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. With consistent nightly wear, these oxygen-intense, “breathable” lenses can provide clear daytime vision—without the use of glasses or daily wear 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 and hyperopia.
The Orthokeratology Process
Orthokeratology involves a three-step process: 1) the initial examination, where your optometrist or ophthalmologist will use a Topographer to determine the refractive error of the cornea, 2) the fitting, which may happen on the same day, where your eye care professional will select a series of up to three custom Ortho-k lenses to observe on your eyes, and 3) the treatment phase where candidates use their custom-ordered Ortho-k lenses while sleeping for eight hours nightly.
Candidates may need to wear disposable soft lenses or glasses throughout the day during the treatment phase. Upon completion of the treatment, only the prescribed overnight lenses need to continue to be worn nightly. Some candidates experience mild glaring and haloes around bright light. Other side-effects and risks are the same as wearing daily wear contact lenses and include infection and corneal abrasion, to name a few. These risks are reduced by proper lens care. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Whipple if you have concerns.
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 is also a great way to slow down the progression of myopia so commonly seen in children.
How Costly is Ortho-k?
Ortho-k is not covered by insurance. At Desert Family Eye Care, the cost for the initial global treatment ranges from $1600 to $2200. This includes all the fit assessments visits and topographies needed and two pairs of Ortho-k lenses. You always need to have a back up pair in case of lens loss or breakage.
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. 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. You will need a comprehensive eye examination and Ortho-k consultation with Dr. Whipple to ensure you are a good candidate.
Ask Your Doctor
If you have questions or concerns about Ortho-k, schedule an appointment with Dr. Whipple for a comprehensive eye exam and Ortho-k consultation. Our team is ready and waiting to guide you every step of the way.