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Ortho-K: The Pros & Cons

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A woman holding an Ortho-K lens between her fingers

Today, there are many ways to correct vision for people of all ages. This includes specialty contact lenses like ortho-k that are often used to help manage myopia and provide clear sight for those with corneal irregularities.

We’re here to let you in on a secret: the truth is, adults and children feel amazing about wearing Sleep Shaping Molds, or orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses. In fact, it’s how I correct my vision. The lens shapes my eyes while I sleep, and nothing needed during the day.  

Contact lenses are medical devices that are prescribed by your optometrist, and, as with everything in the medical industry, there are pros and cons to whether or not these lenses are best for you.

What are Sleep Shaping Molds?

The simplest definition of sleep-shaping molds is this: they are contact lens-like devices that reshape your eyes while you sleep.

It’s a very gentle process of reshaping your eyes during the night, so when you wake up, and remove the molds in the morning, you experience glasses and contact lens free clearer vision throughout the day.

A Custom Design for Your Unique Eyes

Sleep-shaping molds are custom designed for your eyes. Because each person’s corneal shape is unique to them, it’s important to have contact lenses that fit and correct your vision.

Overnight, the sleep-shaping molds gently reshape the outer surface of your eyes, so when you wake up in the morning and remove the molds, you have clearer vision. The process works similarly to refractive corrective surgery, like LASIK, except when your cornea is corrected with a laser the effects are permanent. If you stop wearing overnight sleep-shaping molds, your eyes will return to their previous shape.

The Slightest Change Produces Big Results

If your eyes are misshapen even the slightest, it can result in blurry vision. Ortho-k lenses and sleep-shaping molds alter the shape of your eye by less than 25% of the thickness of one hair.

That’s right. Nearsighted adults and kids can benefit from reshaping their eyes just a quarter of a hair’s thickness with custom computer-generated designed lenses so that they can see clearly throughout the day.

A woman holding an Ortho-K lens on her index finger

The Many Benefits of Sleep-Shaping Molds

If you struggle with finding comfortable lenses to wear in the daytime, you may be the perfect candidate for ortho-k sleep-shaping molds. Children and adults alike enjoy the benefits these contact lenses offer.

If you struggle with dry eyes, daytime contact lenses may feel scratchy and uncomfortable. If you struggle with comfort, a comprehensive eye exam may be able to determine the cause of your contact lens discomfort.  And ortho-k Sleep Shaping Molds may be an ideal solution to help you with glasses-free vision.

It is entirely possible that overnight sleep-shaping molds may be the key to your daytime vision comfort.

Sleep-Shaping Molds for Children

One group that benefits the most from sleep-shaping molds is children. While kids are young, their eyes are continually growing. Myopia is a common condition that becomes prevalent in early childhood, and it can progress into adulthood, causing blurry distance vision.  We are seeing more and more myopia at younger ages. In fact, the prevalence of myopia has gone from around 25% to over 40% of the population. As myopia (nearsightedness) increases, the eye size grows and stretches increasing the risks of vision loss as we age.  

Ortho-k lenses can gently reshape their eyes while they sleep, allowing them to see the board better in class, and participate more safely and effectively in play.  And the long-term benefit, they have been shown to slow the elongation (axial length) of the eye and thus reduce risks of vision problems as kids age.  

Other benefits children experience when using sleep-shaping molds include:

  • Not having to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day
  • Naturally slows the progression of myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Great vision without lenses for playing sports or being active

If you or your child decides to stop wearing sleep-shaping molds, the effects can be reversed at any time.

Here’s the Catch

Ortho-k sleep-shaping molds are a wonderful option for adults and kids who want to see clearer during the day without the help of corrective lenses. 

It Takes Time

Because these lenses are custom-made, they do take a few days to a week to create. First, you will need to complete a fitting process, where your optometrist will take certain measurements of your eyes. Then, your doctor will work to create a custom sleep shaping mold with a specialized lab. 

This process tends to take a little more time than fitting for soft contact lenses.

Handle With Care

These lenses are designed to last an entire year, so it’s important that you take care of them and clean them properly to ensure they hold up to the test of time and continue to help improve your eyesight. Should anything happen, Specialty Eye has you covered. We offer a warranty to ensure you get replacement lenses right away, so you have little downtime and your eye retains its new shape.

Your Eye Care Is in Safe Hands

Sleep-shaping molds are an excellent way to achieve clearer vision throughout the day. The optometrists at Specialty Eye are recognized across the United States for their knowledge and practice in using ortho-k sleep-shaping molds to manage patients with myopia

The eye doctors at Specialty Eye have been fitting sleep-shaping molds for more than 18 years. Talk to our team today about how we can help improve your vision with the help of these specialty contact lenses.

Written by Dr. David Kading

Dr. Kading is active in various dry eye, contact lens, and contact lens solution research studies, and is a consultant and key opinion leader for several eye care manufacturers. He writes articles and has performed hundreds of lectures nationally and internationally on the topics of keratoconus, irregular corneas, dry eye, anterior segment disease, contact lenses, contact lens solutions, and practice management.

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