diagnosis and suitable action should be taken quickly before the condition deteriorates.
  7. Any unusual symptoms experienced should be immediately brought to the attention of a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  8. By following your doctor’s instructions carefully, monitoring your vision regularly and seeking immediate medical attention if necessary, you can minimize the risk of orthokeratology side effects.

For a safe and successful vision shaping treatment, it is imperative to weigh the potential risks associated with orthokeratology before deciding if it is appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have questions regarding the side effects of orthokeratology, read the following section:

What are the harmful effects of orthokeratology?

Despite its potential benefits, orthokeratology may have some adverse effects on eye health associated with it. These include dry eyes, eye irritation or infection due to improper lens wear, increased sensitivity to light and glare, and blurred vision during the day when not wearing the lenses.

In some unusual instances, orthokeratology can lead to enduring minor modifications in the cornea, which could result in diminished visual clarity or other dangerous consequences such as keratoconus.

Nevertheless, it is crucial for anyone considering this treatment option to discuss any risks involved with an eye doctor before proceeding.

What are the long-term side effects of orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology long-term effects still need to be discovered due to a lack of extensive research. However, some known long-term side effects carry potential risks such as infection, corneal abrasion or scarring, reduced tear production and irritation from the lens material itself.

Therefore, it is essential for those considering orthokeratology to carefully weigh the potential risks with their eye care provider before deciding on vision shaping treatment.

What are the disadvantages of ortho-k?

Potential drawbacks may exist with this vision-shaping treatment, such as the following:

  • Dry eyes
  • Discomfort from wearing lenses overnight
  • Risk of infection due to inadequate cleaning of lenses,
  • Increased light sensitivity during the day
  • Blurred vision when not in use
  • Difficulty adapting to having something on your eyes while sleeping at night, and
  • Increasing cost for new ortho k lenses designs every year or two depending on changes in prescription strength.

Additionally, the results of ortho-K may aren’t permanent and could require further treatments or adjustments to maintain optimal vision.

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Dr. Laura Knapp

I’ve been in the field of optometry for over 20 years and my passion is providing the highest pediatric and adult optometric care. Here at PressVision, we make extensive use of Vision Therapy to help our patients with eye coordination difficulties.

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