Top 11 Questions People Ask About Ortho-K
Question 1: Do I have to wear the lenses every night?
Dr. Diaz: Wearing the molds every night will help maintain the best clarity. However, missing a day really depends on the individual. Everyone who wears the Ortho-K lenses will experience a reduction in the clarity of vision if they don’t wear their lenses.
With higher prescriptions the amount of change would be higher after one night versus someone with a lower prescription. Some people do just fine wearing their Ortho-K lenses every other night.
Question 2: Are the Ortho-K lenses painful?
Dr. Diaz: No, the first few nights they are worn they are certainly noticeable and can be irritating but shouldn’t be painful. Within a week of wearing the Ortho-K lenses they should be barely perceptible.
Question 3: Can I still have LASIK in the future?
Dr. Diaz: Yes, Ortho-K lenses do not permanently change the eye. The process is fully reversible by just discontinuing wear. LASIK surgeons prefer to have any potential candidates stop wearing contact lenses for at least 2 weeks and likely longer if the person is a gas permeable or Ortho-K lens wearer.
Dr. Diaz: Wearing Ortho-K can even help a child be a better candidate for LASIK in the future. There is a limit to how much nearsightedness can be corrected with LASIK.
Wearing Ortho-K as a child has shown to have around a 45-50% reduction in the progression of myopia. For example a child who started with a prescription of -1.00D at age 8 and progressed by -0.75D per year until age 20 would end up around a -10.00D.
LASIK can sometimes correct prescriptions that high but instead if their prescription ended up at around -5.50D by having worn Ortho-K they would make a much better candidate, prescription-wise for LASIK.
In addition the risk of eye diseases like glaucoma, retinal tears/detachment and problems with the macula.
Question 4: Is Ortho-K safe?
Dr. Diaz: Paragon CRT, a specific design of Ortho-K lenses has been FDA approved for overnight wear since 2002. There is no age restriction, theoretically even an infant could wear Ortho-K lenses but practically speaking children as young as age 5 have worn Ortho-K with good results.
Question 5: How young can Ortho-K be started?
Dr. Diaz: Any age but practically speaking children as young as age 5 have worn Ortho-K with good results. Adults well into their 60s and 70s wear Ortho-K.
Question 6: Can I see through the Ortho-K lenses?
Dr. Diaz: Absolutely, although they don’t have “power” in the traditional sense of a contact lens they do allow you to see well with them on. Wearing them during the day is not recommended because they may compromise corneal health over time.
Question 7: How long does an Ortho-K lens last?
Dr. Diaz: From 1-2 years. Subtle warpage and change in the shape of the lenses happens over time. Because a change of a few microns can dramatically change the effectiveness of an Ortho-K lens the maximum time they should be used for is 2 years. The bottom line is it all depends on each individual.
Question 8: How long does it take to see results?
Dr. Diaz: The higher the initial prescription the longer it will take to see maximum effectiveness. Most people see a noticeable difference in their vision after just one night. The full effect is generally achieved in 7-14 days.
Question 9: Can Ortho-K lenses damage my eyes?
Dr. Diaz: Any lens worn on the eye has inherent risks and the only way to fully avoid risk is to not wear them. That being said research has shown that wearing Ortho-K lenses overnight is less risky than sleeping in soft contact lenses. We have designed a care regimen to reduce the risk of infection as much as possible. Replacing the Ortho-K lenses every 1-2 years also helps reduce the risk of complications.
Question 10: How are Ortho-K lenses different from soft contacts?
Dr. Diaz: The handling of an Ortho-K lens is quite different from soft contacts. They are made from the same highly oxygen permeable materials as rigid gas permeable contacts (RGP) are. The design is very different, however. Instead of mirroring the shape of the cornea they use fluid forces to “mold” the cornea.
Question 11: What if I forget to wear the Ortho-K lenses?
Dr. Diaz: If you don’t wear them your cornea will slowly return to its original shape. For people with milder prescriptions you will notice a little blurriness in your distance vision. For higher prescriptions it may be necessary to wear low powered glasses or soft contacts.