WHAT IS ORTHOKERATOLOGY (ORTHO-K)
Overnight Contacts to Correct Myopia and Slow Down The Progression of Myopia in Children
Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is the fitting of a specially designed reverse geometry gas permeable lens that you wear overnight. While you are asleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eyes (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up. It remolds the cornea by flattening the cornea so light rays bend and focuses on the retina. Is like braces/retainers for the eyes. During this treatment, you need to continually use the lenses while you sleep to keep the remolding process. Ortho-K is reversible. With the discontinuation of the ortho-k lens, your cornea will return to its original curvature and shape.
Ortho-k lenses are also referred to as: “corneal reshaping contact lenses” or “overnight contact lenses to correct or control myopia.”
Orthokeratology is most frequently used to temporarily correct myopia (nearsightedness). Generally, ortho-k can correct upwards of -6.00 diopters (D) of myopia. The degree of myopia correction with orthokeratology differ on a case-by-case basis.
People who participate in contact sports or work in dusty environments that can pose problems for contact lens wear also can be good candidates.
Because the corneal reshaping effect is temporary, little risk is involved, and you can discontinue wearing the lenses at any time — provided you are willing to start wearing glasses or contacts again when your myopia returns!
You should be able to see well without glasses or contact lenses for a day or two, sometimes longer depending on your original degree of nearsightedness. For best results, you should wear the ortho-k lenses every night as the effect slightly weans off at the end of the day and the longer that you been off the lenses.
Orthokeratology is a very specialized type of contact lens fitting. Not all eye doctors are trained to fit ortho-k lenses. Make sure your eye doctor is trained and certified in the fitting of orthokeratology.
Eye care practitioners usually aim for 20/20 vision after ortho-k, but 20/40 vision (the legal minimum for driving in most of the United States) often is considered an acceptable outcome.
A mapping of your cornea with an instrument called a Corneal Topographer is performed.
The doctor will evaluate and analyze the orthokeratology lenses on the eye
You will be trained on the proper insertion and removal of the lens along with proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques.
There will be a 1 day post ortho-K follow up visit, followed by a 1 week follow visit, followed by a 3 week follow up visit, followed by a 3 month and 6 months follow up visit. Some patients may require less or more follow up visits depending on a case by case basis.
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.
It depends on your original prescription. The higher the prescription, the longer it will take. Some people may achieve good vision after a day or two of overnight ortho-k. But for higher prescriptions it can take two weeks or longer for maximum correction.
As your cornea is going through the reshaping process, you may notice blurred vision and glare and halos around light sources. In some cases, you may need to wear glasses (with a lower 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.
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.
Each eye care practitioner determines his or her own fees for orthokeratology, based in part on the doctor’s 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 and whether you are choosing ortho-k lenses for long-term myopia control in addition to the temporary correction of existing myopia.
Costs also can vary based on the region of the country, urban vs. rural settings, and the type of practice where you have the procedure performed.
Orthokeratology is not covered with vision insurance plan. However, FSA/HSA may be used as payment..
Finally, keep in mind that, as with all contact lenses, there are some possible side effects and complications of wearing ortho-k lenses. Ask your eye care practitioner for details.