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Ortho K is Good for Athletes

In most sports precision and timing are critical in achieving top performance, Visual acuity is a critical requirement for playing and enjoying sports at all levels. For those athletes experiencing Myopia or nearsightedness, this can create a distinct competitive disadvantage. Wearing regular contact lenses or glasses is not always possible and in a lot of cases, they create distortions or distractions. Dr David Sweeney from Vision Source Insight Eyecare in Sandy Springs, GA has helped many athletes achieve peak performance with a treatment known as Ortho-K.

Myopia & Orthokeratology or Ortho-K

Often referred to as nearsightedness, Myopia occurs when the eyeball grows too long. The resulting refractive error occurs when light is no longer bent or refracted correctly by the eye and as a result, images become blurry when at a distance. Close-up focusing remains fine.
Orthokeratology is becoming an increasingly popular way to treat myopia, especially for budding athletes. OrthoK uses gas permeable contact lenses to gently reshape and gently flatten the cornea and reduce myopia only while the athlete sleeps. The lenses are worn only at night and the eye will retain this new shape for 20 hours. Vision improvement is temporary. If you stop using the lenses, your cornea goes back to its original shape, and myopia returns.

Ortho-K is Good for Athletes

Dr. Sweeney has witnessed many athletes who have undergone ortho-k treatment and achieved remarkable results. Ortho-K can:

  • Improve Vision and Boost Confidence
  • Alleviate the need for Laser Vision Correction such as LASIK or PRK
  • Free Athletes from cumbersome, bothersome and distracting eyewear
  • Reduce longer term vision problems should Myopia continue to develop and stretch the retina (inner lining of the eye).
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for Contact Lenses that can slide, slip or fall out.
  • Prove the best solution for sports requiring protective goggles or eyewear
  • Prove the best solution for sports that involve physical contact

Athletes who participate in the following sports should consider Orth-K:

  • Surfing, swimming, or Water sports
  • Soccer
  • Rugby
  • Archery
  • Boxing
  • Baseball or Softball
  • Basketball
  • Mountain Biking or Cycling
  • Shooting/Hunting
  • Diving
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Hockey
  • Martial arts
  • Motorcycle racing
  • Skiing or Snowboarding
  • Tennis
  • Wrestling.
  • Rock Climbing

Ortho-K vs Regular Contact Lenses

Regular contact lenses can work well for certain sports and are able to enhance vision acuity to enable peak performance. They can however, dry out or wash out with the addition of heat or sweat and thereby create foggy, blurry or fluctuating vision. Sand, dust or dirt can create soreness or abrasion and water splashes can cause the lens to move out of place.
Orthokeratology avoids most contact lens related problems as they are worn overnight in the comfort of your own home. Maintenance is far easier than conventional contact lenses, which drastically reduces the risk of contact lens overuse, eye irritation, or eye infection. Orthokeratology provides an ideal solution for all these issues.

Ortho-K vs LASIK Surgery

For younger athletes, LASIK is not a recommended treatment. Even though the vision improvements achieved by LASIK and Ortho-K are comparable, the FDA has approved LASIK eye surgery for those 18 years and older. Most eye doctors will recommend that patients wait until their prescriptions have stabilized and this occurs generally after the age of 21.

Ortho-K for Athletes Summary:

Orthokeratology was approved by the FDA in 2002. The popularity of the treatment is growing dramatically with the onset and increase in Myopia in this country’s youth and growing even faster in the athletic and sporting communities. Dr Sweeney at Vision Source Insight Eyecare has been treating Ortho-K patients since 2004 in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Buckhead and Atlanta.