Ortho-K goes by many names. Among them are:
AOK - Accelerated Orthokeratology
Ortho-K involves wearing a series of specially designed rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contact lenses to flatten and reshape the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye. The change in corneal curvature helps to bend incoming light rays so they focus more precisely on the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in clearer distance vision.
This approach to corneal modification for treating nearsightedness was initially developed by optometrists during the 1960's using standard hard contact lenses. Advances in lens materials, design and fitting techniques have improved the effectiveness of the procedure and reduced the amount of time needed to bring about changes in the cornea. Studies have shown that the procedure is safe and effective in reducing low to moderate amounts of nearsightedness and low amounts of astigmatism. However, the results are not permanent. Thus, retainer contact lenses must generally be worn several hours each day to maintain improvements made in vision.
For some people, Ortho-K may offer an alternative to radial keratotomy (RK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), both surgical procedures used for correction of nearsightedness and astigmatism. It provides an option for those who desire unaided clear vision for significant periods for occupational or recreational activities, such as firefighters, law enforcement officers, swimmers and other athletes.
Not everyone can benefit from orthokeratology. People who want to consider this procedure to reduce their dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses should consult with a contact lens practitioner skilled in providing this treatment.
- Information provided by the American Optometric Association -