Imagine Seeing without Lenses or Surgery
Orthokeratology - A Revolutionary Way to See
Wouldn't it be great if you could wake up each morning and see clearly WITHOUT glasses or contact lenses - and WITHOUT having to undergo eye surgery? It might sound far-fetched, but it's a reality for many people. It's called Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K.
Here are the top things you should know about orthokeratology:
What Is Ortho-K?
Orthokeratology (Ortho-k) is the fitting of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses (Vision Retainers) that you wear overnight. While you are asleep, the retainers gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly throughout the following day - WITHOUT wearing glasses or contacts!
Ortho-k lenses are prescribed for two purposes:
To slow the progression of childhood myopia.
How Long Does The Ortho-K Effect Last?
You should be able to see acceptably well without glasses or contact lenses for a day or two, sometimes longer. For best results, you should wear the Ortho-k lenses every night.
Which Vision Problems Can Ortho-K Correct?
Orthokeratology is most frequently used to temporarily correct myopia (nearsightedness). Generally, Ortho-k can correct upwards of -6.00 diopters (D) of myopia. Ortho-k also can correct lesser degrees of astigmatism, hyperopia and presbyopia. The type and amount of refractive error that can be effectively managed with orthokeratology differ on a case-by-case basis. We will be able to give you more specific guidance after examining your eyes.
Who Is A Good Candidate for Orthokeratology?
Most people with mild to moderate myopia (with or
without mild astigmatism) are good candidates for
Ortho-k. Because the corneal reshaping effect is
temporary, little risk is involved and you can dis-
continue wearing the lenses at any time — provided
you are willing to start wearing glasses or contacts
again when your myopia returns!
Children and young adults who want to be glasses-
free but are too young for LASIK or are not good
candidates for refractive surgery for other reasons
(dry eyes, for example) often are good candidates for Ortho-k. People who participate in contact sports or work in dusty environments that can pose problems for contact lens wear also can be good candidates.
What Results Can You Expect From Ortho-K?
We aim for 20/20 vision or better after Ortho-k, but 20/30 vision often is considered an acceptable outcome. In the FDA clinical study for approval of Paragon CRT lenses, 93 percent of patients achieved 20/32 vision or better, and 67 percent achieved 20/20 or better. In the clinical study for FDA approval of one design, about 95 percent achieved 20/40 or better, and 73 percent achieved 20/20 or better. Both studies followed patients for at least nine months.
What To Expect When You Begin Ortho-K
We will begin by measuring the curvatures of your corneas using an instrument called a corneal topographer
— a painless procedure that takes about a minute and produces a topographical map of your eye's surface.
We then take that information together with your prescription measurements and order your first set of custom vision retainers. You may need a series of temporary lenses to see properly until you reach the desired prescription. In most cases, the maximum vision correction effect is achieved with the first or second pair or vision retainers. When you begin to wear ortho-k lenses, you will likely have some awareness of the lenses on your eyes until you fall asleep. With time, the lenses typically become more comfortable immediately upon insertion.
How Long Does It Take For Maximum Ortho-K Effect?
This depends on many factors, especially the amount of nearsightedness (and possibly astigmatism) you have when you begin the Ortho-k process. Some people can have excellent vision after a day or two of overnight Ortho-k. But for higher prescriptions it can take two weeks or longer for maximum correction. Until your eyes are fully corrected, you might notice blurred vision and glare and halos around lights. In some cases, you may need to wear glasses (with a lesser prescription than you originally had) during the Ortho-k process. Also, in some cases, mild glare and halos might persist even after maximum Ortho-k correction.
How Much Does Ortho-K Cost?
Fitting Ortho-k lenses is a more time-consuming process and requires more expertise than fitting regular contact lenses. It requires a series of office visits and potentially multiple sets of lenses. We determine our fees for orthokeratology, based in part on our level of expertise, time required and lens costs. The cost of Ortho-k, including follow-up care associated with fitting the lenses, can vary significantly depending on the type and degree of your refractive error. Our fees for Ortho-K are approximately $1,800 for the vast majority of cases, a little more for extreme prescriptions. In addition, anticipate annual costs (for new exams and lenses) to be around $650 per year for continuing with Ortho-K.
Can I Have LASIK After Ortho-K?
Yes, it's possible to have LASIK after ortho-k if you later desire vision surgery to permanently correct your eyesight.
Unlike LASIK, Ortho-k is reversible. If you try reshaping lenses and later decide you want laser eye surgery instead, you can do that. But you will have to discontinue wearing the lenses and wait a period of time before surgery (possibly several months) to allow your corneas to fully revert to their pre-orthokeratology shape. Finally, keep in mind that, as with all contact lenses, there are some possible side effects and complications of wearing Ortho-k lenses. We will give you all the details before you begin your journey.