How would you like to spend the day glasses and contact lenses free? If you are a candidate for Orthokeratology, you will have that opportunity! Orthokeratology, commonly called ortho-k, is a method used to correct myopia (nearsightedness) by wearing rigid gas permeable contact lenses overnight. You wake up with your vision corrected, so you don’t need to wear any form of vision correction.
Let’s take a deeper look into how OrthoK works. Before you go to sleep, you insert specialized Gas permeable (GP) contact lenses. Throughout the night, while you sleep, the lenses gently reshape your cornea so that your vision becomes clear on the following morning. For the next day or two, you will enjoy temporarily corrected vision and ideally, no eyeglasses or contact lenses will be needed. In order to maintain sharp visual acuity on a daily basis, you need to wear the ortho-k reshaping lenses every night.
At present, three brands of orthokeratology contact lenses are approved for use by the FDA. Euclid Emerald, usually prescribed for myopia control, Paragon Vision Sciences, who produces “Corneal Refractive Therapy” (CRT), and Bausch and Lomb, who manufactures “Vision Shaping Treatment” (VST).
Candidates for Ortho-K
Ortho-k is very suitable for nearsighted people who are not appropriate candidates for vision correction surgery, such as children. Individuals of all ages with healthy eyes can try ortho-k, namely because it can be discontinued at any point without permanent effects to the eyes.
People who require vision correction and engage regularly in sports or work in extremely dusty, dirty environments will also appreciate the convenience of ortho-k.
Vision Results from Ortho-k
The milder the prescription, the more successful ortho-k treatment will be in correcting the vision the next day. The ideal goal is to provide 20/20 vision without any need for eyeglasses or contacts during the day.
More than 65% of ortho-k patients were provided with 20/20 visual acuity, according to FDA trials conducted on both CRT and VST lenses. A whopping number of more than 90% of ortho-k patients achieved 20/40 vision or better (this is the legal requirement for driving without vision correction in most states). Consult with your Bethesda eye doctor to find out if your vision prescription is within range for successful ortho-k treatment. If Orthokeratology is not an option for you, Dr. Berenhaus and the rest of the eye doctors here at Bethesda Vision Care have other methods of myopia control to help you or your child see as close to 20/20 as possible.
Note that although improvement in vision is generally reported within a day or two of wearing ortho-k overnight, the full effects may not be experienced until the lenses are worn for a few weeks. During this transition period, your vision will probably not be as crisp as it was with regular contacts or eyeglasses, and glare or halos around lights may be visible. Until ortho-k works fully, a temporary pair of eyeglasses may be required for specific actions, such as driving at night.
How Does Ortho-k Feel?
Although some people have trouble wearing regular gas permeable contact lenses during the day, ortho-k GP lenses are worn while sleeping – so discomfort and awareness of the lenses in your eyes is generally not an issue.
Is Ortho-k expensive?
Professional fitting for ortho-k requires a series of visits to your eye doctor. A number of pairs of contact lenses are also generally needed. GP lenses that are special for ortho-k are more costly than standard contacts. In sum, the fees for ortho-k add up to a higher total than regular contact lenses.
LASIK after Ortho-k
Refractive surgeries, such as LASIK, are possible after treatment with ortho-k lenses. Yet because ortho-k works to reshape your cornea, you are required to stop wearing the lenses for approximately several months before undergoing LASIK. This allows your eyes to return to their original shape.
It’s important to inform your LASIK surgeon if you’ve been wearing ortho-k lenses, and you will be advised as to how long of a wait is necessary before having the laser procedure.