Frequently Asked Questions
I KEEP HEARING DIFFERENT TERMS FOR ORTHOKERATOLOGY, DO THEY ALL MEAN THE SAME THING?
Yes! Orthokeratology may also be known as:
Ortho-K, Corneal Refractive Therapy, CRT, Vision Shaping Treatment, VST, Gentle Shaping System, The Gentle Vision Shaping System, Corneal Molding, Wave Front Corneal Molding, and Gentle Molding.
Additionally, the treatment devices used to achieve corrected vision may be referred to as:
Retainer Lenses, Vision Retainers, Retainers, Ortho-K Lenses, Corneal Molds, Molds, Wave Lenses, and CRT Lenses.
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE?
Orthokeratology can be effective on farsighted, nearsighted (myopic), and astigmatic patients. Ideally, your prescription should be in the range of +2.00 to -6.00 with no more than -1.75 diopters of surface astigmatism. In some cases your Orthokeratologist will attempt higher prescriptions.
If you have been unable to wear contact lenses for any reason (discomfort, allergies, inconvenience, dryness, etc.), you are also a great candidate because this lens is so easy to use and it's worn while you sleep. This greatly reduces any discomfort you may have experienced while using conventional contact lenses.
You are also a great candidate if you need excellent vision without the use of contacts or glasses. Ortho-K benefits pilots, police officers, military personnel and those with safety concerns such as professional athletes, parents of small children, lifeguards and many others.
Finally, if you just don't want to be bothered with wearing glasses or contact lenses during a variety of activities such as hiking, playing sports, swimming, skiing, camping, off-road driving, biking, snorkeling, scuba and more, Ortho-K is for you.
WHY ARE CHILDREN GOOD CANDIDATES?
Studies from around the world have indicated that Ortho-K can keep your children's nearsightedness from getting worse. Currently, an ongoing 5 year FDA study is seeking to confirm previous studies and prove anecdotal evidence to this fact. Increasing nearsightedness is also a risk factor for detached retina and glaucoma.
Your child is an especially good candidate if they have a tendency to lose or abuse their contact lenses/glasses, or if wearing them interferes with their active life.
IF I WEAR BIFOCALS, READING GLASSES OR PROGRESSIVE LENSES, AM I A CANDIDATE?
If you are over 40 your reading correction may be addressed with Hyperopic/Presbyopic, Myopic/Presbyopic, or monovision Ortho-K (this last modality involves correcting one eye for great distance vision and the other eye for near vision; your brain automatically chooses the appropriate eye for the task).
Another alternative is to have both eyes corrected for distance vision and wear reading glasses whenever you want to do near work.
IS AGE A FACTOR?
No, unlike the age limits imposed on refractive surgery, your Orthokeratologist can fit young children.
And, there is no upper limit on age either.
I SUFFER FROM DRY EYES, AM I A CANDIDATE?
Dry eyes are usually not a problem while you sleep as there is little tear evaporation in a closed eye, and Ortho-K lenses are only worn while you sleep. If your dry eyes are a problem while you sleep, dry eye treatment is a simple option. Orthokeratology can provide those unable to wear conventional contact lenses due to dry eyes with excellent vision with no compromise to their comfort.
If you have dry eye disease due to severe arthritis or a collagen-vascular disease, you may not be a candidate. However, a comprehensive exam will give us a better idea of your chances for success.
I USED TO WEAR CONTACT LENSES, BUT STOPPED DUE TO DISCOMFORT. AM I A CANDIDATE?
Yes, your corneal reshaping lenses are worn at night while you sleep. This greatly reduces any discomfort you may have experienced while wearing contact lenses during the day.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO ACHIEVE GREAT VISION?
This depends on your prescription, age, and treatment goals. In adults, the higher prescriptions can take two to four weeks to achieve good vision but children's corneas are much more easily molded.
Some patients are seeing clearly in as little as one night of retainer lens wear.
IS THE VISION IMPROVEMENT CREATED BY THE CORNEAL RESHAPING MOLD LENSES PERMANENT?
Patients who wear their lenses as prescribed find that they have great vision well into the evening. Some patients are even able to wear their lenses every other night and still maintain their enhanced vision. However, if you stop wearing your lenses while sleeping, your vision will return to its original state.
CAN I SEE WHILE WEARING MY ORTHO-K RETAINERS?
Yes. This allows you to read in bed or watch TV before falling asleep.
WHAT DO I DO ABOUT MY VISION WHILE MY EYES ARE IN THE PROCESS OF RE-SHAPING?
During the first few days of the Ortho-K process, you may find that your vision is quite good for a few hours, and then begins to diminish. Your Orthokeratologist may fit you with a soft lens to wear that will improve your vision when it begins to fade. Often these are only worn as needed and are reduced in strength as your vision improves.
HOW SUCCESSFUL ARE CORNEAL RESHAPING LENSES?
The rate of success is very high, but it depends on your original prescription and treatment goals. During your initial evaluation your Orthokeratologist will give you information about your potential outcome.
HOW SAFE ARE THE RETAINER MOLDS?
They are very safe. However, there is a small risk of infection or abnormal blood vessel growth involved when any contact lens is worn. This risk is minimized by adhering to scrupulous disinfection and care procedures, by wearing your retainers only as instructed and by coming in for regular progress checks.
ARE THEY DIFFICULT TO INSERT AND REMOVE?
Your retainers are actually easier to insert and remove than most oxygen permeable lenses and much easier than a soft lens.
HOW OFTEN DO MY RETAINER LENSES NEED REPLACING?
Your Orthokeratologist may recommend replacing your retainer lenses every year depending on their condition. Molds that have become warped or have that have deposits and build up will not allow proper oxygen to the cornea, may even lead to infection, and will not produce a consistent treatment. At your yearly exam, you will be advised if they need to be replaced.
WHAT IF I LOSE A LENS?
Orthokeratology is different than wearing regular contact lenses. If you discontinue wear for one night, your vision may be impaired the next day. Immediate replacement of a lost retainer is necessary.
Your Orthokeratologist may recommend always having a spare pair of retainer lenses as a back up... just in case.
WHAT IF I SLEEP LESS THAN MOST PEOPLE?
Great results can be achieved in as little as four hours of sleep each night. Some people prefer to sleep for several short time periods of time rather than one consecutive period. This isn't a problem, just insert your retainer lenses in when you sleep and remove them when you wake.
IS ORTHO-K RIGHT FOR YOU?
Do you wear glasses or contact lenses for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism?
Are you interested in LASIK but not quite ready?
Are you unable to wear contacts due to allergies or other sensitivities?
Are you tired of getting debris getting under gas permeable lenses?
Do you feel contacts inhibit your ability to enjoy sports, working out, hiking, swimming, or skiing?
Do your child's eyes require a stronger eyeglass prescription every year?
Does your child need contacts but has trouble wearing or caring for them?
Do you want to wake up during the night and see?