There are several options available to help manage the progression of myopia (nearsightedness). And if your optometrist recommends myopia-control contact lenses, you may notice there are several different options.
Specialty contact lens development continues every day, and this can lead to a lot of confusion if you’ve recently started looking into this. And when it comes to contact lenses for children, it can feel even more complicated.
Popular choices for children’s myopia management include orthokeratology (ortho-k) and MiSight 1 day contact lenses. These contact lenses help correct a refractive error and can prevent myopia from worsening. But what’s the difference between these two choices?
Simply put, Ortho-k uses rigid gas-permeable lenses every night so you or your child can see without assistance during the day, and these lenses are custom-fit to each and every eye. MiSight uses disposable soft lenses during the day to slow the progression of myopia, but these lenses aren’t custom-fit.
What Is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology, better known as ortho-k, is the use of special contact lenses that temporarily reshape your cornea. This is normally to treat moderate-to-high levels of myopia as an alternative to regular wearing eyeglasses or corrective surgery, and they can be worn by both adults and children. The lenses are made from a rigid, gas-permeable material, and last for quite some time. Those who use ortho-k lenses may need to visit their optometrist more frequently to monitor their eye health and myopia progression.
How Do Ortho-K Lenses Work?
Ortho-k custom-fit lenses are worn overnight and removed in the morning. They temporarily reshape the eye so you or your child can see clearly without using contact lenses or eyeglasses during the day. While it doesn’t cure myopia, it’s an excellent alternative to daily glasses or contact lenses. It typically takes a couple of weeks for vision to stabilize and be at its best when using ortho-k.
Hygiene & Ortho-K
When using ortho-k for myopia management, hygiene is extremely important, especially for children. Because the lenses are in your eyes overnight, it’s essential to maintain a good routine for cleaning the lenses. It’s best to:
- Not use an expired storage case
- Clean the contacts before storing them for the day
- Wash your hands before and after handling the lenses
- Make sure that your cleaning solution is up-to-date
Because the lenses directly touch your eye, maintaining a high level of cleanliness means you or your child can significantly reduce the risk of eye infections.
What Is MiSight?
Similar to Ortho-k, MiSight 1 day lenses are special single-use soft lenses to help with myopia management. Similar to standard contact lenses, they correct refractive errors during the day. These are traditionally recommended for low-to-moderate levels of myopia.
How Do MiSight 1 day Lenses Work?
A technical feature of MiSight lenses is the use of special rings built into the lenses that change how light enters and refracts toward your retina. Due to this, the brain receives fewer signals that the eye is naturally out of focus, which can slow myopia’s development. Through this design, the center of these lenses allow children to see clearly at a distance.
The outside of this center ring intentionally creates a slightly blurred image, which leads to the eye slowing its growth, directly slowing the progression of myopia. It’s believed that this is due to the eye responding to visual signals and cues.
How Effective Are MiSight Lenses?
When the peripheral retina receives a blurred image, it can trigger “emmetropization”—an internal change in the eye where it alters its shape and size to adjust how light enters and refracts.
The use of MiSight has been proven to slow myopia progression by nearly 59%. In this same study, it was found that children using these lenses had significantly less of a change to their prescription and that the elongation of the eyeball was reduced as well.
MiSight Lenses & Comfort
Because MiSight 1 day lenses are soft, they may also be more comfortable than the ortho-k lenses, especially for children who are wearing contacts for the first time. Additionally, because they’re single-use, it’s much easier to maintain a good cleanliness routine. The lenses should be disposed of at the end of every day, so there’s much less of a risk of becoming contaminated.
Should I Use Ortho-k or MiSight?
At the end of the day, both ortho-k and MiSight lenses are excellent for myopia management. The best way to decide which is the right choice for you or your child is to book a comprehensive eye exam and speak with your optometrist. They can recommend an option for your needs.
Your vision is essential to your day-to-day activities. It’s important to visit your optometrist for regular comprehensive eye exams. By having your eyes checked regularly, we can detect developing conditions and minimize their effect.