Orthokeratology, Myopia and the Case of Overnight Vision Correction

Let’s begin with “Myopia.” Exactly what is it? Myopia is the medical term for “nearsightedness,” a condition affecting nearly three million Americans a year, where a refraction error of the cornea hinders light to bend properly, making objects far away appear blurry. While this condition is technically chronic, recent advancements in the eye industry have made it possible for people with low Myopia to temporarily correct their vision through a process called Orthokeratology, or “Ortho-k.”

Orthokeratology—What is It?

Orthokeratology is a form of reversible, refractive correction involving the overnight use of gas-permeable contact lenses to reshape the contour of the cornea while you sleep. These oxygen-intense, breathable lenses work to temporarily reverse the effects of Myopia during the night so the wearer can experience clear vision the following day—without the use of glasses or contacts. Ortho-k is used primarily to slow the progression of mild Myopia in adults and children, although it can aid in the temporary correction of low-degree astigmatism.

The Orthokeratology Process

Orthokeratology involves a three-step process: 1) the initial examination, where your eye doctor will use a Topographer to determine the refraction error of the cornea, 2) the fitting, where your eye care professional will design a custom lens, and 3) the one-to-two-week treatment phase where candidates use their prescription contacts while sleeping for at least six to eight consecutive hours each night.

Occasionally, candidates might experience mild glaring and haloes around bright light. Remember, there is always the risk of infection without proper eye and lens care, so practice good hygiene and schedule routine follow-up eye appointments!

Why Choose Orthokeratology?

For those with mild or moderate Myopia, Ortho-k is a great option, especially for sports-related activities or when working in environments containing debris or dust. Ortho-k can also be an effective pre-LASIK treatment that can temporarily stall the need for corrective eye surgery. In addition, the fast, painless and safe process makes Ortho-k a practical solution for children who have Myopia.

How Costly is Ortho-k?

Unfortunately, most insurances do not cover the total cost of Ortho-k.  Please contact our office for more information.

Am I a Candidate for Ortho-k?

The best candidates for Orthokeratology are children between the ages of 7 and 13 who have progressive Myopia. If early stages of nearsightedness are caught soon enough, Ortho-k can prevent the eyes from becoming more near-sighted. Ortho-k also works well with adolescents and young adults with mild or moderate Myopia, or for adults under the age of 40 who aren’t interested in LASIK or other eye corrective surgery.

Ask Your Doctor

If you have questions or concerns about Ortho-k, schedule an appointment with your eye care professional. He or she will be able to help you determine your candidacy, costs, benefits, and risks of the process.