Ortho-K correction for mild nearsightedness and astigmatism can function as a lifestyle changer, much like LASIK, without the costs or irreversible risks associated with surgery. Simply by wearing these specially fit and designed lenses while they sleep, then remove the lenses in the morning and go glasses and contact lens free all day long!
This technology is perfect for so many patient demographics…from young athletes looking to enhance their visual performance without risk of contact lenses falling out (and they are too young for LASIK correction), to adults who love to be around lakes or pools (which are horribly contraindicated with soft contact lens wear), to those who have trouble with dry eye or irritation from traditional contacts…CRT lenses are a great solution for so many people and are super easy to transition into!
Another major benefit of Ortho-K is the potential ability to reduce the progression of myopia. Many children’s eyes become more and more nearsighted with each annual eye exam with the traditional approach by eye doctors being to increase the glasses or contact lens prescription. Nearsightedness progresses from a variety of factors including hereditary components, but more importantly, in recent times the lack of outdoor activity (exposure to sunlight is proven to reduce myopia) and increased computer, tablet, and hand held device usage in society.
Ortho-K lenses are one of the few techniques available to eye doctors today to reduce the rate of progression which translates to less visual changes and lower risks of eye complications such as cataracts and retinal disorders later in life!
Gas permeable (GP) lenses specialized for ortho-k are inserted at bedtime and worn as you sleep. Throughout the night, the lenses reshape your cornea gently so that your vision becomes clear on the following morning. The correction is temporary, and ideally no eyeglasses or contact lenses will be needed on the next day or two. In order to maintain sharp visual acuity on a daily basis, you need to wear the ortho-k reshaping lenses every night.
At present, two brands of ortho-k contact lenses are approved for use by the FDA. Paragon Vision Sciences produces “Corneal Refractive Therapy” (CRT), and Bausch and Lomb manufacture “Vision Shaping Treatment” (VST).
Corneal Topography And Orthokeratology
Corneal topography is used to accurately diagnose post-fitting problems of ortho-k patients.
At Gunbarrel Optometry, we offer Corneal Topography Mapping. Computerized Corneal Topography gives accurate mapping of the corneal curvature. It is a computerized Video-Keratometer, that maps the surface of your cornea. What this map reveals is the topography, or shape of the corneal surface. The Corneal Topography assist in contact lens fitting of ortho-k patients.
Paragon CRT® Contact Lenses & Ortho – K
Paragon CRT® Contact Lenses are a specially designed FDA-approved therapeutic contact lens worn only while sleeping. This eliminates the dryness and discomfort of daytime contact lenses, giving you freedom when it matters most. Paragon CRT® Contact Lenses gently reshape the cornea without permanent alteration. This procedure is known as orthokeratology (ortho-k), and it’s temporary and reversible.
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
Success rates for ortho-k are generally higher for more mild vision prescriptions. The ideal goal is to provide 20/20 vision without any need for eyeglasses or contacts during the day.
According to FDA trials conducted on both CRT and VST lenses, more than 65% of ortho-k patients were provided with 20/20 visual acuity. 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 eye doctor to find out if your vision prescription is within range for successful ortho-k treatment.
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.