ORTHOKERATOLGY: Correct Your Vision While You Sleep
Ortho K (a.k.a. orthokeratology) uses specially designed contact lenses that gently reshape the surface of your eye. The lenses are worn overnight and do their magic while you sleep. In the morning, you remove the lenses and enjoy clear vision without glasses or contacts. Think of it like the retainer given to you by your dentist to keep your teeth straight.
Ortho K goes by many names, such as orthokeratology, night lenses, OK lenses, corneal refractive therapy, or vision shaping therapy. Regardless of the name or the brand of lenses, they all do the same thing. They reshape the surface of the eye while you sleep to correct your nearsightedness during the day. There are many types of orthokeratology lenses. At The Eye Studio YXE, we only use lenses that have FDA and Health Canada approval for this use.
HOW DOES ORTHO K WORK?
The cornea is the clear dome on the surface of the eye. The shape of the cornea is responsible for making up approximately two-thirds of your glasses prescription. By changing the shape of the cornea, we can eliminate the need for glasses or contacts during the day. Orthokeratology contact lenses gently reshape the cornea by flattening it. The contact lens creates a particular fluid pattern for the tears underneath your lens, resulting in the treatment effect.
Orthokeratology is entirely reversible. If you stop wearing your ortho k lenses, the cornea will automatically go back to its natural shape. Your eye doctor usually recommends wearing the lenses every night for best results.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR ORTHO K?
Orthokeratology contact lenses are primarily used to correct myopia (nearsightedness). It is one of the most effective ways to slow myopia progression in children. Check out our myopia control page or our myopia guide for parents blog post for more detail.
Adults are also great candidates for orthokeratology. Ortho K is a safe and non-surgical way to get freedom from the hassle of glasses or contacts. Ortho k is especially handy if you are an athlete or do contact sports. You will not have to worry about breaking your glasses or losing a contact lens while you play with orthokeratology.
At The Eye Studio YXE, we offer free orthokeratology consultations at our clinic in Saskatoon, so you can find out if you are a candidate for this technology.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ORTHO K
It can take three to four weeks or sometimes longer until you enjoy orthokeratology's total vision correction effects. Your eye doctor will always aim for the best possible results. In the FDA clinical trials, the Paragon CRT lenses (the brand we use at The Eye Studio YXE), 9/10 of patients achieved 20/32 vision or better, and 7/10 achieved 20/20 or better.
Your eye doctor will order lenses custom-made for you. They will assess the fit of the lenses to ensure you get your desired results. It is usual for your doctor to exchange your lenses a couple of times before finding your perfect fit. At The Eye Studio YXE, your eye doctors have an all-inclusive fee that covers the cost of all your appointments. Schedule a free consultation for more information.
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses can be uncomfortable when worn during the day. The advantage of orthokeratology lenses is that you wear them while you sleep, making them much more comfortable. It is normal to feel the lenses on your eyes until you fall asleep. As time goes on, you will become more comfortable and might not feel the lenses on your eyes at all.
The treatment effect of orthokeratology will last for a day or two before it starts to wear off. If you notice that the treatment effect is wearing off too soon, modifications to your wearing schedule or the lens shape are required. For best results, we recommend wearing ortho k contact lenses every night.
It is normal to notice some glare, halos, or blurred vision until the entire treatment effect occurs. The vision may also be reduced in low-light situations like dim restaurants or driving in the dark. If this is the case, consult your eye doctor to help solve these issues!
IS ORTHOKERATOLOGY SAFE?
The corneal shaping effects of ortho k contact lenses are temporary, and little risk is involved. You can stop wearing the lenses at any time. When you stop wearing orthokeratology lenses, your myopia will return, and you will require glasses or contacts to see clearly.
Orthokeratology is prescribed and used under the careful supervision of your certified eye doctor. Under proper care and supervision, orthokeratology lenses are safe, and you will not experience any adverse outcomes. We recommend checking in with us every 4-6 months while using ortho k contact lenses to maintain proper eye health.
As with any contact lens worn overnight, there is an increased risk of eye infection. However, this infection risk is lower for rigid lenses, like orthokeratology, than soft contact lenses (Stapleton et al., 2008). Your eye doctor will also prescribe you a specific cleaning and care regimen to prevent infections from occurring.
Orthokeratology (night lenses, ortho k, or corneal refractive technology) is a safe and effective way to have clear vision without requiring glasses. It also helps to slow myopia progression in children. If you are interested to know more, book a complimentary consultation.