Top 5 Questions Parents May Have About Ortho-K Lenses for Their Children
Myopia is a rising concern in children. Also called near-sightedness, Myopia makes distant objects appear out of focus, and the condition can worsen over time without treatment. One of the most effective treatment options for managing myopia is orthokeratology.
We also refer to Ortho-K lenses as night lenses, dream lenses, and vision-shaping treatment. Some systems work differently, but the basic function of gently reshaping the cornea stays the same. Ortho-K lenses are an invaluable tool for treating and managing myopia in children.
Parents often have several important questions for the optometrist overseeing their child’s Ortho-K lenses. Here are the six most asked questions about our Orthokeratology treatment.
1. What Are Orthokeratology Lenses?
Ortho-K lenses are made using a rigid polymer that allows oxygen to pass through to the ocular surface. These hard, thin lenses are designed to be worn overnight to gradually reshape the cornea to give the wearer clearer vision during the day.
Ortho-K lenses work for many different prescriptions. When you visit our offices, we will complete a comprehensive eye exam to determine your child’s prescription and whether Ortho-K lenses are suitable for their specific condition.
School can also be especially challenging for children with Myopia due to text on distant whiteboards being impossible to decipher. Ortho-K lenses can make learning and playing easier for children because they won’t need glasses or contact lenses during the day so you won’t have to worry about them breaking or losing expensive glasses. Unobstructed vision will give your child the freedom to enjoy being young.
2. Can Ortho-K Lenses Slow Down the Progression of Myopia?
The main reason that many parents choose Ortho-K lenses is their ability to painlessly slow down the progression of Myopia in children. By slowing the development of myopia, you will lower your child’s risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment.
Orthokeratology can reduce the progression of myopia by roughly 50%. In some cases, we have had even better results. A possible prescription of -8.00 can be cut down to -4.00, which is a significantly better result for your child’s long-term vision and eye health.
Ortho-K lenses gradually reshapes the cornea, creating clear central vision but peripheral blur, which in turn minimizes the stimulation that causes the elongation of progressive myopia.
3. Are Ortho-K Lenses Safe for Children?
It’s essential to thoroughly wash your hands before handling the lenses and only use recommended solutions to clean them. The lenses are designed for nighttime wear only because they actively reshape the cornea overnight. If proper hygiene protocols are followed, the risk of infection with orthokeratology lenses is low.
Ortho-K lenses only need to be replaced every 12-18 months to achieve the best results. Their longevity also makes them a more affordable choice than glasses or soft contact lenses, which can often be a hindrance to children.
4. What Can My Child Expect from Ortho-K Lenses?
Preparing your child for their first experience with Ortho-K lenses can make the adjustment period easier. During their assessment we will perform a thorough eye exam to determine your child’s prescription and their candidancy for Orthokeratology.
The next step is to map out the corneal topography. This is an easy, non-invasive procedure in which we use cameras and light to create a visualization of the cornea. We then use this information to create custom-made lenses that are designed specifically for the unique shape of your child’s eyes.
When the lenses are ready, your child may experience mild discomfort, like having an eyelash in their eye. The sensation comes from their eyelids sliding over the Ortho-K lenses. Once they go to bed and close their eyes, there should no longer be a feeling of lens awareness. Explaining what this will feel like in advance can prevent potential distress.
After a few days to adjust to the lenses, there should be no more discomfort. Within the first few days, there should be a noticeable improvement in your child’s long-distance vision. Within the first two weeks of wearing Ortho-K lenses, their eyes should settle and feel comfortable looking at objects close and far away.
After a few months of consistent use, your child may even skip a day or two if needed. This can be especially helpful if they go away for a school camp or sleepover and are still too young to consistently care for their lenses without your help.
5. Why Don’t All Optometrists Use Ortho-K Lenses?
Utilizing Orthokeratology requires certain qualifications that not all eye care practitioners have. We also use specialized equipment to assess the eye and design the lenses.
Ortho-K lenses are customized for each individual, so they take more time and expertise to manufacture. We also schedule follow up visits with the same eye care practitionner to monitor your child’s progress.
Manage Your Child’s Progressive Myopia
Visit the Miami Contact Lens Institute to have your child evaluted for orthokeratology. Your eye care practitioner will provide all the information your child needs to wear and care for their new lenses properly. Help your child enjoy their childhood with the visual freedom they deserve.