Orthokeratology, or ortho-k, is the use of specially designed and fitted contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea to improve vision. It’s like orthodontics for your eyes and the treatment is often compared to dental braces. Most ortho-k lenses are worn at night to reshape the front surface of the eye while you sleep. Vision improvements are reversible but can be maintained if you keep wearing the lenses as directed.
Ortho-k is mainly used to correct near-sightedness (myopia). This vision problem can also usually be corrected by eye glasses, regular contact lenses, LASIK or PRK. Orthokeratology is a surgery-free way for some people to leave their glasses behind and not have to wear contact lenses all the time.
Ortho-k is sometimes recommended to correct children’s vision. Vision can continue to change for some children into adulthood and their 20’s. Vision correction surgeries like LASIK are not recommended until vision is stable. There is no firm evidence that ortho-k can slow down the progression of myopia in children, but this is also being studied as a possibility.
A typical low vision evaluation involves a functional assessment including a low vision refraction to find out the problem and its extent. Once the impairment is identified, suitable vision aids such as magnifiers, telescopes and other appropriate assistive technologies are prescribed to maximize the patient’s vision. The patient is then gradually trained on how to use the low vision aids to conduct various daily activities. In addition, visual skills training such as eccentric viewing, blindness skills and referrals to comprehensive blind rehabilitation centers are provided.
Who is most at risk of having low vision?
Anyone can be affected by low vision because it results from a variety of conditions and injuries. Because of age-related disorders like macular degeneration and glaucoma, low vision is more common in adults over age 45 and even more common in adults over age 75. For example, one in six adults over age 45 has low vision; one in four adults over age 75 has low vision.
The most common types of low vision include:
What causes low vision?
There may be one or more causes of low vision. These are usually the result of disorders or injuries affecting the eye or a disorder such as diabetes that affects the entire body. Some of the most common causes of low vision include age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, and glaucoma. Low vision may also result from cancer of the eye, albinism, brain injury, or inherited disorders of the eye including retinitis pigmentosa. If you have these disorders or are at risk for them, you are also at greater risk for low vision.