Ortho-K Q & A
Super Vision Center
Is It Known By Other Names?
OrthoK has been around for nearly 50 years. It has accumulated many names over the years to describe the same procedure. OrthoK has been called Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT); Vision Shaping Technology (VST); Gentle Vision Shaping; Gentle Molding; etc. So when you hear the various names don’t be confused, they all mean the same thing, Ortho (straight) and K (cornea).
How Does It Work?
When a person cannot see clearly, unless there is eye disease, it is because their eyeball is too long, too short or the surface is distorted. Images that fall onto the back of the eye (retina) are blurry. In order to correct the error the surface of the eye (cornea) is “mapped” with and an instrument called a topographer. (whatsnew_equip_ret.jpg)
This precise data (microns) then allows for the custom design for YOUR eye and its unique visual problem. The OrthoK lens is manufactured using the latest computer processing and CNC milling. The resultant corneal reshaping lens gently shapes the front surface of the cornea to allow exact focus to the retina and thus crystal clear vision results.
Topographer to map the cornea.
Are OrthoK lenses Comfortable to wear?
Overnight wearing of the molds is comfortable. Initially, there is ‘lens awareness’ but most patients become unaware of their presence within 15-20 minutes and only for the first few days and not felt thereafter. Because the lenses are large and configured to match the cornea’s shape and are worn overnight the adaptation is very short.
Am I A Candidate for OrthoK?
- You are unable to wear contacts due to dry eyes or allergies.
- You dislike glasses or contacts or they are restrictive if worn at your job or hobby environment.
- You would like to swim, ski, surf or do any sport or recreation without needing daytime corrective lenses.
OrthoK can be performed on practically any myopic (nearsighted) person with healthy eyes and not pregnant, who can learn to apply and remove a contact lens and follow lens care directions.
How Long Does It Take To Reach And Maintain Good Vision?
It generally takes 2 to 7 consecutive nights of wearing the lenses to achieve the desired result. It may take somewhat longer for those with higher degrees of refractive error and/or corneal rigidity and responsiveness.
Is OrthoK Permanent?
No. Failure to wear the molds on an ongoing basis will result in the return of the pre-existing condition in 1-2 weeks and sometimes longer depending on the age of the patient, the amount of the error and how resistant the cornea is to change. But, it will go back to the baseline. Reversibility is a safety net option and a way back if desired unlike the permanency of LASIK which in some cases is a permanent problem. When your eye’s Rx changes or you get to that age when you need reading glasses, unlike laser surgery that cannot be reversed, OrthoK lenses can be redesigned and corneas can be remodeled so vision is clear both distance and near with a technique called “monovision.”
Is it Safe?
Wearing properly fitted hyper-oxygen permeable rigid (RGP) contact lenses at night makes it a safe treatment method (see: “The safety of orthokeratology a systematic review.6.pdf”). However, there can be side effects of OrthoK, which include staining and edema of the cornea, redness, discharge, visual distortion, irritation, or infection, all of which must be prevented by proper instruction, maintenance and follow up. In fact, studies have shown the prevalence of serious eye infections are similar to that with other overnight modalities and differences were found in fewer than 50 cases per 10,000 patient-years (see: “The Risk of Microbial Keratitis With Overnight Corneal Reshaping Lenses.pdf”). But, you should always choose a knowledgeable and experienced optometrist, such as Dr. Berke at Super Vision Center, to manage your OrthoK. Please note that lenses cannot go behind the eye as it is anatomically impossible and it is rare that the lenses become displaced from the cornea.
Can I See With The Lenses In?
Yes. You will be able to see clearly with your lenses on or off.
What Is The Cost And How Often Will I Have To Replace My Lenses?
Fees are set by the complexity of the case. Here at the Super Vision Center, the average, all inclusive case fee is $1,800. The National average runs from $1,400 to $3, 800. Lenses need to be kept essentially in pristine condition. The average normal replacement rate is 1-3 years.