If you have vision problems, you’ve probably wished there was an easy way to see perfectly. Maybe contacts didn’t work for you and you’re sick of losing or breaking your glasses. After all, it doesn’t seem fair that you can fix your teeth with braces but you just have to live with poor vision. What if we told you there were braces for your eyes? As orthodontia means “straighten teeth,” orthokeratology (the older parent name of overnight corneal reshaping) means to straighten corneas.
How Are OCR Like Braces for Your Eyes?
Braces work by applying steady pressure to reposition your teeth. Overnight Corneal Reshaping (OCR) is like braces for your eyes! OCR is a very precise reshaping of the surface of the eye (the cornea) to reduce or eliminate myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism. The change to the eye occurs rapidly through the use of specially fitted gas permeable contact lenses which are worn at night while we are sleeping.
How Does OCR Work?
One way to think of it is to visualize the eye as a soft water balloon of sorts: If you placed a gently fitted mold over the balloon, eventually the fluid would redistribute and redefine the surface shape. Likewise, as you sleep, the lenses exert a gentle pressure on the cornea to change the shape of the surface. The result is that you wake up in the morning, remove the OCR lenses, and can go about your day with 20/20 vision or better.
Much like how you may have had to wear a retainer after getting your braces off, OCR requires consistent wearing of the special oxygen permeable lenses. The technology behind OCR is highly advanced corneal scanning and topographical mapping. This noninvasive imaging is called corneal topography (photokeratoscopy/videokeratography). The lenses are designed using computer-aided design and computer-numeric controlled lathes to create your custom lenses.
Who Can Benefit From OCR?
Unlike other corrective procedures out there, OCR is used in patients of all ages. This is particularly beneficial for children who are old enough, and mature enough, to use contact lenses. It is not uncommon to work with children as young as six years old. Patients who elected not to undergo LASIK due to surgical risk, cost, or irreversibility may also benefit from OCR.