Many patients with vision problems heartily embrace the idea of enjoying vision correction without having to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. Not all of these patients, however, are good candidates for PRK or Lasik surgery, the two standard surgeries used to alter the way the cornea of the eye refracts light. While you might leap at the thought of permanently correcting vision problems, laser surgery isn't always the best eye care option. For instance, if you suffer from thin corneas, untreated cataracts, diabetes, certain autoimmune diseases, or a corneal disease called keratoconus, you should avoid laser eye surgery. If that describes you, don't fret -- because here at Family Vision Care Associates, we offer an advanced corneal reshaping technique known as Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K. This non-surgical technique can produce changes to the way your cornea refracts light.
Some of our patients simply don't like the idea of any kind of surgery, or they want a reversible procedure. Orthokeratology may be an ideal choice for these individuals. Dr. Paul Bernstein will map the shape of your corneas precisely and then fabricate special contact lenses. Unlike standard contacts, you'll wear these lenses at night. The lenses perform a subtle corneal reshaping as you sleep, meaning that you can take them out the next morning and enjoy perfect or near-perfect vision.
Ortho-K can help you see clearly for one or two days at a time, or possibly even longer. By wearing them regularly at night, you can maintain your clarity of vision for as long as you decide to continue using them. If you decide to use another form of vision correction, simply stop wearing the Ortho-K lenses and your corneas will assume their previous shape once again. Talk to our knowledgeable staff to see whether Ortho-K makes sense for you.
What is Ortho-K
Ortho-K (short for Orthokeratology) is an FDA approved, non-surgical solution for patients with myopia (nearsightedness) that uses specially designed contact lenses to improve vision. When these lenses are worn overnight, these specially designed contact lenses gently corrects the curvature of the cornea, resulting in a corneal shape that focuses light correctly onto the retina. When removed in the morning, distant objects will come back into focus and patients can see clearly without the use of glasses or daytime contacts.
Are the effects of Ortho-K instant?
Most patients have rapid improvement in the first few days of treatment and achieve nearly their optimum vision in 10 to 14 days. The rate of treatment is dependent on the prescription strength as well as the pliability or flexibility of the cornea. Should the treatment require a few nights of wear to achieve good vision, a temporary disposable soft contact lens may be prescribed for a few days.
Is Ortho-K Permanent?
No. The effects are temporary. Your vision will return to its previous level in as little as three days if you discontinue wearing the lenses.
Can anyone wear Ortho-K lenses?
While only your doctor can determine if corneal reshaping is right for you, several recent advancements in technology and manufacturing techniques now make it possible to aid patients with moderate to high myopia. Another criteria of candidacy is the level of nearsightedness and astigmatism. The Ortho-K lenses are worn nightly so proper hygiene is crucial for the success and safety of this therapy. All of this can be assessed during the consult visit.
Are there age restrictions for Ortho-K therapy?
No. The FDA did not place any age restrictions on candidates for Ortho-K treatments. While Ortho-K lenses have been successfully fit in children as young as 10 years of age, parental support is an absolute must. The Ortho-K lenses are worn nightly, so proper hygiene is crucial for the success and safety of this therapy.
Can you describe the patient experience when being treated with Ortho-K?
Initially, you may have a slight awareness of the Ortho-K lens in your eye. You will not feel the lenses when you sleep and there is no sense of physical corneal change – just visual improvement when the lenses are removed. In a clinical FDA study, 96% found the comfort level acceptable. Over time the cornea becomes desensitized and the lens will become more comfortable.
Are there any risks involved with wearing Ortho-K lenses?
As with any contact lens wear, there are minimal complications. Lens care and hygiene are the biggest factors. In the clinical study conducted by the FDA, no serious adverse events were recorded. One side effect of this treatment is the development of infection or microbial keratitis, which can lead to corneal scarring and vision loss. It can be avoided with diligent lens care, adhering to the prescribed wearing schedule and regular examinations.
Can Ortho-K help stop my child’s eyes from getting worse?
Ortho-K has been shown to significantly slow the rate of progression of myopia (nearsightedness) when compared to children wearing eyeglasses in multiple studies. You can read more about professional studies here.
What is the difference between Ortho-K, Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT), Gentle Vision Shaping System (GVSS) or Corneal Reshaping Therapy?
There are numerous popular terms for corneal reshaping techniques using contact lenses. You may have heard the terms: Orthokeratology (Ortho-K), overnight vision correction, vision shaping treatment, corneal refractive therapy, or corneal reshaping therapy – all of these refer to the same vision correction medical treatment using contact lenses to correct visual impairments.
How is Ortho-K different at Family Vision Care Associates?
At FVCA, our optometrists have extensive training and experience in Ortho-K, far beyond what is needed to become certified.