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, hyperopia, and presbyopia as well.

The Orthokeratology Process

Orthokeratology involves a three-step process: 1) the initial examination, where your optometrist or ophthalmologist will use a Topograph to determine the refraction error of the cornea, 2) the fitting, which may happen on the same day, where you eye care professional will select a series of up to three strengths of custom Ortho-k prescription contacts, 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.

Candidates will wear disposable soft lenses or glasses throughout the day during the correction phase. On completion of the treatment, only the prescribed overnight contacts need to be worn. Occasionally, candidates 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. Additionally, costs will vary depending on your eye doctor and your unique prescription. The general, two-set lense and appointment package can range anywhere from $900 to $1,800.

Am I a Candidate for Ortho-k?

The best candidates for Orthokeratology are children between the ages of eight and 12 who have progressive Myopia. If early stages of nearsightedness are caught soon enough, Ortho-k can sometimes help with restoring vision in children, because the custom lenses “mold” the eyes overnight to hinder or encourage the growth of cells. 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. If you suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome or have severe Myopia, Ortho-k is not recommended.

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.

We want to express our appreciation to all of you for your patience with us during this crazy time.  We have remained open to see urgent and emergent patients and are slowly beginning to increase the number of patients we see per week.  We have staggered schedules to only have one doctor and their required support staff in the office.  We have staggered patient times such that only one patient is seen at a time.  As such, we must still prioritize those with the greatest need for our services since we are seeing only a fraction of our customary number of patients.  Please understand that you are all very important to us and we look forward to seeing you as soon as practically possible.
We are still offering telemedicine for urgent needs that can be managed outside of the office.

If you come into our office for an appointment, this is what you can expect…
You will receive a phone call from us before the day of your appointment to go over your recent history and other pertinent information to facilitate your time with the doctor during the exam.  If we are unable to have this conversation, your appointment will need to be rescheduled.

Please park near the front entrance (west facing) when you arrive and call our number (524-9561) to announce your arrival.  Our doors are locked to limit the number of patients in the office at any one time.  One of our staff members will review a COVID risk questionnaire with you and take your temperature prior to your entering our office.  We require that you wear a clean mask to your appointment. If you require support or assistance or are under the age of 18, you may have one person accompany you (provided they pass the COVID questionnaire as well).  In an effort to reduce the number of potential contamination points, please leave any unnecessary items in your vehicle (hats, cell phones, etc.).  Nonessential visitors that accompany patients will be required to stay in their vehicle.

Our frame gallery is open on an appointment basis only.  The same precautions shall apply.  All frames are sterilized following handling.

Patients, parents and essential care providers with a temperature of 100.4 or higher or answer yes to any of the COVID-19 questions will not be allowed entry into the office.  If you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you.

Everyone’s health and wellness are our number one priority.  We are following the CDC and the AOA’s recommendations regarding COVID-19.  As guidelines change in the upcoming months, we will adapt accordingly.

Thank you very much for entrusting us with your care during this unprecedented time.